By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Notes on Islam
Author: Hussain, Ahmed, Sir, 1863-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Notes on Islam" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(This file was produced from images generously made





Collected and Edited


Khan Bahadur Hajee Khaja Muhammad Hussain

"_The fear of the Lord is the beginning
of knowledge._"--_Proverb_








_One of the four for whom these Notes
were first written,
in 1917._

  |           Transcriber's note:               |
  | Bold characters are shown with "+" signs.   |
  | Arabic names are kept as in the original    |
  | text. Arabic transliterations are according |
  | to ISO 233 system in most cases and from the|
  | version by the CANADIAN SOCIETY OF MUSLIMS  |
  | with their kind permission.                 |

[Printer's mark]


The following Notes were enclosed by the author in his weekly letters to
his brother and sons who were students in the Universities of Cambridge,
Edinburgh and Birmingham. I persuaded him to allow me to have them
printed, as I thought they were suggestive and useful. He has however
desired me to say that they should not be regarded as anything but
concise memoranda jotted down (at short intervals between the busy hours
of his official life) as general answers to questions put to him. They
contain some passages which are too concise or abstract, if not vague or
enigmatic. But, the author says, he left them designedly so in order to
induce his readers to try to understand them or at least to seek
explanation and illustration. Numerous foot-notes have been added for
the same purpose.

He frankly admits that his view of Islam is neither quite orthodox nor
quite heterodox but something midway between the two. It was put forward
in order to make his boys think for themselves and argue with him. The
first three Notes may be 'skipped' at the first reading.

Sincere acknowledgments are due to Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk Bahadur Bilgrami,
C.S.I., Mr. J.C. Molony, I.C.S., Khan Bahadur Abdur Rahim, B.A., B.L.,
Mr. Syed Ross Masood, M.A., and others who very kindly read the proofs
and favoured the author with valuable suggestions.

Banganapalle,       }
_11th August 1922_. }         K.M.H.

Duty is Deity
Work is Worship.--_Sanskrit Proverb_



FOREWORD                                          7

MUSLIM PRAYER                                   9

NOTE 1. INTRODUCTION                                  11

 "  2. THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THE QUR'AN                15

 "  3. WHAT IS RELIGION?                              20

 "  4. WHAT IS TRUE ISLAM?                            25

 "  5. WHAT IS NOT ISLAM                              29

 "  6. "ISLAM" AND "NOT-ISLAM"                        35

 "  7. WHY IS ISLAM THE BEST RELIGION?                43

 "  8. UNITY & UNION                                  49

 "  9. PERFECTION & SELF-HELP                         57

 "  10. MODERATION & VIA MEDIA                        63

 "  11. EVOLUTION & SURVIVAL                          73

          AND ENDS IN THE LOVE OF MAN"                79


  MUSLIM REFORMATION                                  87

  OUR PRAYER                                          97

Worship Truth
Love Humanity.--_Islamic Maxim_


_Surai Fatiha_

  Praise be to Thee my God, Lord of the Worlds!
  O Merciful, Compassionate art Thou!
  The King of all on Day of Reckoning,
  Thee only do we worship and adore,
  To Thee, most merciful, we cry for help;
  O guide us ever more on the straight path,
  The path of those to whom Thou gracious art
  On whom Thine anger falls not then nor now,
  The path of them that from Thee go not stray.


  Grant that the knowledge I get may be the
  knowledge worth having.--_Thomas a Kempis._


+Note 1.+


Two of you--Lateef and Altaf--will recollect that more than a year ago
you wrote to me saying that you were puzzled by certain questions which
a Missionary had put to you. I remember that Amjud or Mahmood even went
so far as to ask what was the good of Islam, when countries and people
professing that faith had weak governments and were crumbling to pieces
under the influence of Christian Powers.[2] I answered your queries only
in a general way as your University education had not then advanced far
enough. But I think the time has now come when I should try to explain
to you what I conceive to be the true spirit of the religion of our

I firmly believe that Islam is the best[3] religion in the world--I
mean, Islam rightly understood and interpreted and _not_ the
Muhammadanism[4] of some of our formularist Maulavies,[5] who say that
a man goes to Hell or Heaven according as he wears his trousers lower or
higher than his ankles! They have degraded our religion by paying undue
attention to formulas and forms to the exclusion and neglect of its
living spirit and reality[6]. The poet Hafiz rightly stigmatised their
vain controversies when he said that [Persian: Chon nadiden haghighat
afsaneh zadend] "since they did not see the fact, they ran after

I am more than ever convinced of two characteristics of Islam:--

_1st._--It is not inconsistent with _true_ Christianity, or with any
other _true_ religion[7] of which the fundamental principle is [Arabic:
Tawhid] One God [Arabic: waḥdahū la šarīka lahū] "the Peerless

_2nd._--It conforms to modern scientific ideas better than any other

I have already explained, in some of my letters[9] to you, why I believe
that Islam is but a continuation and consummation of Christianity as
taught by Jesus himself in _his own speeches_ which are reported in the
Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament. We have nothing to do with the
interpretation of his words by his Apostles and others after them. If we
take the plain words and the plain meaning of those words reported to
have proceeded from his own blessed mouth,[10] we clearly see that they
teach the same sublime truths as our Prophet himself inculcated. Jesus
did not live long to complete his mission, Muhammad completed it. Both
were God's holy messengers [Arabic: Rusul-u-llah]. Says the Qur'an:
"This day I have completed your religion for you." [Arabic: l-yawma
ʾakmaltu lakum dīnakum]

I need not now go into details, or refer to other religions, to shew
that the spirit of Islam is not inconsistent with their true spirit, if
rightly conceived and interpreted in the light of modern science. I hope
I shall be able some day to write down the result of my own thought and
investigation in the matter. I content myself at present with drawing
your attention to the first characteristic of Islam, and I propose to
write a few Notes to draw your special attention to its second
characteristic which is the more remarkable--the characteristic that it
is quite consistent with modern ideas of science.

No scientific idea influenced the thought of the last century more
profoundly than the idea of progress or development embodied in what is
called the Law of Evolution. It is now widely accepted. You will be
surprised to know that many an Islamic tenet is entirely in accord with
it. Indeed Maulana Rumi outlined it poetically in his famous _Masnavi_
in the thirteenth century, in the same manner as Lord Tennyson did in
his _Princess_ in the nineteenth. I desire that you should try to
understand it in its modern form. I strongly recommend that you should
read an admirable book by Edward Clodd called _The Story of
Creation_[11]. When I first read it, some years ago, I felt it was as
pleasant and interesting as a novel. Its introduction and Part II are
quite easy to read. They will give you a very good idea of the great
revolution which Darwin and Wallace, Huxley and Spencer have wrought in
the thought of our own times.

+Note 2.+

_The First Chapter of the Qur'an._

The following is a translation of the "Opening Chapter" of our Holy
Qur'an. I have analysed it by placing Roman and Arabic numerals, the
first indicating verses [Arabic: ayyat] and the second indicating
sub-divisions of verses.

   _Opening Chapter._         +[Arabic: Sura al-fātiḥa]+

  In the Name of God the      [Arabic: bi-smi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm]
  Compassionate, the

I. Praise be to God,          [Arabic: al-ḥamdu li-llāhi]    .I

  (1) Lord (Nourisher)        [Arabic: rabbi l-ʿālamīn (1)]
      of the Worlds,

  (2) the Compassionate,      [Arabic: ar-raḥmāni r-raḥīm (2)]
      the Merciful

  (3) King of the Day         [Arabic: māliki yawmi d-dīn (3)]
      of Reckoning (= day
      of judgment.)

II.                                                           .II

  (1) Thee only do we         [Arabic: ʾiyyāka naʿbudu (1)]

  (2) and Thee only do        [Arabic: wa-ʾiyyāka nastaʿīn (2)]
      we ask for aid.

  (3) Guide us in the         [Arabic: ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭa l-mustaqīm (3)]
      right Path (that is)

III. the Path of those        [Arabic: ṣirāṭa llaḏīna]       .III

  (1) to whom Thou            [Arabic: ʾanʿamta ʿalayhim (1)]
      art gracious,

  (2) who are not objects     [Arabic: ġayri l-maġḍūbi ʿalayhim (2)]
      of wrath,

  (3) and who go not          [Arabic: wa-lā ḍ-ḍāllīn (3)]

      _Amen_[12]              [Arabic: āmīn]

The whole Sura divides itself into three parts and each part into three
divisions thus:--

Part I.--_Nature of God_.

Three principal attributes of God:--

  (1) Creator or Nourisher    [Arabic: Rab]
  (2) Protector               [Arabic: raḥmāni wa r-raḥīm]
  (3) Adjuster                [Arabic: māliki yawmi d-dīn]

Part II.--_Man's duty to God_ lies in,

  (1) Worship                 [Arabic: ʿibādat]
  (2) Seeking His Protection  [Arabic: Isti'anāt]
  (3) Seeking His Guidance    [Arabic: Istihdā]

Part III.--_The Straight Path_ [Arabic: islām = madhab] _for Man_

  (1) the path of Grace (= path of those who
        obtain Grace)

  (2) not the Path of Sin (=path of those
        who deliberately go wrong).

  (3) nor the Path of Error (=path of those
        who by mistake go astray).


  (_a_) Each of the three duties in the second part
  corresponds with the three attributes mentioned in the
  first part.

  (_b_) The third part, the Path of Grace, _i.e._, the
  straight path, is _the mean between two extremes_--the
  path of deliberate sinners on the one hand and the path of
  unwitting stragglers on the other.

  (_c_) The Islamic prayer is simpler than the Christian
  prayer. I do not say the one is good and the other is bad.
  No; _both_ are _very_ good indeed, but the one _seems
  simpler_ than the other. Compare them.

_The Christian Prayer._           _The Muslim Prayer._

 THE LORD'S PRAYER.                THE FATIHA.

_Adoration._                      _Adoration._

(_a_) Our Father which art in    (_a_) Praise be to God, Lord
      heaven, Hallowed be thy          of the worlds, the compassionate,
      name. Thy Kingdom                the merciful, King of the day
      come.                            of reckoning.

_Submission._                      _Submission._

(_b_) Thy will be done in earth   (_b_) Thee only do we worship and
      as it is in heaven.               of Thee only do we ask aid.

_Supplication._                    _Supplication._

(_c_) Give us this day our daily  (_c_) Guide us into the right
      bread. And forgive us our         path--the path of those
      debts as we forgive our           to whom Thou hast
      debtors.                          been gracious,
      And lead us not into              not the path of those
      temptation, but deliver           who are the objects
      us from evil: for Thine           of wrath nor of those
      is the Kingdom, and the           who have gone astray.
      power, and the glory for          Amen.
      ever. Amen.

_St. Matthew_, vi 9-13.               _The Qur'an_, i.

If you will carefully compare the parts of each Prayer which I have
written as separate paragraphs marked (_a_), (_b_) and (_c_), you will
observe that there is difference only in the language, but no difference
whatever in the real meaning. There is in both Prayers absolutely the
same spirit of

  (_a_) Adoration,

  (_b_) Submission, and

  (_c_) Supplication.

Both begin with the _praise_ of the Lord to whom all praise is due. This
is followed in both by an expression of our _entire dependence_ on Him
and submission to His will. Lastly, there is _solicitation for
guidance_, positive and negative, _viz._, guidance towards right action
and guidance for avoiding temptation.

The three parts (_a_), (_b_) and (_c_) of the Christian as well as of
the Muslim Prayer are in perfect accord with the results of a
comparative study of the religious systems of the world. They correspond
to three essential elements in _all_ religions, _viz._,

  (_a_) _Belief_ in the existence of a Supreme Power which
          is Infinite and Absolute,

  (_b_) _Feeling_ of man's entire dependence on that Power,

  (_c_) _Desire_ to seek or solicit guidance of that Power
           in the daily life of man.

You will thus see that both the Lord's Prayer in the Bible and the
Opening Chapter of the Qur'an go to the roots of all religions ever
professed by man. They are truly Universal Prayers. No man need hesitate
to join in the solemn recitation of either.

We ought to view all monotheistic religions--religions which enjoin
belief in one God--in the spirit in which St. Peter viewed them when he
said (_Acts_ x. 34-5): "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter
of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh
righteousness is accepted with Him." The same is the spirit of the
oft-repeated definition of 'Muslims' in the Qur'an: [Arabic: llaḏīna
ʾāmanū minkum wa-ʿamilū ṣ-ṣāliḥāt] "those who believe and work
righteousness." "Trust in the Lord and do good," as the psalm says.

+Note 3.+

I.--_What is Religion?_

I have said that _true_ Islam is the _best_ religion in the world. I
must prove my assertion. In order to do so I have to explain:--

  I. What do I mean by religion?
 II. What is true Islam?
III. Why is it the best religion?

I.--_Religion, God and Nature._

_Religion._--No thinking man can help asking himself the questions:
"Whence has this world come? Whither is it bound to go?" in other words,
"What was the _origin_ ([Arabic: mabdā]) and what will be the _end_
([Arabic: ma'ād]) of the world of men, animals, plants and things that I
perceive?" The answers which each man gives to these questions
constitute his _religion_. A few earnest persons (poets, philosophers
and theologians) try to answer these questions for themselves by patient
study and earnest thought[13]. But a large majority of men and women
merely take the answers taught them by their parents, teachers or
priests. There may possibly be a small number of men who do not trouble
themselves about these questions. These are not "thinking men" and may
therefore be left out of account.

