In Search of a Spiritual Bulwark Civilization
|أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn|
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
عدد المساهمات : 35626
العمر : 70
|موضوع: In Search of a Spiritual Bulwark Civilization الخميس 02 يونيو 2022, 7:03 pm|| |
In Search of a Spiritual Bulwark Civilization
Trusteeship over Civilization
Whereas the foundations of Islamic civilization are moral and spiritual, those of materialistic civilization are utilitarian. The question to consider is which of the two deserves to serve as the stabilizing influence or bulwark. While analyzing this question, we may well uncover certain hidden factors working for the downfall of civilization and come upon an explanation for certain causes of turmoil in the world today.
What do we understand by "the right," and whose prerogative is it, that of the most powerful or the most pious? Several thousand years of history teach us that civilization does not confine itself to any particular area, nor is it the monopoly of any one people. As a matter of fact, it may be compared to a commodity, like gold, circulating from hand to hand the globe over and ultimately returning to its point of origin.
Civilization therefore belongs to no one race in particular; it benefits those who are able to sustain it until such time when, through failure to shoulder its responsibilities, they Relinquish it to others more worthy of marching forward with it. History amply testifies to the fact that no one people or race has had exclusive possession of civilization or been especially endowed with unique capacities for discernment.
Anthropology, the science of man, refers to types of human species and, in spite of its ambiguities and limitations, differentiates between one people and another in physical terms, but it does not measure differences in mind and spirit. When attempting to establish categories on the basis of inherent and spiritual differences between peoples and thus to discover the merits of one race over another for bearing the message of civilization and culture, we must move on from true science to speculation.
Indeed, modern anthropological studies might help us measure the intelligential capacities of certain human groups as distinct from others, but it cannot help us delineate the multiple facets of moral and spiritual traits and instincts and their manifestations. To say it another way, as a science anthropology can guide us to an understanding of certain spiritual elements which we regard of some significance in determining the merits of a race to bear the message of civilization; however, this role requires a number of varied spiritual and moral forces and a balance between such forces.
Let us look into the racial differences existing among peoples of the world, beginning with the time when the Pharaohs raised the pyramids in witness of their far-reaching ambitions and as an expression of the civilization attained by the ancient Egyptians.
Egypt played the first and most important role in the development of civilization; it was she who taught man agriculture, building, and writing. Next came the Sumerians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Chinese, Indians, Romans, and Arabs; they were in turn followed by the nations of Europe and, in recent times, of America, all of whom added to and improved upon civilization.
If we assume that civilization had its origins in Egypt and has reached its highest material expression in America to-day, and if we leave aside for the moment the fate of the yellow race and its influence on our part of the globe, we will be able to confine the area of the civilizations we are dealing with to Western Asia, North Africa, Europe, and America.
Anthropologists seem to agree that what they call the Caucasian race consists of three racial subdivisions, distinguished by clearly defined physical differences, whose habitat stretches Civilization from West to East. To the extreme north we have the "Northerners" or Nordics, to the south of them the Alpines, and to the south of the latter the Mediterraneans. The Nordics are tall, blue-eyed, and long-headed; the Alpines are round- headed, and the Mediterraneans are long-headed and shorter in body than the Nordics, with black hair and dark eyes.
There is no need to dwell upon the physical differences by which anthropologists have distinguished among these racial elements or to go into tracing their past and present, as we derive no particular assistance from these data in reconstructing ancient civilization. We possess no absolute standards of truth for the peoples who carried the torch of civilization be fore the Arabs or for the Arabs themselves. The same scientific research that has pointed to physical differences among the three elements of the so-called Caucasian race shows also that no one nation is populated uniquely with any one element. As insulated as Britain is, still she contains all three racial types, and in proportions that have no specific relation to distance from lands of origin; in the British Isles, the Mediterraneans are proportionally greater in number than are the Alpines. All that we can affirm confidently is the predominance of the physical traits of a given racial element in one nation over its other racial traits.
Even if we were able to measure the physical differences mentioned with accuracy, we would still be far from able to measure spiritual forces and influences in any one people; nor could we obtain a better knowledge of these influences even if we were to consider them the outcome of the interaction of blood inheritances from different peoples. Consequently, we are justified in asking, whose civilization is this? Can we attribute it to any one race or deny it to any other?
