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Books Section > Call of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Spirit of Humanity Knocks at the Door of Islam


The Spirit of Humanity Knocks at the Door of Islam:


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There is demand throughout the world for something which would save humanity from the destruction to which it is hurrying headlong. The faith that unbounded material advancement and unthought-of conquests of nature will make humanity reach the heaven of happiness has been utterly shattered by the events of the past few years and there is a void which can only be filled by some securer faith. Material advancement has brought to man material benefits on a vast scale, but it has taken away the one thing which could bring him happiness; it has taken away peace and contentment of mind. Humanity today is groping in the dark for the contentment which only faith in God can bring to it. The entire world order stands in need of being reconstructed on the foundation-stone of faith in God and oneness of humanity, and this foundation-stone is in the possession of Islam.

The call comes from the West:

"For the fullest development of its cultural life, Europe cannot do without the forces and capacities which lie within Islamic society" (H.A.R. Gibb, Whither Islam, p. 378).

"At the other end, Europe, too, is experiencing a spiritual crisis which is by no means a purely temporary phenomenon, but is indeed in the last resort the inevitable outcome of that force which, since Europe’s estrangement from Islam after the Crusades, has dominated its development: exaggerated individualism. This spiritual crisis might possibly lead to the elimination of the greatest of the dangers which is now threatening the Muslim world. Thence, perhaps, new powers might be born among the Oriental people which would check the present decay of Islam, or even turn it into new growth, if Europe were to continue along the lines which it is following at present. Who would deny the possibility at least of such a new development, after seeing, for instance, how movements like the Ahmadiyya, with its strong ethical powers and its, no doubt, deep religious feelings, are able to exercise a certain influence far beyond what has so far been considered to be the frontier of Muslim territory" (ibid. pp. 308, 309).

The reference to the concluding passage is clearly to the efforts which the Ahmadiyya Movement is making for carrying the light of Islam to the West. But the writer takes it for granted that Islam’s march to the West is a march beyond its frontiers. Not at all. The Holy Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] was told in clear words that the Western lands were as good a part of the territory of Islam as the Eastern lands. Here are his own words:

"My Lord contracted the earth for me (that is, showed me a plan of it) so that I saw its Eastern lands and its Western lands, and I was told that the territory of my followers would reach the lands which were shown to me."

The Prophet said this at a time when Islam had no territory at all, neither in the East, nor in the West, nor in Arabia itself. Today the Prophet’s dream regarding the East is a hard reality; tomorrow will see the reality of his dream regarding the West. There is already a demand for Islam in the West and it is now the duty of the Muslim to carry the truth to the West to supply that demand. I know there is despair in some quarters among the Muslims. The West, they say, is lost beyond all hope and it is only waste of time, energy and money to carry the message of Islam to Europe. In other quarters, there is despondency due to the material advancement of Europe and the material backwardness of the East. The Muslims should conserve, it is argued, their whole energy for the amelioration of their own community instead of dissipating it on others. There are others who think that the task is too stupendous and the Muslims have not the resources to carry it on. To all these I would say that at the Prophet’s advent, the whole world was lost beyond hope, yet the Prophet set to work for its betterment and he succeeded. The scheme to save humanity is a Divine scheme and it does not behove a believer in the goodness and wisdom of God to give way to despair under any circumstances. Just cast a glance at the past history of Islam. When Islam advanced to the East, the East was then materially great and spiritually dead, just as Europe is today. Nor was it with material resources that Islam conquered the East. It was the tremendous spiritual force of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet which carried it forward to the East and broke down all resistance, and it is the same spiritual force that will make Islam conquer the West. The Holy Qur’an itself lays claim to being endowed with this mighty force which will break down all material resistance:

And if there were a Qur’an with which the mountains could be made to pass away or with which the earth could be traversed from end to end or whereby the dead could be made to speak – nay! the command is wholly Allah’s (13:31).

Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, those wouldst have seen it falling down, splitting asunder, because of the fear of Allah, and We set forth these parables to men that they may reflect (59:21).

The history of the rise and spread of Islam is an illustration of the great truth given expression to in these verses. Islam won the world by its spiritual force, not by material resources. Anyone who has access to Arnold’s Preachings of Islam can see it for himself. Another great modern author, Stoddard, thus begins his The New World of Islam:

"The rise of Islam is perhaps the most amazing event in human history…. The other great religions won their way slowly, by painful struggle, and finally triumphed with the aid of powerful monarchs converted to the new Faith. Christianity had its Constantine, Buddhism its Ashoka, and Zoroastrianism its Cyrus, each lending to his chosen cult the mighty force of secular authority. Not so Islam. Arising in a desert land sparsely inhabited by a nomad race previously undistinguished in human annals, Islam sallied forth on its great adventure with the slenderest human backing and against the heaviest material odds. Yet Islam triumphed with seemingly miraculous ease."

There is no reason to doubt in the face of those two testimonies – the testimony of the Prophet and the testimony of history – that Islam will one day be the predominant religion of the West as it is already the predominant religion of the East, and this dominance will be attained not by material resources but by the mighty spiritual force of the Qur’an. The Holy Book itself repeats this promise thrice:

He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it triumphant over all religions (9:38; 48:28; 61:9).

Islam is at present faced with a double fight, against Christianity and Capitalism as prevailing in Europe and America, and against irreligion and Communism as prevailing in Russia and its dependencies. The present is a psychological moment for accepting the challenge of both Christianity and irreligion. If we strike with a united effort at this moment, we have every chance of success, but if we are indifferent, Christianity and irreligion will gain further ground in their respective spheres. By a little united effort and by widening our outlook on life, we can render important service to humanity; we may even save humanity from another cataclysm by turning its minds to high spiritual truths as revealed in the Holy Qur’an. There are only two factors which can save humanity from the destruction to which it is hurling itself down – a strong faith in God and a blotting off of national and racial prejudices, and both these factors can be supplied only by Islam. It was the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement on whose mind the idea dawned first of all, that the time had come to carry the message of Islam to the West. It was in 1891, when opposition to him was at the highest, that he wrote:

"What has been shown to me in a vision is this, that the rising of the sun from the West signifies that the Western world, which has been involved of old in the darkness of unbelief and error, shall be made to shine with the sun of Truth, and these people shall have a share of Islam. In reality, the Western countries have up to this time shown very little aptitude for spiritual truths, as if spiritual wisdom had in its entirety been granted to Asia and material wisdom to Europe and America. Now Almighty God intends to cast on them the look of mercy (Izala Auham, p. 516).

He saw many such visions but he was not a mere visionary. In 1901, he started a religious magazine called Review of Religions to carry the message of Islam to the West. He died in 1908, and soon after his death, the Anjuman, which he had founded to carry on his work after his death, undertook the work of translating the Holy Qur’an into English. This was in 1909. Three years after this, the first Muslim mission in Europe, known as the Woking Mission, was established by one of his disciples, the late Khwaja Kamal al-Din.

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Books Section > Call of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Spirit of Humanity Knocks at the Door of Islam

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