Religion is a silent and subtle power that works in the heart of man and
makes for righteousness. It is generated by his conviction as to the
beginning and end of himself and the world in which he lives and

_God._--No intelligent and intelligible answers can be given to
questions as to the origin and the end or the government of _Nature_[15]
without assuming the existence of the _One and only one God_ who is
_Infinite_ and _Absolute_, _i.e._, One who hath neither beginning nor
end and who is not conditioned or limited by anything whatever[16]. The
Infinite and Absolute One has been called by different names by
different people at different times[17]. Yezdan, Ishwara, Jehovah, God,
and Allah are the names, in different languages, of the same _Infinite
and Absolute God_.

  God of the Granite and the Rose
    Soul of the Sparrow and the Bee!
  The mighty tide of being flows
    Through countless channels, Lord, from Thee.

*_Conceptions of God, His attributes, and His relation to
Nature._--These have been and will ever be many and various. But I
summarise three principal conceptions under each head, for I believe
that other ideas, notions or conceptions are but combinations of two or
more of these:--

I. Conceptions of God:--

  1. God as the Ultimate _Law_.
  2. God as the Omnipotent Energy or _Power_.
  3. God as the Supreme Being or _Person[18]_.

II. Notions of God's principal attributes:--

  1. God as Creator or Nourisher.
  2. God as Preserver or Protector.
  3. God as Adjuster or Judge[18].

[*] _Paragraphs marked with asterisks and their footnotes may be
       omitted at the first reading._

III. Ideas of God's relation with Nature[20] (_i.e._, with the world of
men, animals, plants and other objects, and their inter-relations, of
which men are aware):--

  1. All is _from_ God = God is _above_ Nature
                         which He created and
                         governs (Theism).

  2. God is _in_ All   = God is _in_ Nature although
                         Nature is not
                         God (Panentheism).

  3. God _is_ All      = God _is_ Nature and
                         Nature is God (Pantheism)[21].

* The above is but a rough summary. I have neither time nor space to
explain and illustrate it. I have ventured to give some hints--imperfect
hints, I fear--in the footnotes. I may however state here that, of the
above three conceptions, notions or ideas Islam accepts the medium or
the middle one which, as a little thought will show, includes the other
two conceptions also. You need not at present try to understand the
summary or the words given in brackets. My subsequent Notes will explain
it to some extent. Please remember that there are many men and many
minds, and that there are likely to be as many religions, as many
conceptions of God, as many notions of His attributes, and as many ideas
of the beginning or end of things, ([Arabic: mabdā' wa ma'ād]) as there
are _thinking_ minds[22].

Let me conclude this Note with a short answer to the question why
religion is necessary to Man[23]. No society is possible without
religion, because of the dual nature of Man. As our poet says, [Persian:
ba bahaa'm bahra dari ba malaa'ik neez ham] and as all modern men of
science (such as Sir Oliver Lodge and others) admit, there is a higher
and a lower in every man's nature, the one lifts him up and the other
pulls him down in the scale of animal and social existence. Religion is
necessary in order that every man's higher nature may conquer his lower
nature in order that he may become a social being who is virtuous and
does good of his own accord, and may not remain a mere beast whom the
whip alone prevents from doing mischief. It is religion that fosters
high-thinking and holy-living, so necessary for the advancement of the
human race.

+Note 4.+

II.--_What is true Islam?_

The answer to this question is contained within the four corners, as
it were, of the Opening Sura[24] [Arabic: Sura al-fātiḥa] which is a
general summary of the whole Qur'an. I have already analysed it and
asked you to compare it with the Christian prayer called the Lord's
prayer. I am sure you have noted and admired its simplicity and
clearness and its almost scientific precision and comprehensiveness. I
am only amplifying what I have already said when I say that the Sura
teaches three cardinal and eternal truths:--

_1st._--There is but One God who has created the worlds, maintains them,
and rules them. In the inimitable words of the Sura of Purity.

                                      [Arabic: Sura al-ʾiḫlāṣ]

[Arabic: qul huwa llāhu ʾaḥad] Say, God is one. }       = One.

[Arabic: allāhu ṣ-ṣamad] God is Eternal.        }       = Infinite.

[Arabic: lam yalid] He does not beget           }
[Arabic: wa-lam yūlad] nor is He begotten.      }       = Absolute.[25]
[Arabic: wa-lam yakun lahū kufuwan aḥad]        }
  and He hath no kith or kin.                   }

_2ndly._--(_a_) God being our Creator, we have to _worship_, adore and
love Him and Him alone. This is the duty we owe to God. (_b_) Again, God
being our merciful Preserver, we have to seek the protection of Him and
Him alone. This is the duty we owe to ourselves. (_c_) Finally, God
being our Judge or Ruler, we have to solicit guidance of Him and Him
alone. This is the duty we owe to our fellow-creatures (including lower
animals) in the world we live in.

You must not fall into the error of believing that God is Creator at one
time or place, that He is Maintainer or Preserver at another time or
place, and that He is Judge or Ruler at a third time or place. No, no;
He, being the One and only God, is all the three together, Creator,
Preserver and Ruler, at all times and in all places. It is we who, in
order to understand Him properly and adore Him rightly, separate in our
minds His three principal attributes, and think of Him as our Creator
_when_ we worship Him, think of Him as our Preserver _when_ we seek His
protection, and think of Him as our Ruler or Judge _when_ we solicit His
guidance. It is only we, finite and conditioned creatures, that are tied
down to and limited by time, place and circumstances. To God there are
none such. He is the One Infinite and Absolute, the One who hath neither
beginning nor end--the One who is absolutely unlimited and unconditioned
by time, place, circumstances, or anything else. This is the Islamic
conception or idea of God.

_3rdly_.--What does the Sura teach us as to the guidance which we have
to ask of God in our dealings with our fellow-creatures? It is guidance
into the straight path. What is the straight path? It is the path of
righteousness or the path of _Grace_ which is between two extremes, the
path of _Sin_ and the path of _Error_. A Muslim's right path, _i.e._,
his right course of conduct, lies between two extreme paths or courses
of conduct, _viz._, on the one hand, the path of those who sin, who
knowingly and deliberately go against the will of God, which is manifest
in Nature, and on the other hand, the path of those who unwittingly,
through ignorance, go against His will. The right path lies thus:--

_Path of Sin_ }  _Path of Grace_  {  _Path of Error_
              }                   {
which leads   }  which leads to   {   which leads to
to ruin or    }  eternal bliss.   {   confusion worse
destruction.  }                   {   confounded.

You thus see that _true_ Islam consists in a threefold duty to God, to
oneself, and to others, and this duty is to be discharged by simply
adopting, under God's guidance, _the mean between two extremes_. As our
Prophet has pithily expressed it [Arabic: khair ul umoor-e ausatiha],
"the best of things is the medium thing." This is the fundamental
principle which underlies everything which is Islamic or Muslim.[26]
Please remember it, as also the three-fold Islamic Duty:--

  (_a_) Duty to God, which is Worship or Adoration implying,
          as it does, complete submission to His will = [Arabic:

  (_b_) Duty to yourself, which is self-preservation or
          self-perfection = [Arabic: Aslām]

  (_c_) Duty to others, which is peace and good will towards
          them = [Arabic: islām]

"Islam"[27] as a religion means nothing more nor less than those three

Islam is not Philosophy, much less is it Science. It is but a Religion,
_an attitude of man's mind towards his environment_--the attitude of
self towards others and God. Both Philosophy and Science influence one's
attitude of mind. To that extent Islam has to reckon with both. It is
therefore that Sufis and other philosophic sects have risen in Islam
from time to time. The sphere of Islam is Faith manifesting itself in
good works; and the spheres of Science and Philosophy are Knowledge and
Reason. The latter often come into contact with the former, but can
never be identified with it.

+Note 5.+

_What is not Islam._

In my previous Note I tried to sketch briefly what is true Islam. I now
offer a few observations on, or illustrations of, what is _not_ Islam.
In order to know anything quite well, it is desirable not only to know
_what it is_ but also to know _what it is not_.

1. The religion taught by the Qur'an and the Traditions [Arabic:
ahādith] of our Prophet is _Islam_ and not "Muhammadanism," as it is
often named. Those who profess Islam are _Muslims_ and not
"Muhammadans," as they are called. The word "Musalman" is but a
corruption of the Arabic plural [Arabic: muslimūn/muslimīn] of the
singular [Arabic: Muslim]. We and our religion have been called[28]
after the name of Muhammad just as the terms Christians and Christianity
have been derived from the name Christ. But "Muhammadanism" and
"Muhammadans" are not at all the correct names of "Islam" and "Muslims"
as you will presently see.[29]

2. From the point of view of Islam, all religions may be divided thus:

                   Religions are either,
              |                               |
_False_: being beliefs}          {_True_: being beliefs
in more gods than     } or       {in one and only God;
one,                  }          {and True Religions
(Paths of Sin)        }          {are either,
                           |                     |
                 _Pure_, such as    }    {_Mixed_, such as
                  true Islam        }    {religions which
                  unmixed with any  }    {mix up inconsistent
                  inconsistent      } or {ideas with
                  ideas.            }    {the idea of
                                    }    {one God.
                  (Paths of Grace)  }    {(Paths of Error)

Observe that a pure Religion, such as true Islam, comes in between false
Religions and mistaken or mixed Religions, just as the Quranic Path of
Grace lies between the Path of Sin and the Path of Error. It is the mean
between two extremes.

3. It is not Islam to believe that there has been no true religion
besides Islam.[30] Such an erroneous belief leads to intolerance,
thereby begetting bigotry and fanaticism [Arabic: taa'ssub]. It is
contrary to the teaching of the Qur'an and the Prophet. The first verse
of the second Sura [Arabic: Baqrah = ʾ-l-m] commands us to
believe in not only what was revealed to Muhammad but also in what was
revealed to those who went before him. It clearly indicates that there
are, and will ever be, many true religions of which Islam is one. Almost
the first saying of our Prophet reported in collections of his
traditions [Arabic: ahaadith] is "whoever says 'there is no god but
God,' will attain Salvation" _i.e._, will obtain eternal bliss. This
shews clearly that all religions which inculcate belief in one God are
true religions--are right Paths of Grace which lead to eternal bliss.
Observe that most Muhammadans (not Muslims) of to-day have
forgotten this principle and have therefore become
intolerant fanatics,[31] which accounts largely for the loss of
political power of most Muhammadan Governments of modern times.

4. Neither is it Islam to believe that all religions are true. Such an
erroneous belief leads to indifference, thereby begetting caprice and
impiety. It is obviously contrary to the teaching of the Qur'an and the
Prophet, for they both denounce many a false religion. If everybody
thinks that every religion is true, there will be no two men professing
the same religion, and there will be no real agreement between their
thoughts and actions. Co-operation[32] [Arabic: ittifāq wa ittihād]
among men (which is the root of Family, Society and State) would tend to
become impossible. Note that it is the indifference to religion and the
consequent impiety of some of the Muhammadans of to-day that accounts
mostly for their lack of co-operation, and for their loss of political
power in modern times. Degradation is the lot of _faithless_ Muslims,
for as the Qur'an says, "Ye will be exalted only if ye be faithful

From what has been said you can easily infer that we should adopt the
mean between two extremes and must therefore believe that neither are
all religions true nor are they all false, but that _some religions_ are
true and that Islam is one of them. The characteristic mark of true
religions is belief in one God; and this indeed is the reason why
Muslims are permitted to eat and live with, and even marry, Jewesses,
Christians and others who believe in one God and possess sacred

5. I, for one, would not hesitate to call all Monotheists (Jews,
Christians, and other Unitarians [Arabic: muwahiddin]) _Muslims_,
because they believe in one God: but I would not call them _Momins_
[Arabic: Momins,], because they do not believe in one God in accordance
with the teaching of our Prophet. You know that our Creed [Arabic:
kalimah] consists of two parts:--

   (i) There is no god but God,
  (ii) And Muhammad is His Messenger.

Those who believe in the first part are Muslims ([Arabic: Muslim ] = the
peaceful)[33] and those who believe in the first as well as the second
part of the Creed are Momins ([Arabic: Mumins ] = the faithful). Both
Muslims and Momins are believers in one God; the only difference between
them is that Muslims may not (like Momins) accept Muhammad as their
guide in the belief. The Qur'an (iii. 83) defines Islam thus:--

  Say ye; We believe in God, and that which hath been sent
  down (revealed) to us, and that which hath been sent down
  to Abraham and Ismail and Issac and Jacob and the tribes;
  and that which hath been given to Moses and to Jesus and
  that which was given to the Prophets from their Lord. No
  difference do we make between them--and to God we are
  resigned (Muslims).

6. "There is no deity but God." Since God is One, His Revelation to Man
cannot be other than one and the same for all time. There has therefore
been and will ever be but one true religion. That religion is Islam.
[Arabic: ʾinna d-dīna ʿinda llāhi l-ʾislām] "Verily the (only) religion
with God is Islam" (Q. iii 19). All the prophets from Adam to Muhammad
received but one and the same Revelation and therefore preached Islam
and Islam only. [Arabic: ḏālika d-dīnu l-qayyim] "It was (and is) the
standard religion"--Q. xii. 40.[34]

Whenever any people went astray and deserted Islam for idolatry a
prophet arose among them to preach Islam and bring them back to
righteousness.[35] Each prophet or messenger of God did nothing but try
to restore the universal religion to its pristine simplicity and purity.

It was only in interpreting the Revelation and applying it to the
practical needs of their age, that successive prophets and their
followers differed; and the differences gave rise to the so-called
_religions_ and religious systems of the world.

+Note 6.+

_"Islam" and "not-Islam"._

I must devote this Note also to my observations on "Islam" and
"not-Islam" in order to prepare you for a just appreciation of my
contention that there are many good religions in the world but Islam is
the best of them[36].

1. The Prophet Muhammad lived and died more than thirteen hundred years
ago. There are now on the face of the earth no less than 250 millions (=
25 crores) of human beings who profess his religion, and who love and
respect him just as his own immediate followers loved and respected him.
These two simple facts are enough to prove--

  (1) that there must be something real and
      true in the religion professed by so many
      people, and

  (2) that the man who preached and established
      it must have been both great and
      good to an extraordinary degree;

for common experience leads us to conclude (_a_) that nothing which is
false or unreal can survive centuries of change and (_b_) that none who
is not good and great can be loved and respected by millions of men. No
Muslim or Momin need therefore believe in any thing more than:--

  (i) that Islam is a real and true religion, and

  (ii) that Muhammad was a very great and good man.[37]

Thus, your belief in one God [Arabic: lā ʾilāha ʾillālāh] makes you a
Muslim[38] (= _peaceful_), no matter by what other name you call
yourself; and your belief in the goodness and greatness[39] of Muhammad
[Arabic: Muhammad rasūlullah] makes you a Mumin (= _faithful_), no
matter by what name others may call you. Let me quote here a passage
from Sir Edwin Arnold's Preface to his beautiful poem "The Pearls of
Faith: the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah:" [Arabic: asmāʾu l-ḥusnā]

"The soul of Islam is its declaration of the _unity_ of God: its heart
is the inculcation of an absolute _resignation_ to His will. Not more
sublime, in religious history appears the figure of Paul the tent-maker,
proclaiming 'the Unknown God' at Athens, than that of the camel-driver
Muhammad, son of Abdullah and Amina, abolishing all the idols of the
Arabian Pantheon, except their chief--Allahu ta 'Ala, God the Most
High--and under that ancient and well-received appellation establishing
_the one-ness of the origin, government, and life of the Universe_.
Thereby that marvellous and gifted Teacher created a vast empire of new
belief and new civilization, and prepared a sixth part of humanity for
the _developments and reconciliations_ which later times will bring. For
Islam must be conciliated; it cannot be thrust scornfully aside or
rooted out. It shares the task of the education of the world with its
sister religions, and it will contribute its eventual portion to

  --"that far-off divine event
  Towards which the whole creation moves."

The _italics_ are mine. I shall have to refer to them in my subsequent
Notes. Observe, the cosmopolitan poet uses only the word "Islam" and not

2. It is not Islam or Eman [Arabic: īmān] to deify Muhammad or to
represent him to be akin to God, as sometimes some Moulvies represent
him and call him "the One (Ahad) in the guise of Ahmad[40]." Our Prophet
himself never claimed that he was anything more than a mere man. Indeed,
he taught us all to say [Arabic: Ash-hadu allā ilāha illallāh, wa
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasūlullāh] that he was but "a servant and
messenger of God." The only thing he ever claimed for himself was that
God had chosen him to be a messenger [Arabic: rasūl = payghambar] to
convey His messages to men. "That an immense mass of fable and silly
legend," says Rodwell, "has been built up upon the basis of the Qur'an,
is beyond a doubt; but for this Muhammad is not answerable,[41] any more
than he is for the wild and bloodthirsty excesses of his followers in
after ages."

3. God's messages which Muhammad delivered to men were all collected
soon after his death and are preserved intact in a remarkable book
called the QUR'AN--a book which has lived through no less than thirteen
centuries without undergoing the least alteration in a single word or
even a dot! The difference in the messages contained in the Qur'an and
the ordinary sayings of the Prophet reported in books on Hadis [Arabic:
hadith] is simply this:--that when delivering God's messages Muhammad
himself felt, and those who were in his company witnessed, that he was
inspired by some divine energy or power which impelled him to say what
he said; whereas at other times, when he was talking like an ordinary
man, no signs of divine energy or inspiration were visible. It will
carry me too far if I endeavour to explain here the real nature of "the
divine inspiration" under which he delivered what he and others believed
to be "divine messages". You will understand it if you read such books
as Professor James's _Varieties of Religious Experience_. Let us, like
good Momins, take it as a _fact_, what our Prophet's intimate companions
[Arabic: ṣḥābah] vouched, that he appeared to be quite a different man
when he uttered such messages. Their style or matter itself even to this
day proves to all unbiassed minds that they are no ordinary sayings of
an ordinary man. There is something unique in them which we can only
feel but cannot define or express in words. Even historians and
biographers like Gibbon and Muir and translators like Rodwell, Palmer
and Lane-Poole are obliged, in spite of themselves, to admit and admire,
what some of them call, the rugged grandeur and eloquence of the Qur'an.
Even Sale says that some passages are really sublime.

4. We call the Qur'an _the word of God_, chiefly because it contains
messages of high spiritual value delivered by _an illiterate man_ like
Muhammad. It is neither a history like some of the books of the Old
Testament, nor a biography like the four Gospels of the Bible. It is
only a collection of sermons, commands, and instructions delivered and
issued from time to time as occasions required. It contains, indeed,
references to stories of older Prophets and previous events well known
to the people of Arabia. But they are less by way of narration than by
way of illustration. They are parables more or less ([Arabic: tilka
l-ʾamṯālu naḍribuhā li-n-nās])[42]. Commentators like Zamakh-shari
([Arabic: tafsīr-e-kashshāf]) and Imam Razi ([Arabic: tafsīr-e-kabīr])
whose learning and authority cannot be questioned, have clearly proved
that there is nothing in the Qur'an which is improbable or cannot be
rationally explained to be quite in accordance with the laws of Nature
[Arabic: qanun-u qadat]. If you read Sir Syed Ahmad's Commentary
[Arabic: tafsir ahmadi] or his Essays [Arabic: khutbāt] you will find
rational explanations of the ideas of Paradise and Hell, the Day of
Judgment,[43] etc. I need not dwell on them here. I would however draw
your attention to what is called the rule of "Parsimony in Thought"
which is in vogue among men of Science. It is that if and when you can
explain anything by what is well-known and understood by every one, you
should not believe in the existence of "supermen" or assume the
occurrence of supernatural events. When, for example, we can explain any
action of Muhammad as an ordinary action of a reasonable man, we should
not assume or believe that he performed a miracle. If we can explain the
defeat and discomfiture of Abraham's Army by natural causes, such as an
epidemic, we ought not to assume the occurrence of any supernatural

5. The Qur'an does not favour any particular system of Philosophy. It
leaves Muslims free to adopt any system of thought that commends itself
to them, provided that it is not inconsistent with the ([Arabic:
tawhīd]) idea of the one eternal and absolute God. Thus the Qur'an
confines itself to the sphere of religion--the sphere where man is
brought face to face with his God.

  (a) _What, then, is the object or aim of the Qur'an?_

To reveal a man unto himself. [Arabic: mun arafa nafsa hu arafa rabba
hu] (He who has understood himself has understood his God.)

  (b) _Why should a man be revealed unto himself?_

In order that he might know his true relation with the rest of the world
so that he might shape his conduct accordingly _i.e._, be true to
himself, true to others, and true to his God in thoughts, words, and

  (c) _How does the Qur'an reveal a man unto himself?_

By showing him:--

  (1) God in History[45] ([Arabic: huwa l-ʾawwalu wa-l-ʾāḫir]
  He is the First and the Last.)

  (2) God in Nature[46] ([Arabic: wa-ẓ-ẓāhir] He is the

  (3) God in Man's Conscience[47] ([Arabic: wa-l-bāṭin] and
  He is the Hidden--Qur'an lvii. 3.)

In this sense the Qur'an is truly a revelation!

  His sign is in all things, | * [Arabic: fa fi kulli šayʾin lahū]
  Indicating that He is One. | * [Arabic: aayah naral anna hu wāḥid]

+Note 7.+

_III.--Why is Islam the best religion?_

My real task begins with this Note. I have to explain to you why I
consider Islam[48] the best of the religions that are now professed by
men all over the world. Mark, I do not say that other religions are not
good, but I only say that Islam is the best religion of all those I
know. Why do I say so? Because no other religion accords so well as
Islam with the modern ideas of Science.

By applying the adjectives "good," "better" and "best" to religions, I
indicate the _degree_ to which each religion, by its tenets and
teaching, induces men to seek their welfare [Arabic: falāh]: and by the
word "Science" [Arabic: ilm] I mean simply the systematised knowledge of
things known and knowable.

_Science_ discovers things that are necessary or desirable for human
welfare. _Arts_ generally show the way in which those things can be
obtained or manufactured. _Governments_ provide, or ought to provide,
facilities for scientific investigation and for improvement in arts. And
it is _Religion_ that should move men to take the fullest advantage of
the science and arts of the time. You may take a horse to a river but
you cannot make him drink unless he is thirsty. If he is thirsty he will
drink of his own accord; but if he is not, neither the appearance of
clear water, nor the easy way to get at it, nor indeed your whip or
coaxing can ever induce him to drink. In the same way Science may show
you water or anything that is useful, Arts may show you different ways
of getting it, the Government of your State may offer rewards or even
threaten punishment; but you will not drink, that is to say, you will
not take advantage of the good things shown you and placed at your
disposal, unless you are thirsty, unless there is something in you which
impels you to it. This thirst, this something that is the moving force
or _motive_, is created or furnished by Religion.

The chief use of religion lies in the desire that it fosters in men to
live well, and virtuously.[49] It is true that for most men the fear of
punishment and the hope of reward, either here or hereafter, are motives
for right conduct: and some religions (and even Islam as taught by some
Moulvies) give glowing pictures of Heaven and Hell awaiting good and
bad people after death.[50] But these motives are unworthy of the higher
nature [Arabic: qu wa ye malakūti] of man. They are like the crack of a
whip or the show of green grass to a horse that will not run. They are
not so effective and lasting as the high spiritual motive for a virtuous
life furnished by true religion. I cannot dwell further on this point
without entering upon a philosophical or metaphysical discussion which
is foreign to the purpose of these Notes. Suffice it to say that the
spiritual or religious motive for virtuous conduct is the best of all
motives, as it conforms to the higher or angelic [Arabic: malakūti]
nature of man and assists him in subduing his lower or animal [Arabic:
ba ha'i mi] nature.[51]

"The son of man is a unique      |
and complex product (of          |
Evolution) which has combined    |
in him the natures of            | [Persian: Aadmi zada turfah m'a
both the angel and the beast.    | joo ne ast za fa-rish-ta sa-rish-ta
If he leans towards the latter,  | hay wan gar kunad mayl een shuwad
his animal nature, he            | wa kum azeen dar kunad qasn
falls lower than the beast       | aanshuwad beh azaan.]
itself, but if he turns his      |
attention to the former, his     |
angelic nature, he rises higher  |
than the angel himself."         |

It is but religion, true Religion, that enables the "son of man" _i.e._,
mankind to surpass angels in godliness. Note, this is exactly what Sir
Oliver Lodge says in his book, _The Substance of Faith allied with

There is another use of Religion to which I should refer briefly before
I pass on to the main argument. You always intend doing many things but
never succeed in doing them _all_, either because you change your mind
or because somebody or something prevents you from carrying them out. It
is nevertheless important to yourself and society that your wishes,
which are naturally more numerous than your actions, should be as good
as the actions themselves. Laws and social conventions cannot adequately
control them, for they take account of only outward manifestations, that
is, actions which flow or result from your inward desires, passions and
prejudices. These are controlled by such religions as true Christianity
and true Islam which take that as done which was merely intended to be
done, and inhibit bad intentions even before they appear in action.

Now, whatever religion supplies the best motives for virtuous conduct
and most effectively prevents mischievous intentions, must necessarily
be one which conforms best with the most approved ideas of the science
and arts of the time. I hold that Islam is such a religion.[52]

Let me begin by showing a conformity of Islam to a modern idea, that
there are more worlds than one.[53] There are still some religions
which assume that there is no other world than the world we live in, and
that God created and maintains it for men only. Science has proved that
such assumptions are unwarranted, and has even suggested grounds for
believing that there are beings in the innumerable worlds of stars. This
world of ours with its inhabitants has therefore no right to monopolise
God to itself. Nor indeed have we, human beings, any right to consider
ourselves as its superior inhabitants. Science is now-a-days on the
track of finding out beings who are or who may be superior to man. Note
that all this is implied in the expression [Arabic: rabbi l-ʿālamīn]
"the Lord of the _worlds_" contained in the Sura and other parts of the
Qur'an. It does not say "the king of the _world_" ([Arabic: rabbi l-
ʿālam]) or of _men_ [Arabic: rabbi l- ʾinsān] but says generally and
truly that God is the King or Lord of great or grand _worlds_: [Arabic:
rabbi l-ʿālamīn], the definite article [Arabic: al] in Arabic is often
used to express greatness or grandeur as in the word [Arabic: Allah]
which means the Most High God.

According to Islam there are two sources of knowledge, _Science_ and
_Revelation_: the one represents man's effort to learn God's ways, and
the other represents God's grace to discover His ways to man.[54] I for
one believe that the difference between the two sources of knowledge
corresponds to the difference between "Experience" and "Intuition,"
between Acquired Ideas and Innate Ideas--a difference which modern
philosophers (Spencer and Bergson) consider to be one of degree only and
not of kind.

+Note 8.+

_Unity[55] and Union._

I cannot go over the whole field of Muslim theology to show how its
ideas are in accord with the scientific thought of our days. I will
confine myself to three principles and three maxims implied in the
analysis of the Opening Sura [Arabic: Sura al-fātiḥa] given in one of my
previous Notes[56].

I. The verse [Arabic: al-ḥamdu li-llāhi rabbi l-ʿālamīn; ar-raḥmāni
r-raḥīm] points to _the Principle of Unity_:

  There is but one God who created the worlds,
  maintains and rules them.

From this results the _Maxim of Union & Loyalty_:

  Union is strength = Be loyal to your King.

II. The verse [Arabic: ʾiyyāka naʿbudu wa-ʾiyyāka nastaʿīn] points to
_the Principle of Perfection_:

  Worship of God, His protection, and guidance
  are necessary for the perfection of our
  mind and body.

From this results the _Maxim of Self-help_:

  God helps those who help themselves = Be
  true to yourself.

III. The verse [Arabic: ṣirāṭa llaḏīna ʾanʿamta ʿalayhim ġayri l-maġḍūbi
ʿalayhim wa-lā ḍ-ḍāllīn] points to _the Principle of Moderation_:

  It is the straight path of righteousness that
  enables you to avoid crooked paths of sin
  and error and leads you to happiness.

From this results the _Maxim of the Average_:

  Adopt the mean of two extremes = Be moderate
  in everything.

I will now endeavour to shew, as briefly and as simply as possible, how
the principles and maxims I have stated correspond with the best
scientific ideas of the present age. By "the best scientific ideas," I
mean nothing more than _conclusions_ arrived at by eminent men of
science after severe study and prolonged investigation. I can only refer
to the conclusions as such without attempting to summarise the
reasoning, etc. by which they have been reached. You may read the works
of authors I shall name, if you wish to learn more of their thoughts.


_Principle of Unity._

1. The first Principle of Unity [Arabic: tawhīd] implies that there is
but one Energy or Force whose different transformations we call
_forces_, but one Life whose appearance in different shapes we call
_lives_, and but one Mind whose different manifestations we call
_minds_. But the universal Energy, the

1. Herbert Spencer.
2. Dr. A.R. Wallace.
3. Prof. James.
4. Sir Oliver Lodge.
5. Dr. Theodore Merz.]

universal Life, and the universal Mind[57] [Arabic: rabbi l-ʿālamīn,
ar-raḥmāni r-raḥīm, māliki yawmi d-dīn] are themselves but so many
forms, appearances or manifestations of the one Being [Arabic: Allah]
who is Infinite [Arabic: ṣ-ṣamad] and Absolute [Arabic: lam yalid,
wa-lam yūlad]. This is exactly what scientific men and philosophers have
said and are saying to-day. Read the works of any of the eminent men
mentioned in the margin, and you will find that the conclusion they have
reached after life-long investigations, tallies remarkably with the
conception of God which Islam formulated centuries ago.

Every child begins with the experience of 'This is _mine_' and 'That is
_not mine_.' This experience matures in the adult into "I" and
"not-I"--the _subject_ that knows and the _object_ that is known. We
call the _knower_ or subject, Mind; and the _known_ or object, Matter.
Most modern Philosophers agree in believing that Mind and Matter are but
two aspects of One Reality underlying All. Just as a big building like
the Falaknuma Palace presents different aspects when viewed from
different directions, and yet is one and the same building; so the
Reality of Existence _appears to us_ in different aspects as Mind and
Matter, and yet is one and the same Reality[58].

Dr. Theodore Merz of the Durham University, at the end of his grand
survey of the Scientific Thought of Europe in the 19th Century,[59]
says: "The scientific mind advances from the idea of Order or
arrangement to that of Unity through the idea of Continuity."

The process adopted by Science of arriving at Unity is only the reverse
of what Islam adopted: the former begins _a posteriori_ with Order finds
Continuity and arrives at Unity, but the latter started _a priori_ with
Unity, passed over Continuity, and found Order, thus:--

_Science._        _Islam._

1. Order        1. Unity = [Arabic: rabbi l-ʿālamīn] = [Arabic: Allah]
                           = The Reality[50]
                           of which both Mind and Matter
                           are different aspects.

2. Continuity   2. Continuity = [Arabic: raḥmāni wa r-raḥīm] = Force
                           or Energy.

3. Unity        3. Order[60] = [Arabic: māliki yawmi d-dīn] = Order
                           or Process.

What Sir Edwin Arnold calls the soul of Islam, _i.e._, the Principle of
Unity, so patently corresponds with the ultimate results of modern
Science and Philosophy, that I need not dwell on it at any great length.
It is sufficient to point out that Science has now proved three Unities,
the Unity of _Substance_, the Unity of _Force_, and the Unity of
_Process_; and Philosophy has shown that the three Unities resolve
themselves into One Infinite Power.[61]

  "There is no strength (to avoid }
  evil) nor ability (to do good)  } [Arabic: La hawla wa la quwwata
  great and supreme."             } ʾillā bi-llāhi alee-eil aẓīm.]

  _Maxim of Union and Loyalty._

2. How is the Maxim of Union and Loyalty inferred from the principle of
Unity? Man, being a creature of God, should try to be godly and godlike,
try to imitate God in actions, try to co-operate with his fellow
creatures for the good of all, and should thus attain the ideal: "Union
is Strength." This is the Islamic doctrine of Atonement[62] (=
at-one-ment [Arabic: fana fil-lah]): to be _at one_ with God by _union_
and _co-operation_ with God's creatures so far as your and their
constitutions and environments allow. But you need not bother yourself
with theories at present. It will be enough if you remember that the
ultimate aim or the sole object of the Prophet's mission was to
establish the universal union and brotherhood of mankind by means of a
firm belief in the eternal truth of God's unity. He preached the Unity
of God and worked all his life for the union of men into a universal

In order that you should _co-operate_, _i.e._, work together with your
fellow-men for the good of all, your work must needs be _co-ordinated_.
It must be guided and directed so that it tallies with the work of
others. This guidance and direction comes from your leader, whom you and
your fellow-workers must obey, in order to attain the best results.
Co-operation thus implies Co-ordination which requires a leader--Caliph
or King--whom you ought to follow loyally. _Loyalty to your leader_ is
therefore the gist of co-operation. The Qur'an and the Traditions are
full of injunctions for obedience to "those in authority among you"
[Arabic: ʾulī l-ʾamri minkum][63] "The surest way of pleasing God is to
obey the King."

Modern Science teaches exactly the same thing. I have a series of little
books in my Library called "People's Books" published at 6d. each by
Messrs. Jack, London. One of them on "Zoology" is written by Professor
MacBride, F.R.S. He traces the development of Man from Protozoa,--little
specks of animalculæ--and points out how each species of animals has
risen higher than another by (i) greater "inventive capacity", the
capacity of adopting new means to an old end and old means to a new end:
and (ii) higher "tribal morality" implied in co-operation and loyalty to
leaders. He says: "Mankind progresses by the appearance of individuals
in whom (besides the inventive genius) the instincts of co-operation and
loyalty are more strongly developed". It is precisely those instincts
that Islam fosters by its doctrine of the universal brotherhood of
Muslims--a doctrine which implies primarily loyalty to your King. Just
as the affairs of a family like yours, consisting of a dozen members,
cannot prosper unless each follows loyally the lead of the eldest, or
the wisest among you; so the affairs of a nation can never be in a
satisfactory condition unless each individual is loyal to his King and
country, and co-operates with his Government by willingly doing what is
required of him.

Muhammad enjoined [Arabic: utlibul ilm wa lov kaana bis seen] "Seek
knowledge even if thou hast to go for it to China"--(the farthest
country known in his days).

  Delve gems of Science divine
  Ev'n unto Cathay's mine.

He said that wisdom was the birthright of every Muslim who should seize
it wherever he found it. He thus encouraged the learning of Science and
the consequent acquirement of inventive capacity which is biologically
as essential for human progress as co-operation and loyalty.

A study of animal life from the lowest animalcule to the highly
civilized man, teaches us to know, feel and act, in a particular manner,

(_a_) to _know_ our environment, _i.e._, to know the
      Laws of Nature in order to improve our
      general capacity for invention, manufacture
      and commerce, (Knowledge)

(_b_) to _feel_ for our fellow-men in order to increase
      mutual good-will so necessary for co-operation, (Sympathy)

(_c_) and to _act_ for the general good of our race
      under the guidance of our political and social
      leaders, (Loyalty).

"Knowledge, Sympathy and Loyalty" are thus the watchwords of the Science
of to-day no less than of the Islam of our ancestors.[64]

+Note 9.+

_Perfection and Self-help._

Allow me to explain here that my object is not to persuade you to
believe what I say but only to make you think for yourself. I will
therefore avoid arguments and discussions as much as possible and
content myself with bare outlines of certain Islamic doctrines and brief
references to the corresponding ideas of modern Science. I shall be very
pleased if they serve to excite your curiosity and stimulate your


_Principle of Perfection._

1. The second Muslim doctrine which I have called the Principle of
Perfection may be inferred from the second part of the Sura:--It is
essential for our perfect development that we should worship God and
implore Him for help and guidance in the discharge of the three-fold
duty of our life.

No sane man thinks that he is perfect as he is. There is always a
feeling of some sort in our mind that somehow, and in some respect or
other, we are not as perfect as we should be. It is to remove this
feeling of imperfection inherent in us that we have to worship God and
supplicate His help and guidance. If you ask: "Why should I worship
God?" Islam answers your question by asking another: "Why should you
admire beauty in Nature and Art?" You can answer only: "Because it is
beautiful. I am so constituted that I cannot do otherwise than admire a
beautiful object when I see it". You are unable to give any other reason
satisfactorily accounting for your admiration of the beautiful. Islam
returns a similar answer to your question: _"You should worship God
because He is God"._ You, as one of His creatures, cannot help
worshipping or reverently adoring Him when you see, at every instant of
your life, manifold manifestations of His divine Goodness and Beauty.
Some Sufis[55] even go to the extent of identifying God with "Infinite
Beauty" [Arabic: husn-e azlee] which is the object of their love
[Arabic: ishq] and ecstasy [Arabic: wajd].

You remember the verse which every devout Muslim recites when he hears
the news of the death of any one: [Arabic: inna lil lahi wa inna ilaihi

  "Verily we are God's and to Him we shall return".

This as well as some other verses support the Islamic belief in the
re-union of a man's soul with God. As I have mentioned in my previous
Note, Islam conceives that there is but one Universal Soul. Small
parts--infinitesimal fractions--of the Universal Soul are confined in
men's bodies and break free at death to re-join the Whole[56]. This
belief is in entire accord with Sir Oliver Lodge's theory (or
"speculation", as he calls it) put forward in his book, _Faith allied to
Science_. Without stopping to enquire how far the belief indicated by
Qur'anic verses, or the theory advanced by a man of science, is
supported by scientific facts, I would only point out that it gives a
clear and intelligible meaning to the word "worship" [Arabic: ibadāt].
It is the communion of the fractional soul, which is somehow confined in
a man's living body, with the Whole Soul, the Soul of the Universe, to
which it--the fractional soul--shall return some day freed from the
trammels of the flesh. This "communion" [Arabic: ibadāt] includes
Adoration [Arabic: tasbīh wa tahlīl] and Prayer [Arabic: du'ā].

I cannot do better than quote Sir Oliver Lodge's admirable description
of the meaning and object of Prayer:--

  "In prayer we come into close communion with a Higher than
  we know, and seek to contemplate Divine perfection. Its
  climax and consummation is attained when we realize the
  universal Permeance, the entire Goodness and the Fatherly
  Love of the Divine Being."

  [[Arabic: al-ḥamdu li-llāhi rabbi l-ʿālamīn, ar-raḥmāni

  Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds, compassionate and
  merciful, King of the day of Reckoning.]

  "Through prayer we admit our dependence on a Higher Power,
  for existence and health and everything we possess; we are
  encouraged to ask for whatever we need as children ask

  [[Arabic: adnee istajib lakum] Call upon me--I will
  hearken unto you]

  and we inevitably cry for mercy and comfort in times of
  tribulation and anguish."

  "The spirit of simple supplication may desire chiefly:--

  "1. Insight and receptiveness to truth and knowledge.

  [[Arabic: iyyaka na'budu] We worship Thee alone.]

  "2. Help and guidance in the practical management of life.

  [[Arabic: iyyaka nasta'een] We seek help from Thee alone.]

  "3. Ability and willingness to follow the light
  withersoever it leads."

  [[Arabic: ihdinas sirātal musta-qīm] Guide us into the
  right path]

Compare the verses I have placed in brackets with what Sir Oliver says,
and you will observe how well he has interpreted the Qur'an. It looks as
if he had the Opening Sura [Arabic: Sura al-fātiḥa] before him when he
wrote. Even the sequence of his ideas corresponds _practically_ with the
order of the verses. But you may be quite sure that he never thought of
the Qur'an at all. He evolved it all from his own inner consciousness
well trained by scientific studies.

_Maxim of Self-help._

2. There are numerous verses in the Qur'an which enjoin "purification
[Arabic: tazkīm] of one's self" and prohibit "cruelty [Arabic: Tazkīya]
to one's own mind". They obviously imply the rule of conduct which I
have called the Maxim of Self-help. No one has expressed it more
beautifully and truthfully than Shakespeare in the well-known speech of

  This above all: to thine own self be true,
  And it must follow, as the night the day,
  Thou canst not then be false to any man.

[Sidenote: Herbert Spencer, Prof.
T.H. Green, Lecky (Historian),
Profs. Muirhead,
Mackenzie, and Sen.]

It is the basis of the ethical system advocated by authors mentioned in
the margin. There are at present two contending schools of Morality.
Each tries to determine what is 'good' or 'bad', and sets up a
'standard' or test by which men's actions should be judged as 'right' or
'wrong'. The standard according to the one school is Happiness (the
surplus of pleasure over pain); according to the other it is Perfection
(the fullest development of men as social beings). I think the latter
school is more in favour now than it was at the end of the last century.
Men of science now-a-days realize with Herbert Spencer that every one
ought to develop himself by freely exercising all the powers of his mind
and body to the fullest extent consistent with, and limited by, the
_like_ exercise by his fellow men.[57] I cannot expatiate on this
subject without entering into the realms of philosophy and metaphysics.
I have only to say that the teaching of Islam as regards
self-development is in entire accord with the views of latter-day

If you are a student of Ethics you will observe that the doctrine of
"making the most of oneself" (Perfection) is, in accordance with the
Islamic principle of Moderation, the mean of two extreme doctrines:--the
doctrine of "duty for duty's sake" (Rigourism) on the one hand, and the
doctrine of "the greatest happiness of the greatest number"
(Utilitarianism) on the other.


I have to add that "self-perfection" really means "self-help," = due
exercise of one's faculties with patience and perseverance. If you have
not read Dr. Smiles' book on Self-help, you had better read it at your
earliest convenience. I can recommend no better commentary on the
saying: "God helps those who help themselves."[58]

+Note 10.+

_Moderation and Via Media._

Islam[59] is, so to speak, the youngest of all the great religions that
are now professed by millions of people. Like a child who is heir to all
the mental and physical tendencies inherited and acquired by his
ancestors, Islam inherited all the revelations which "one hundred and
eighty thousand" (_i.e._ innumerable) prophets had communicated to the
world before the advent of Muhammad. I have already referred to the
injunction, contained in the Qur'an, that we should believe not only
what was revealed to Muhammad himself, but also what was revealed to all
"Messengers of God" who had come before him; provided always that we
have authentic records of those revelations.[60] (This proviso is very
important.) It is therefore no detraction from the merits of Islam that
some of its doctrines resemble those of other revealed religions. Parsis
say that Islam borrowed: [Arabic: bi-smi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm] "In
the name of God the most merciful and most compassionate"[61] from their
holy scripture, Zendavesta, which begins with the words [Persian: ba nam
eezad ba bakh sha-inda bakhs ha bikasr meher ban gar.] Some Christian
writers on Islam seem to take delight in pointing out that the Prophet
of Arabia borrowed this, that, and the other doctrine from certain
Christians and Jews whom he had met in his earlier life. It is very
doubtful whether he had ever met such people. But it is certain that he
was too illiterate [Arabic: ummī] to understand their recondite
doctrines if they had condescended to teach him. Even if we admit that
he borrowed doctrines from other religions, his own religion is not
thereby rendered the less valuable; for there is no religion which is
_absolutely_ original. He never denounced former religions but only
claimed to have confirmed and supplemented them by the religion revealed
to him. He always referred to "former revelations" with great respect.

Muslims picture the Supreme Truth as a beautiful citadel built on the
top of a steep mountain. Different religions are but so many paths
[Arabic: madhāhib] leading to it from different directions. In their
estimation Islam is the best and the easiest path of all. This fanciful
idea implies that some of the paths might cross each other at different
parts of their course, and others might run parallel to one another or
even run together for a considerable distance. Many religions may
therefore have certain doctrines bearing close resemblance to each other
like parallel paths. Some religions may even have certain doctrines in
common, like paths running together. All religions are, and purport to
be, paths leading to one and the same citadel of Truth.[72] None the
less has each of them an individuality of its own and a claim that it is
better and easier than all others.[73]


_Principle of Moderation._

I have prefaced this Note with the above remarks because the Principle
of Moderation and the connected Maxim of the Mean, which are indicated
in the third and last part of the Sura, were enunciated by Plato
[Arabic: Flatun] and his disciple Aristotle [Arabic: Aristo] who lived
more than 1,000 years before Muhammad. Some Muslims count those great
sages of ancient Greece among the innumerable (180,000) Messengers of
God who preceded our Prophet.[74] The records[75] [Arabic: sahaif] of
their sayings possess an authority second only to that of the Qur'an
itself, being in fact revelations which God vouchsafed from time to time
for the benefit and guidance of mankind.

1. I need not repeat what I have already said as to 'the Path of Grace'
[Arabic: ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭa l-mustaqīma] being the _mean_ between two
_extremes_, 'the Path of Sin' [Arabic: ġayri l-maġḍūbi ʿalayhim] and
'the Path of Error' [Arabic: wa-lā ḍ-ḍāllīn]. I may however explain that
the pursuit of the Path of Grace implies the Principle of Moderation in
the sense that we should fully and freely exercise all our mental and
physical powers _with due regard to their respective limitations_. For
all practical purposes, you may take Reason, Passion and Action as the
principal representatives of a man's powers, and view Reason as the
guiding force in his constitution, Passion as the moving force, and
Action (voluntary acts and omissions) as the resultant of the guiding
and moving forces thus:--

           Y ------------------------------------ P
            /                              _.-' /
         . /                   ary)    _.-'    /
        n /                 unt    _.-'       /
       o / ^ (Guide)    (Vol   _.-'          /
      s / /         ion    _.-'             /
     a / /       Act   _.-'                /
    e / /          _.-'  ant)             /
   R / /       _.-'   ult                /
    /      _.-'   (Res                  /
   /   _.-'                            /
  /_.-'        ---> Passion.          /
 O------------------------------------ X

Now, the Principle of Moderation means simply that you should not allow
your passions to influence your actions unduly, nor should you allow
your reason to control your passions unduly; but you should ever try to
hold the balance even between them in order that the resultant action
might be quite right--might discharge the three-fold duty of man,--and
might thereby tend (be it in ever so small a degree) to the perfection
of the individual and the race. If at any time your passion over-rides
your reason, you commit Sin; and on the contrary, if you exercise your
reason so much as to stifle your passion altogether, you fall into
Error. If you permit neither reason, nor passion to discharge their
respective functions, you lapse into Inaction which is again an Error.
Undue suppression of Passion, and over-exercise of Reason, as well as
non-exercise of both--militate against the Principle of Moderation, the
essence of which is (as Aristotle pointed out) that no power should
tyrannize over any other in our constitution.

What is "due" or "undue" exercise of a power, is a question which your
common sense should decide in each case with reference to the person
acting and the circumstances under which he acts. The only general rule
that can be laid down is implied in the ideal of perfection explained in
the previous Notes. Every exercise of any of your mental or bodily power
is right or wrong according as it does, or does not, tend to the
perfection of yourselves or your offspring, and your community or race.

I have only to add that the Principle of Moderation, in the form in
which I have roughly described it, is fully recognized by such
up-to-date writers on the Science of Ethics as Sir Leslie Stephen, one
of the two talented Editors of the Dictionary of National Biography.

_Maxim of the Mean or Average._

2. Addressing Muslims the Qur'an says:--

  [Arabic: wa-ka-ḏālika ǧaʿalnākum ʾummatan wasaṭan li-takūnū
  šuhadāʾa ʿalā n-nās]

  "We have thus made you a middle nation (= a moderate
  people) in order that you should be an example to
  mankind."--i. 137.

One of the ways in which God has made Muslims a moderate people is by
enjoining them to avoid extreme courses of action and to adopt the
middle or the mean course whenever and wherever it is possible[76].

The Maxim of the Mean is the objective counter-part of the subjective
Principle of Moderation. The latter says: Don't over--, or
under-exercise any of your faculties; and the former says: Don't have
too much or too little of any thing. Too much of any thing is good for
nothing. Too little of it is worse than nothing. "Too much" and "too
little" are relative terms and signify nothing by themselves. It is only
with reference to oneself and one's environment at any particular time
and place that they acquire a meaning as "excess" and "defect"
respectively. I cannot explain it better than give a few instances in a
tabular form where the "mean" comes between the "excess" and the
"defect" of a quality of the head or heart, or a course of action.

(1) Qualities of the Head (Reason):--

  _Excess.        Mean.            Defect._

  Caution         Prudence         Neglect
  Doubt           Conviction       Uncertainty
  Conceit         Modesty          Diffidence
  Sensitive       Attentive        Indifferent

(2) Qualities of the Heart (Passions):--

  Cowardice       Courage          Rashness
  Sensuality      Temperance       Abstinence
  Bigot           Enthusiastic     Lukewarm

(3) Courses of Action:--

  Restriction     Liberty          Licence
  Flattery        Courtesy         Rudeness
  Favouritism     Justice          Injustice
  Prodigal        Generous         Miserly

You will find out for yourself what are the appropriate qualities or
courses of conduct, of which the excess, mean and defect are expressed
by the words given above. Fear, for example, is the feeling of which
excess is Cowardice and defect is Rashness, while the mean is Courage.
Similarly as regards one's own opinion of one's powers, excess is
Conceit and defect is Diffidence, while the mean is Modesty. Again too
much or too little restraint on action is Restriction or Licence while
the mean is Liberty.

It will be a useful exercise to make a long list of such words as
express the difference of _degrees_ of the various qualities or
functions of Reason, Passion and Action (= Knowledge, Feeling and Will.)
But it will _not_ always be possible to find three contrasted words,
like those in the table, for every quality or action; because no
language is so perfect as to have separate and single words to express
the immense number and manifold shades of ideas which our mind is
capable of entertaining. Still the fact is duly recognized by modern
Science that there are differences not only of kind but also of degree
in everything--ideas, feelings, desires, actions, objects and attributes
of objects--with which we are concerned. Although you may not have a
word expressive of degree in every case, yet you can _practically_
ascertain the extremes and the mean in all cases without exception, and
can so order your conduct as to avoid the one and adopt the other in
all cases. I may point out here that "_the Mean_" is not the
"arithmetical mean" (like 6½ which is the arithmetical mean of 5 and
8) but only _an approximately medium or middle course of conduct--via
media_.[77] [Arabic: khair ul umūr ausatuha]

You may object that, since the ascertainment of the mean in each case
requires calm thought with reference to yourself and your environment,
the rule is too difficult to follow in these days of quick
communication, speedy locomotion, and urgent action. I answer that it is
but an _ideal_ rule of conduct. Like all rules of Logic (Thought),
Æsthetics (Beauty), or Ethics (Conduct), it sets before you an ideal
which you should ever strive to attain though you may not attain it
fully at any time. No thinker may have been absolutely logical, no
Artist may have wrought a perfect work of beauty, and no man may have
ever been quite moral. But that is no reason why thinkers, artists, and
men generally, should not endeavour to attain perfection in their
respective spheres of thought and action.

There is a further and greater objection to the rule of the middle
course, _viz._, that, if followed strictly, it will reduce all men to a
dead level of mediocrity, and will not foster the development of men of
genius. I have to admit regretfully that such will be the case, and, as
my next Note will show, it will be in accordance with a Law of Nature
recently discovered. Some writers have even attempted to prove that
_genius_ or excessive intelligence is a form of madness as bad as its
opposite form, _imbecility_ or defective intelligence. They seem to
believe that only the men of average intelligence are quite sane.

  Great wits are sure to madness near allied
  And thin partitions do their bounds divide.--_Dryden_.

The late Sir John Gorst created a sensation when he declared in the
House of Commons that great countries were governed by mediocrities

  The world knows nothing of its greatest men.--_Sir H.

+Note 11.+

_Evolution and Survival._

It was Adolphe Quetelet, Astronomer-Royal of Belgium, who in the
seventies of the last century attempted to prove that "_the average man
is to a nation what the centre of gravity is to a body_." A similar, if
not quite the same, conclusion has since been reached by Sir Francis
Galton and Professor Karl Pearson in their researches into men's
physical and intellectual qualities in the light of Darwin's theory of
Natural Selection or Survival of the Fittest. This theory which, in its
more extended form, is called the Law of Evolution, has profoundly
influenced, if not entirely revolutionized, the Science and Philosophy
of our own times. It has _not_ however succeeded, as was at first
feared, in destroying men's belief in God, the Creator and Ruler of the
Universe. For it has done no more than disclose but a few of the
numerous ways in which He creates and rules.

I have been a student of Evolution Literature ever since I left College.
Speaking for myself I can say that my study of it has not in the least
shaken my belief in God, but has rather strengthened it. I entirely
agree with a popular writer[78] on "the Scientific Ideas of To-day," who

  "True Science does not seek to deprive man of his Soul or
  to drive the Creator from his Universe, but it honestly
  endeavours to study His marvellous works ... to see the
  manner in which He has caused Nature to work out His

The Law of Evolution or the Development Hypothesis, as it has been
called, is in fact a clever guess at truth--very valuable as a formula
which enables us not only to remember the result of numerous
observations and experiments, but also to predict certain events to be
verified by subsequent observations and experiments. It is impossible to
convey a clear idea of it in a few sentences. A great man like Herbert
Spencer spent 50 years of his life in explaining and illustrating it in
no less than ten stout volumes of his "Synthetic Philosophy." The
central idea may however be expressed in the following propositions,
using the word "_thing_" in its widest sense as any object of
perception, or knowable objects[79].

1. Nothing exists absolutely by itself; everything exists in relation
with something else which is its "environment."

2. A thing and its environment cannot exist side by side for any
considerable time without each affecting or influencing the other in
some respects at least: a thing A and its environment B, which cannot
but exist together, must needs act and re-act on each other.


3. The action and re-action of the thing A and its environment B on each
other, brings about mutual adjustment, the fitting of each into the

4. According as this mutual adjustment or fitting is relatively
_complete_ or _incomplete_, there is Evolution or Dissolution, survival
or extinction, of the thing (A) itself.[80]

5. The process of Evolution or Survival is characterized by:--

  (_a_) _Integration_: grouping together of certain
        _like_ units (such as atoms or molecules,
        living cells or individuals) into
        a whole,

  (_b_) _Differentiation_: certain parts (or functions)
        of the aggregated whole becoming
        _unlike_ each other or specialized,

  (_c_) _Adjustment_: fitting of the aggregated
        and differentiated whole into its environment.

6. In the opposite process of Dissolution or Extinction the thing
undergoes the same changes in the reverse order before it disappears as

In other words, given a thing and its environment, the one has to adapt
and adjust itself to the other, or cease to exist. Nothing survives, as
an individual, which does not change. Like a picture in its setting, a
thing has to _fit_ itself to its environment in order that it might
survive for the best advantage of itself and its kind. Thus, the _fit_
lives and the _unfit_ dies[81]. As the Qur'an expresses it [Arabic:
ʾanna l-ʾarḍa yariṯuhā ʿibādiya ṣ-ṣālihūn] "the Earth is inherited by
only the fit among My creatures."[82] This applies not only to plants
and animals, man and society, but also to inanimate or inorganic things,
as the President of the British Association announced some years ago.

A man, for example, has for his environment, the atmosphere of the place
he inhabits, the society he lives in, the occupation he follows, the
laws he obeys, etc. He can live long and happily only when the qualities
of his body and mind befit him to that environment, _i.e._, when they
enable him (to become [Arabic: salih]) to adapt himself continuously to
the circumstances of his position. What, then, is the general nature of
such qualities?

You know that one of the best methods of Science is Measurement. No
scientific knowledge is exact unless it enables you not only to
distinguish one quality from another, but also to measure each quality
or determine its degrees in some way or other. It is not sufficient to
know hot from cold but the degrees of temperature must be measured by a

The new methods of Statistics and graphic representation have been
applied to a large number of men and women for the purpose of finding
"the fittest" qualities or "characters" as they are technically called.
Professor Karl Pearson[83] and others have thus found that among a large
number of men and women in a given community any physical or mental
character which deviates largely, by excess or defect, from the mean or
average, renders them the less fit to survive the struggle for
existence. _Individuals possessing any character which deviates
extremely from the mean tend to disappear_. For example, the average
height of men has been found by measurement of a large number of people
to be (say) 5ft. 6in. and it has also been found by statistical methods
that men who are 7ft. or men who are only 3ft. are very rare. It is
therefore concluded that men who are too tall or too short _i.e._, who
deviate extremely from the mean, tend to disappear and are therefore
_unfit_ to survive.

This is only a rough and ready example of what is called the Law of
Periodic Selection which has now superseded the Belgian philosopher's
Law of the Average (or "the Mean"). It applies to human conduct as well
as to human qualities. That conduct alone (_i.e._, only that particular
course of deliberate action) befits a man to his environment, which
deviates the least from a standard or average of such conduct. It is the
indispensable condition of his happiness and longevity.

You thus see that the Islamic Maxim of the Mean is justified by

+Note 12.+

_Religion begins with the fear of the Lord and
ends in the love of Man.[84]_

Let me devote this concluding Note to a few general remarks. The
meanings and definitions of certain words given below are somewhat
arbitrary, but I trust they will enable you to understand and remember
certain abstruse matters.


(_a_) Take the word "thing" to mean any object of thought, such as, for
example, a house, a labourer, redness, distance, home, charity,
eloquence, or the British Constitution. All these are _things_ which you
can think of.

(_b_) You may then define a "fact" as a known or knowable thing or
relation between things; in other words, a _fact_ is any thing or
relation, which you know or can know if you take the necessary trouble.

(_c_) The word "Nature", with a capital N, is but a name for the
sum-total of all facts known and knowable. Poets, philosophers, and even
some men of Science, personify this sum-total of facts known and
knowable, _i.e._, _Nature_ and refer to it as "she" or "her". It is but
a convenient way of saying, by implication, that there is the same
uniformity, continuity and unity in Nature as in our idea of a person.

Now, all thinking men of all ages of history have ever tried to
understand Nature as a whole and to answer regarding her three important
questions represented by three interrogatives, what? how? and why?

  (1) _What_ is Nature? = What are the facts
      which constitute Nature. (Knowledge
      of Nature).

  (2) _How_ has Nature come to be what she is?
      = How is it that facts constituting
      Nature have become as we perceive
      them? (Explanation of Nature).

  (3) _Why_ is Nature as she is and not otherwise?
      = Why is it that facts constituting
      Nature have a certain uniformity
      (order) continuity and unity in spite of
      changes that take place continuously?
      (Reason of Nature).

Broadly speaking, I may say that Science (with its various departments
called "Sciences") tries to answer the first question _what_, the
question as to _facts_ of Nature. Philosophy tries to answer the second
question _how_, the question as to the _explanation_ of Nature. Religion
or Theology (which includes highest Poetry) tries to answer the third
and last question _why_, the question as to the _reason_ of Nature. You
may thus clearly remember the respective provinces of Science,
Philosophy and Religion by remembering three words What, How and Why.
When you read a book which treats of facts or the _what_ of Nature; or
of the explanation or the _how_ of her; or of the reason or the _why_ of
her; you may be sure it is Science, Philosophy or Religion respectively
that you are reading, whatever be the name of the book itself.

I have said that Science, Philosophy or Religion "_tries_ to answer" and
not "answers", because the answer of any of them can never be final or
immutable. None of them can ever reach finality. As the experience of
mankind grows continuously, new facts or new phases of old facts are
discovered in the course of time. Just as men have to adapt or adjust
themselves to new facts (or to changes in old facts) or else die; so
men's Science, Philosophy and Theology have to adjust themselves to new
facts or else become empty nothings.[85]


I have often said that I believe Islam to be the best religion because
(so far as I know) it accords best with the current ideas of Science. If
you accept my view of the respective provinces of Science, Philosophy,
and Religion, you can easily comprehend that a Religion like Islam
which purports to expound the reason _why_ of Nature must needs
correspond with the _what_ (Science) as well as with the _how_
(Philosophy) of Nature. The three great divisions of Human Thought--I
mean, Science, Philosophy and Religion--are necessarily connected with
one another, as otherwise they cannot make up _the whole Universe of
Human Thought_ and cannot satisfy men's craving for complete and
consistent knowledge.


The Law of Evolution which I mentioned in the previous Note is but a
Theory of Creation, an explanation of _how_ Nature has come to be what
she is. New facts which future ages may discover may prove the theory to
be either right or wrong. At present it is the best hypothesis--the best
guess--because it accords best with known facts. It acts as a guide to
knowable facts as well. It has shown that men cannot progress, indeed
cannot long survive, if they fail to adapt themselves to the
circumstances of their position, if they fail to fit into their
environment which surrounds them like an envelope. Ceaseless change is
the order of Nature. Continuous adaptation is the law of life.
_Adaptability_ is therefore the _sine qua non_ of men's life and
existence. The religion which suits them must also have the quality of
adaptability. I hold Islam has this quality in an eminent degree and is
therefore the most suitable religion.

Please remember that I speak of Islam as taught by the Qur'an itself and
not "Muhammadanism" as professed by _some_ so-called followers of the
Prophet. You have to interpret the Qur'an[86] quite naturally as any
other book or historic document, but not in the way in which _some_
Muhammadans do it with the aid of marvellous fictions and miraculous
traditions. Islam has to resist (to use a big word) the
_anthropomorphic_ tendency of the human mind, _viz._, the tendency to
view abstract _qualities_ or agencies as persons having a separate
existence as individual beings.


I have said that there is no inherent antagonism between Christianity
and Islam _if_ and _when_ the sayings and doings of the founders of each
are rightly viewed and understood in a simple and natural manner.
Muhammad never ceased saying that he had come to attest and complete the
mission of Jesus and his predecessors, who were God's messengers like
himself.[87] The greatest and the best rule of human conduct which Jesus
laid down was: "Love thy neighbour as thyself".

You remember the well-known lines of Burns:

  O wad some power the giftie gie us
  To see oursels as others see us.

The gift which the poet prays for is vouchsafed to very few mortals.
Almost all of us have naturally, and often unconsciously, such a high
opinion of ourselves that, even if we would, we could not see ourselves
as others see us. The next best thing that we can do is, therefore, _to
see others as we see ourselves_, to cherish the same regard for others
as we instinctively cherish for ourselves. If (to take an extreme case
for example) we cannot detest ourselves as others sometimes detest or
hate us, we can at least try to love others as we love ourselves, "try
to do unto others as we wish that others should do unto us". Thus the
rule: "Love thy neighbour as thyself", is quite consistent with human
nature and is the most comprehensive rule of conduct which has ever been
laid down for the guidance of mankind. To my mind there is no better
proof of the identity in spirit of Christianity and Islam than the
confirmation of Christ's command by Muhammad himself.

  No-one will be a faithful          |
  Muslim until he loves his          | [Arabic: La yu'minu ahdakum hatta
  neighbour as he loves himself.     |  yuhibbu li ma yajib nafsahu]

For this reason, I believe that there is no difference between the two
religions _if_ the metaphysical doctrines engrafted on both be
eliminated. _True Islam is but true Christianity writ short._[88] Both
recognize that the source of virtue is love,

  For love is Heaven and Heaven is love.


_We are indebted to Mr. J.C. Molony for the following illuminating
criticism which affords food for serious thought--Editor._

If we assume the existence of a God, interested in the governance of
this world, it becomes impossible to deny that Muhammad was God's
messenger, or, at least, God's prophet. It seems to me unlikely that a
man could change the belief of nations by chance, incredible that he
should do so were he an impostor. Muhammad was certainly honest; the
persistence of the faith called after him leads me to consider him as
inspired. Or, if "inspired" be objected to as a general religious term
of very indefinite meaning, let us say that he saw into the heart and
reality of life further and more clearly than any man has done since his
day. How then comes the fact, noted by Amjad and Mahmood and admitted by
you, that Islamic countries in the main have wretched governments, and
are crumbling away before Christian Powers? I do not think that you have
answered this question[89]. You have merely pointed out that Islam, if
rightly understood, is an excellent religion.

The boys, I think, have stated their dilemma too sharply; the contrast
is not entirely between Islam and Christianity. India is for all
practical purposes a "Hindu" country, and the power of the old Indian
Kingdoms has faded before Christian invaders. In that section of the
world in which Christianity is the prevailing and accepted form of
religious belief, the temporal might of those nations professing one
great form of the Christian creed, the Roman Catholic, has undoubtedly
waned in comparison with that of the nations professing what is
generally called the Protestant faith. There are many varieties of
non-Roman Catholic Christianity, but Protestantism is a label
sufficiently comprehensive and sufficiently well understood for our
purposes. I speak without sectarian bitterness; I am not, I fear, a
convinced adherent of any particular form of religious faith. I have met
many good men, and have many friends, among Muhammadans, Hindus, and
Roman Catholics. But I think that the objective truth of what I say,
particularly in the Christian sphere, is indubitable. Compare for
instance the decay of Spain with the grandeur of England, the feebleness
of Austria with the strength and order (turned to ill uses though they
may be) of Germany.[90] The question at once arises whether religion
has anything to say to the matter. I think that it has.

Muhammadanism, Hinduism, and Catholicism (I omit the prefix Roman) have
concerned themselves too much with Heaven and Hell, with the avoidance
of future damnation and the obtaining of future bliss. These religions
have afforded some justification for the gibe that Auguste Comte
levelled at Christianity; he said that it sprang from "a servile terror
and an immense cupidity." Religion should be rather _a guide of life
here_ than _a guide to a life to come_. Kant would have curtailed the
beatitude "blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" into
"blessed are the pure in heart". It is good to be good; it is not good
to be good in the hope of some ultimate gain thereby.[91] The great
Catholic Bishop of Pondicherry, Monseigneur Bonnand, wrote to one of his
desponding priests: "Continue a missionary to the end, and you will
assuredly be saved". In my opinion he was wrong; I should think little
of a missionary, whether Christian or Muhammadan, who endured the trials
of a missionary life (and some of those old French priests did endure
abundantly) solely in the hope of making a personal, albeit spiritual
and eternal, profit at the end of it all.

Now, "Bishop Blougram", a character created by the poet Browning, though
supposedly inspired by the personality of Cardinal Wiseman, says in his

  There's one great form of Christian faith
  I happened to be born in--which to teach
  Was given me as I grew up, on all hands
  As best and readiest means of living by.

The same, I fear, might now be said of Muhammadanism. But to my mind
there is no fixity, no absolute truth in any form of religious dogma.
Religion is a thing that must grow with man's intelligence; it is not a
box of spiritual truths packed once and for ever, and unpacked for the
gaze of successive generations. It is not enough to believe in certain
facts that happened long ago, or to obey certain injunctions given long
ago in a particular country; we must apply the spirit of a religion to
the circumstances in which we live. We shall never attain to final
absolute truth, "the end is not yet, and the purposes of God to man are
but half revealed" (Jowett).

Unfortunately when any religion has taken itself as final it has
developed a priesthood, and that priesthood has been apt to lay down a
code of fixed rules wherewith alone compliance is required. It is a
fatally easy thing to live in conformity with any definite code of
rules. Muhammad himself, I imagine, was a singularly liberal
theologian. He laid down certain regulations for the conduct of life,
excellent considering his place and time; the modern Muhammadan has
accepted these as a maximum spiritual demand, ignoring the fact that
they probably represented the minimum demands of common sense in
Muhammad's time and country.

Muhammad directed that a Muhammadan should not drink alcohol. This is a
maxim of excellent sense in Arabia; Haji Burton, who much appreciated
good wine, has told us that in the Arabian deserts wine is positively
distasteful as well as unwholesome. I have not the least desire that
Muhammadans should drink wine. I merely say that there is no _merit_,
other than that of common sense, in obeying this excellent instruction
in countries wherein circumstances render it excellent. I do not believe
that Muhammad would find the least fault with disregard of his maxim in
countries where the climate makes the _moderate_ drinking of wine both
pleasant and beneficial.

Muhammad instituted the Ramzan fast, mainly, I am told, to harden his
soldiers. But the Muhammadan of to-day finds a positive merit in
fasting. There is none; else the jockey's profession comprises the most
virtuous men in the world.

Muhammad permitted polygamy, and enjoined the practical seclusion of
women. This, as Sir Syed Ahmad has pointed out, was the counsel of
common sense in Arabia at the time of the Prophet. Apparently there were
more women than men, and if a woman was not under the protection of some
man, and was not under guard, she was very likely to come to harm. But I
do not think that this counsel holds good for all time. Polygamy among
Indian Muhammadans is dying out, but the general Muhammadan here still
imprisons his womankind in the comfortable assurance that he is thereby
paving his own way to salvation. I do not see much hope for the physical
and mental development of Muhammadans so long as one half of the people
remains in seclusion and ignorance, in a habit of life necessarily
unhealthy. If you observe that you thereby escape the evils that are
published to the world in European divorce courts, I would answer that
in the first place I doubt the completeness of your escape, (it is a
matter on which I have heard much sardonic comment from Muslim friends),
and that in the second place, even granting what you say, 80% of women
free, educated, virtuous and healthy, is a far better result than 100%
merely virtuous, and that by constraint.

Muhammad laid down that a man should pray five times a day. To my mind
this was merely the Prophet's way of saying that man's whole life should
be a prayer: the modern Muhammadan too often "repeats prayers" five
times a day and is satisfied. He might as well repeat the multiplication
table five times a day. "Words without thoughts to Heaven never go" said
the king in _Hamlet_. I do not know if our friend D.B. prays ten times a
day, or five times, or not at all, and (candidly) I do not care. All I
know is that in his responsible position he would die rather than take a
bribe, tell a lie, intrigue against his master. And I fancy that the
Prophet, could he return to earth, would find this abundantly

You mention a few other points of orthodoxy; the cut of one's hair, the
length of one's trousers. Dr. Khaja Hussain told me that he once saw a
Muhammadan Street aroused to frenzy and riot by the appearance of a true
believer in Feringhi (or Kafir) boots. It is all of a piece. Muhammadans
have concentrated their attention on these ready-made rules for getting
to heaven; their prophet found no such easy road to bliss. I do not
imagine that it would ever have occurred to his great soul to claim any
particular merit in that he did not drink wine, in that he repeated
prayers (he at least understood these prayers) five times a day, in that
he did not let his wives roam the country a prey to any marauder of
those wild times. After all any one can obey these regulations with very
little trouble to himself; it is not quite so easy to adopt the spirit
that guided Muhammad's life. Sir Afsur, I do not doubt, will tell you
that it is an advisable thing for a soldier to drill smartly, to keep
his arms and accoutrements clean, and that with a little trouble it is
not difficult for a soldier to do all this. But he will tell you, I feel
sure, that this is far from being all; the supreme duty of a soldier is
to be brave in battle--an affair of much more difficulty. A soldier may
be smart and clean, but if he fails in battle his smartness and
cleanness are worth nothing--he is a bad soldier.

Muhammadanism has lost touch with life; it contents itself with the
letter of the Prophet's teaching and shuts its eyes to, does not search
for, the indwelling spirit. It is a small kernel rattling in a very big
shell, as Charles Kingsley said in "Yeast" of the Church service at St.
Paul's in the fifties of the last century. _Religion has been divorced
from life, and so the followers of Islam as nations have decayed._

It is the same with the other religions that I have mentioned. The old
time Brahmin called himself such because he was educated, intelligent,
sanitary in his habits, upright; he did not claim to be all this simply
because he was the son of his father. The great obstacle to progress
down here is the fact that people imagine it is sufficient to follow in
a mechanical unintelligent way the letter, while totally disregarding
the spirit, of some old and after all not very important rules. Ireland
is said to have been an "Isle of Saints", I have my doubts on the
subject, but suppose it so. It is now full of fine churches and
religious establishments; no people in the world go to church with
greater regularity, abstain more thoroughly from meat on Fridays, etc.
etc. But with the mechanical observances they are, I fear, too well
satisfied. Drunkenness, idleness, utter disregard for truth, are rampant
in Southern Ireland, and therefore Southern Ireland is what it is.
Formal devotion is no substitute whether in the daily battle of the
world, or (I believe) in the ultimate judgment of God, for the proper
ordering of one's every day actions.

If Muhammadans breathe the breath of life on the dry bones of their
religion I see no reason why the temporal power of Islamic countries and
the spiritual strength of the Muhammadan Church should not revive.
Something of the kind has happened in France. Zola cried out against
"the nightmare of Catholicism"; antagonism to the Catholic Church had
been growing up long before M. Combes started to "strafe" the religious
establishments of the country. The orthodox imagined that France was
losing all religion: Auguste Comte, an unbeliever, proclaimed that
France was daily becoming more religious. Rènè Bazin, a Catholic writer,
implicitly admits that Comte was right. The people were sick of the dry,
lifeless, formal rules that were offered to them; the priesthood have
had this truth hammered into them, and they are quickening their formulæ
with life to fit the life of the people, not striving to dessicate the
people's life to fit their formulæ.


As a _socio-political institution_ Islam is, in the middle of its
fourteenth century (1340 A.H.), in the same vicissitudes of development,
as Christianity was in the middle of _its_ fourteenth century (1350
A.D.)--an institution weakened by contending sects and rendered stagnant
by rigid formalism. "It is a dispensation of providence", says Syed
Ameer Ali, "that whenever a religion becomes reduced to formalism
cross-currents set in to restore spiritual vitality." As in Christianity
in its fourteenth century, so in Islam of our own times, the vitalising
cross-currents have set in and we are now witnessing a Muslim
Renaissance all over the world. Its pioneers in India were Sir Syed
Ahmad, Mowlana Shibli, and the poet Hali. The Rt. Hon. Ameer Ali, Dr.
Iqbal and a host of others bear aloft the New Light. The Muslim
Reformation is coming on as surely as the Christian Reformation came in
the wake of Patristicism and Formalism. It need not necessarily mean
Political Revolutions as in Europe.


            OUR PRAYER.


  All praise is due to Thee, O God!
  None other than Thee we adore.
  Thou art the Master of the Worlds,
  Thine aid alone do we implore.


  Thou art Compassion; lead Thou on
  To Thy right path our human race.
  Thy Mercy floweth evermore,
  Do guide us to the path of Grace.


  Thou art the Lord of Judgment-day,
  For sure shall all be judged by Thee,
  O keep us off the path of Sin
  And Error's way. So mote it be!

  _Abdur Rahim._


  [1] Translated by Mushtari Begum of Bejnor and
  published in the _Islamic Review_ April 1916.

  [2] This was written in 1917.

  [3] By the word "best" I mean "the most suitable
  for both the spiritual and material needs of man." I do
  not wish to cast any reflection on any other religion. See
  Note 7.

  [4] I make a difference between Islam and Muhammadanism.
  The latter is not pure Islam. It has forgotten the
  _spirit_ of Islam and remembers only the _letter_ of its
  law. "The dry bones of a religion are nothing; the spirit
  that quickens the bones is all." See Note 5.

  [5] There is no place in Islam for either priests
  or monks. Yet the Muhammadanism of to-day has both. There
  are Tartuffes and Pecksniffs in this religion as well as
  in any other religion.

  [6] This is the real reason of the political and
  social weakness of most Islamic countries of our own

  [7] The teaching of Muhammad has been admirably
  summarised by a Christian writer as follows:--

    "There is no deity but God. He created the Universe and
    rules it with love and mercy. He alone is to be
    worshipped; in Him confidence is to be placed in time of
    adversity. There must be no murmurings at His decrees;
    life--your own and others dearer than your own--must be
    placed in His hands in trust and love."

  I do not believe that there is any monotheistic religion
  in the world which will dissent from this teaching. The
  writer (in the _Harmsworth Encyclopedia_) goes on to

    "The fatalism which has come to be regarded as part of the
    Moslem creed had no place in the system established by
    Muhammad who again and again distinctly and emphatically
    repudiated the idea. Muhammad taught _reform_, not

  In these days of political unrest I cannot impress on you
  too strongly the meaning of the last sentence in which I
  have italicised two words.

  [8] See p. 33 para. 6.

  [9] The Author has not kept copies of these

  [10] The Qur'an speaks very highly of Jesus:--

  [Arabic: smuhu lmasīḥu ʾīsā bnu maryama waǧīhan fī d-dunyā
  wa-l-ʾāḫirati wa-mina l-muqarrabīn]

  "His name is Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, illustrious
  both in this and in the next world. He is one of those who
  have near access to God."--iii. 40.

  [11] Published and sold by the Rationalistic Press, London
  for 6d.

  [12] The translation of the Sura in this analysis is
  slightly different from that given in the succeeding

  [13] "It is strange": says Havelock Ellis, "men seek to
  be, or to seem, atheists, agnostics, cynics, pessimists;
  at the core of all these things lurks religion.... The men
  who have most finely felt the pulse of the world and have,
  in their turn, most effectively stirred its pulse, are
  religious men."--_New Spirit, 228._

  [14] The word "religion" also means a system of beliefs
  and rites pertaining to them. I do not use the word in
  that sense here.

  [15] _i.e._, the world such as we perceive and conceive

  [16] "I know that even the unaided reason, when correctly
  exercised, leads to a belief in God, in the immortality of
  the soul, and in a future retribution"--_Cardinal Newman._

  [17] Prof. Scott Elliot at the end of his book,
  _Prehistoric Man_ (p. 381) writes thus: "It seems true
  that almost every race of man is not only capable of
  believing in a Supreme God but, so far as the evidence
  goes, did reverence one God who was often also thought of
  as the Creator of the Sky or of the World.... There is a
  very strong body of evidence showing that every race of
  mankind possessed quite early in its development a feeling
  of awe and reverence towards an Unknown God."

  [18] There are at present three missionary religions in
  the world--religions which were intended and designed by
  their respective founders to unite all men without any
  distinction into a Universal Brotherhood.

    (1) Buddhism asserts that God is Law or Wisdom.

    (2) Islam teaches that God is Energy or Power.

    (3) Christianity says that God is Father or Love.

  But all these religions inculcate in fact one and the same
  Truth in its three aspects, as Muslim Sufis would say. I
  believe the gist of doctrines held by them is that God is
  Omnipotent _Energy_ manifesting itself uniformly as _Law_
  and operating benevolently as _Love_.

    Wisdom = Power = Love.

  You should try to solve the equation for yourself. You
  will not fail to understand it if you think hard.

  [19] Here again taking the three missionary religions
  mentioned above, the Identity is:--

    Creator = Preserver = Adjuster.

  God said unto Moses, _I am that I am_--_Exodus, iii, 14._

  [20] Some Sufis define Nature as Individual _plus_ his
  Environment. By _individual_ they mean any one capable of
  thinking of himself as "I" or "Me" and every thing else as
  "not I" or "not me" which is his _environment_.

  [21] It may be said that all the three ideas of God's
  relation with Nature (the three "isms" I have mentioned in
  brackets) are but different _degrees_ of a man's desire
  for communion with his God. Says Rumi in his celebrated
  _Masnavi_: "All religions are in substance one and the
  same"--Bk. iii, story 12 (St. Daqúqi).

  [22] See last para. of Note 4 and also Note 10. [Arabic:
  at ṭuruq li-llah-i bi ḥis-bil anfus] There are as many
  ways leading to God as there are minds.

  [23] "Religion places the human soul in the presence of
  its highest ideal (=God), it lifts it above the level of
  ordinary goodness, and produces at least a yearning after
  a higher and better life in the light of God."--_Max

  [24] Sura = Chapter.

  [25] Absolute = not conditioned by place time measure or
  circumstances. Infinite = without beginning or end.

   [26] "The proper name of the religion preached by Muhammad
  is Islam."--Sale

  [27] The word "Islam" means literally (1) resignation (2)
  preservation and (3) peace. Lord Tennyson has most
  admirably expressed the Islamic ideal of self-surrender to
  the will of God and has incidentally decided the vexed
  question of free-will in a single line:--

    "_Our wills are ours to make them Thine._"

  [28] By Christians in European countries.

  [29] "The proper name of the religion preached by Muhammad
  is Islam"--_Sale_. See p. 37.

  [30] I use the word in the restricted sense of "Islam as
  taught by Muhammad." If you take Islam to mean belief in
  one God and virtuous conduct in life, you may say that
  there has not been and will never be any true religion
  besides Islam. In this sense Islam is the only true
  religion. See p. 27, last para. of Note 2 p. 19, and of
  this Note pp. 33, 34.

  [31] "A man must not do reverence to his own sect or
  disparage that of another man without reason. Deprecation
  should be for specific reasons only, because the sects of
  other people all deserve reverence for one reason or
  other. By thus acting, a man exalts his own sect, and at
  the same time does service to the sects of other people.
  By acting contrariwise, a man hurts his own sect and does
  disservice to the sects of other people."--King Asoka's
  _Edict XII_.

  "Every sect favourably regards him who is faithful to its
  precepts, and, in truth, he is to be commended."--Akbar,
  (Ain Akbari III).

  [32] See p. 55.

  [33] Muslim = resigned and submissive, therefore,

  [34] See Foot note [30].

  [35] Compare _the Bhagvat Gita_, iv. 7-8:--

    "Whenever there is decay of righteousness, O Bharata,
    and there is exaltation of unrighteousness, then
    _I myself come forth_;

    For the protection of the good, for the destruction of
    evil-doers, for the sake of firmly establishing
    righteousness, _I am born_ from age to age."

  The words _italicised_ suggest the Hindu doctrine of
  Incarnation and Metempsychosis. Orthodox Muslims do not
  believe in any such doctrine ([Arabic: hulool wa
  it-ti-had]) but would substitute for the italics the
  words: _I send a messenger or reformer._ See, _e.g._,
  Quran, xvi. 36.

  [36] To students of Islam and its history I cannot
  recommend better and more useful books than the Rt. Hon.
  Dr. Syed Ameer Ali's _Spirit of Islam_ and _History of the
  Saracens_. New and revised editions have been recently
  published. They present the various aspects of Islam in
  their proper perspective. They are classics for English

  [37] "Grant the existence of God and it is impossible to
  deny that Muhammad was His Messenger. A man does not
  change the belief of half the world by chance." So wrote a
  Christian friend of mine.

  [38] Muslim = resigned or submissive, therefore, peaceful.

  [39] I mean "goodness and greatness" as a _human being_, for
  Muhammad never said or did anything to show that he was not
  a human being. The Qur'an commanded him, "Say I am a man
  like yourself." [Arabic: qul ʾana bašarun miṯlukum] He
  therefore insisted that men should attach greater importance
  to the nature of the message than to the character of the
  messenger himself. "I am," said he "no more than a man: when
  I order you anything with respect to religion, receive it,
  and when I order you about the affairs of the world then I
  am nothing more than a man."

  [40] "Ahmad" is another name of Muhammad. I have nothing
  to say to those mystics, who, by a reasoning peculiar to
  their doctrines, identify the Messenger (Prophet) with the
  Master (God).

  [41] Nor indeed is Jesus answerable for the Inquisition
  and _autos-da-fe_.

  [42] "These are parables which we have set forth for
  men--Q. xxix. 43.

  [43] [Arabic: yow-mud-dīn] = the day of the Faith = the
  time of Dissolution predicted by Islam as well as by
  Science. Sir Syed Ahmad fully explains the meaning of
  [Arabic: qiya mat-e-kubrā] = Universal Destruction and of
  [Arabic: qiya mat-e-sughrā] = individual destruction,
  (_i.e._, death) from the viewpoint of modern Science.

  [44] As regards miracles, the beliefs that are held do not
  matter so much as the spirit in which they are held. If
  the spirit is right and leads to virtuous conduct in life,
  any reasonable belief will quite do. Here comes in the
  Pragmatism of Islam. It does not object to anything which
  has a _practical value_ unless it is unreasonable,
  immoral, or inconsistent with the Islamic ideas of the
  unity of God and the brotherhood of man.

  [45] "We will soon show them our sign in all horizons (=
  regions) and in their own souls, until it shall become
  quite clear to them that it is the Truth--Qur'an xli 53.

  [Arabic: sa-nurīhim ʾāyātinā fī l-ʾāfāqi wa-fī ʾanfusihim
  ḥattā yatabayyana lahum ʾannahu l-ḥaqqu]

  [46] God's is the East and the West, therefore whichever
  side you turn, you will see the face (= presence) of
  God--Qur'an i. 115.

  [Arabic: wa-li-llāhi l-mašriqu wa-l-maġribu fa-ʾaynamā
  tuwallū fa-ṯamma waǧhu llāhi]

  [47] And He is within you (= in your mind), why don't you
  see Him?--Qur'an li. 21. [Arabic: wa-fī ʾanfusikum ʾa-fa-lā

  [48] Islam must not be confounded with what is called
  "Muhammadanism" which is but an ossified form of Islam,
  clothed in Mediæval beliefs and disfigured by pagan
  practices. See Mr. J.C. Molony's admirable report of the
  Census of the Madras Presidency for 1911, where, quoting
  from the poet Hali's famous _Musaddas_, he describes how
  far Muhammadanism in Southern India has been influenced by
  Hinduism. Read also Hali's excellent pamphlet called
  [Arabic: al-dīnu sarih] "the Simplest Religion" which describes how
  Islam has been "ossified," _i.e._, rendered rigid and

  [49] I know of no religion which does not say, "Do good
  and avoid evil" and I consider it no religion which does
  not say, "Live well and happily."

  [50] Ghalib:

       [Urdu: * Hum ko ma'loom hai jannat ki haqiqat laikin
              * dil kay khoosh rakhnay ko ghalib ye khiyal

  [51] See p. 24 above.

  [52] It supplies the best motive for overcoming the
  perversity of human nature to which St. Paul directs our
  attention in these beautiful words: "The good that I
  would, I do not: and the evil which I would not, I
  do."--Rom. vii. 19.

  [53] Read Draper's "Conflict between Science and Religion"
  which is a historical account of how some scientific ideas
  had to contend with religious prejudices--a book which, by
  the way, disproves the charge that Caliph Omar destroyed
  the great Library at Alexandria.

  [54] God reveals Himself to everybody at every instant of
  his life. It depends entirely on the spirituality or
  spiritual capacity of each individual to what extent he
  knows God and God's ways. The "spiritual capacity" is
  partly inherited from one's ancestors and partly acquired
  by faith and devotion, as well as by right conduct and
  good works.

  [55] [Persian: Neest bar lohe delam joz alefe ghamat yar
  * che konam harf degar yaad nadad ostadam] The _Alif_ of
  the Loved One's form is   engraven on my heart, No other
  letter did my Shaikh ever to me impart--_Hafiz_.

  [56] See Note 2.

  [57] I have neither time nor space to explain the full
  significance of the Qur'anic verses I have quoted here.

  [58] Some would call this Reality, God; but others would
  say that God is greater and higher than the Reality which
  manifests itself in different forms. He is above all that
  any man can think of or imagine. [Arabic: Au bar taraz
  khiyal wa qiyas guman wo waham.]

  [59] Vol. ii. 748. You have to read the book itself to
  understand this. I cannot explain it in a short note.

  [60] I have neither time nor space to explain the full
  significance of the Qur'anic phrases I have mentioned

  [61] "In the world there is nothing so great as man. In
  man there is nothing so great as mind"--_Sir William

  "In the mind of man there is nothing so great as the idea
  of God"--_Islam_.

  [62] This is quite different from the Christian doctrine
  of Atonement.

  [63] It was the spirit of co-operation which Islam
  engendered among wild and unruly Arabs, that enabled them
  to put aside their tribal feuds, to unite and conquer more
  than half the known world in the first century of the
  Hijri era (= the 7th century of the Christian era). It was
  the lack of that spirit in the next two centuries that
  dismembered the Muslim Empire.

  [64] I say "_the_ Islam of our ancestors", because the
  Islam of _some_ of our contemporaries, called
  Muhammadanism, is not quite the same.

  Read Prof. Gregory's _Discovery or the Spirit and Service
  of Science_.

  [65] "Sufis" are those Muslims who claim with Mowlana Rumi

  [Persian: maazey quraan ra badashtaim istekhwan beish
  sagaan andakhtum]

  "We have taken the marrow out of the Qur'an and thrown the
  bones to dogs," meaning by "dogs" those who quarrel over
  words ([Arabic: mutakallimin]) of the sacred texts.

  [66] "Man" says Carlyle, "is a symbol of Eternity
  imprisoned into Time."

  [67] This proviso defines also the Liberty of Subjects in
  a State. Every man should be free to do whatever he wishes
  provided that he does not thereby prevent others from
  enjoying the _like_ liberty of action. It is the basis of
  all good Laws which should provide _equal opportunities_
  to all subjects without distinction.

  [68] Muhammadans generally misunderstand and misapply the
  doctrine of "Qismat" or Fate. The Prophet distinctly
  taught that we should first of all do whatever lies in our
  power and then leave the rest to God. We are apt to forget
  the first part of his precept and cling to its second part
  only which accords with our tropical laziness. See
  footnote (7) on page 12.

  [69] [Arabic: ḏālika d-dīnu l-qayyim] = It (Islam) is the
  standard religion.--Q. xii. 41.

  [70] Islam rejects some "previous revelations" not because
  they are untrue but because their records that have come
  down to us are not quite genuine and trustworthy.

  [71] The heading of all chapters except one of the Qur'an.

  [72] "Mankind comes to Me along many roads; and on
  whatever road a man approaches Me on that road do I
  welcome him, for all roads are Mine."--_Bhagawat Gita_.
  [al turuk ila-allah bihasbi anf] See p. 24.

  [73] See Note 2 (concluding part) which mentions three
  common factors in all religious systems of the world.

  "The city of the Hindu God is Benares and the city of the
  Muslim God is Mecca. But search your hearts and there you
  will find the God both of Hindus and Muslims. If the
  Creator dwells in tabernacles only, whose dwelling is the

  [74] Some Muslims believe that Zoraster, Krishna, Buddha,
  and Confucius were also prophets or messengers of God but
  that they were no more than good and great men. They do
  not attribute any divinity to them.

  "Religion", said Hitchcock, "implies Revelation". By
  "Revelation" is meant a set of sublime (and therefore,
  divine) truths revealed, _i.e._ communicated from time to
  time to chosen men (= Prophets) who had the necessary
  spirituality to comprehend them and to convey them, as
  God's messages, to their fellow-men in the _human_
  language of themselves. The defects (if any) found in the
  authoritative records (= Scriptures [Arabic: ṣaḥif]) are the
  defects in the human language and not certainly in the
  sacred and sublime truths revealed to the chosen men, the
  Messengers of God. It is the defect of _human_
  understanding, no less than the poverty of _human_
  language, that has often prevented the full comprehension
  of the divine dispensation and the sublime truths in the
  messages of Prophets. It is _our_ comprehension of the
  truth itself that has given rise to diversity in religious
  beliefs and practices.

  [75] Provided they are authentic and genuine and not
  altered by interpolations and omissions.

  [76] Neither the Bible nor the Qur'an is responsible for
  the cruel excesses committed by Christians or Muhammadans
  in the name of Religion.

  [77] "The best of things is the medium thing"--_Muhammad_.

  [78] Charles R. Gibson.

  [79] _Vide_ Note 12 para. marked (a) p. 79.

  [80] For the purpose of this Note it will be enough if you
  understand the first four propositions. I am afraid you
  will find some difficulty in understanding the remaining
  two propositions without illustrative examples, for which
  I have no space here.

  [81] "For _such as be_ blessed of him shall inherit the
  earth, and _they that be_ cursed of him shall be cut
  off."--Psalm 37th, 22.

  [82] Qur'an, xxi. 105. Following the late Mr. Justice
  Karamat Hussain of Allahabad, I take the word [Arabic:
  saleh] to mean "fit" in the evolutionary sense. See his
  book [Arabic: ilm-ul-akhlakh].

  [83] He edits a journal called "Biometrika" which is
  devoted to the statistical study of biological problems.

  [84] Prof. Muirhead of the University of Burmingham, in
  his kind letter to the author on these "Notes."

  [85] Hence Formalism creeps into every Religion and
  renders it lifeless when its doctrines fail to adjust
  themselves to new facts or to changes in old facts. See

  [86] It should be construed and applied to new ideas and
  changed circumstances of each age in quite the same manner
  as Judges in a Court of Law construe and apply old
  Statutes to facts of cases that come before them. See
  Hali's [Arabic: al-din yassin]

  [87] See the verse of the Qur'an quoted on p. 33.

  [88] Or say: True Christianity is but true Islam writ
  large. "On the whole this religion of Mahomet's is a kind
  of Christianity."--_Thomas Carlyle._

  [89] See hints:--Para 3 of Note 5 pp. 31, 32; Footnote
  (48) p. 43; Footnotes (4) and (5) page 12; Footnote
  (85) p. 81.

  [90] Written in 1917.

  [91] Cp. Note 7.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Notes on Islam" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.