Were not ancient nations, the Pharaonic Egyptians not withstanding, like those of today, a mixture of races in which the Mediterranean predominated? What are the few thousand years about which we know a little when compared to the tens of thousands of years in human history about which we know nothing? Whether the ancient civilizations were shouldered by one of the three racial elements in the Western world or by peoples born of an intermingling of the three, there is one consideration which we cannot escape: civilization is not specifically or exclusively related to any one set of racial traits, that is, it does not necessarily either reside with or bear the stamp of a single race's characteristics. Civilization is not the product of natural hereditary forces, nor is it the rightful possession, so to speak, of the physically most powerful under any circumstances.
With all its materialistic and cultural offshoots, civilization is a product of spiritual conditions which do not necessarily accompany the physical traits that distinguish one people from another. No matter how much effort we might put into an attempt to find evidence that certain physical traits point to certain spiritual peculiarities, we would still be far from an understanding of the mystery, for we cannot alter the truth that no set of distinct racial traits with which we are familiar possessed at any time in human history a monopoly over intelligence, knowledge, and originality. What is clear is that the spirit alone illuminates the obscurities of human life once the ground has been prepared for it. The bulwark of civilization is spirit and moral character, not materialistic force. How true Koranic law is in this respect, as revealed in the words of the Almighty: "Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they [first] change that which is in their hearts. . . .."
Even if we were to assume that spiritual traits, like physical, can be inherited, still there would be no doubt that other intangible influences shape and mold spiritual forces and that strong beliefs and ethics are what initiate and safeguard civilization.
We are as ignorant of the nature and depth of the spirit as we are of the causes and effects, the sources and consequences of spiritual action, which prevents us from establishing scientific principles by which to distinguish among the spiritual traits of races as we do among the physical. All we are able to determine from observing and reading about the present or the past is that peoples of varying racial strains are equally ready to acquire knowledge and pursue ethical conduct, and that in general they can adopt a civilization and a culture regardless of its form or source.
If we overlook certain limited differences based on climate and other circumstances in given situations, we are on safe ground when we speak of the complete equality of human spirits; at least, we know of no evidence to the contrary. The transmission of knowledge and initiative or of ignorance and corruption throughout the ages reflects a common and equal proclivity on the part of all men for good or evil. And if the differences we note can be considered as the result of living under varying conditions, then we can claim that they also are indicative of a common spiritual capacity; in other words, the mental resources of all men are similar.
This suffices to negate the theory that certain physical racial traits automatically imply certain spiritual characteristics and thus give one race perpetual predominance over others. We are justified in saying that there is no indication of differences either in physical or in spiritual traits that would make a civilization a monopoly of a segment of mankind or would prevent the universal acceptance of the obligations set forth in the Islamic Shari'ah. Once this becomes clear, racial doctrines crumble, as does the principle of force qua force as a basis for civilization. For if on the other hand it could be proved that nature chooses and prepares a certain people to lead in knowledge and progress, then this people would have the right to compel others to imitate them; that is, this compulsion would be justified.
Experience, science, and knowledge do not assure predominance to any one people. Moreover, the conduct of nations shows that they tend to utilize the forces granted them to benefit themselves at the expense of those they have temporarily defeated. The desire to become the master race does not originate from traits inherent in any one race. History has shown that defeated nations do not necessarily benefit from their conquerors; on the contrary, they can be obliterated as a result of subjugation.
To say that might makes right is to show preference for some nations over others for no natural reason and to sanction tyranny for those capable of exercising it to wipe out the rights of the weak. This the Islamic Shari'ah vehemently rejects; the Shari'ah requires the same obligations of all before the law, trusts the most pious and beneficent, and decrees that people constitute one family with the kindest among them the favored of God.
The faithful Messenger declares, "There is no preference for an Arab over a non-Arab except for his piety and what Allah has given him of love for human welfare and peace." The noblest is not the strongest physically or the one who possesses the largest inheritance or the most learned but rather the kindest spiritually, for the kind spirit is enshrined in piety, which prevents it from perpetrating evil and moves it to do good.
|أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn|
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
عدد المساهمات : 35626
العمر : 70
|موضوع: رد: In Search of a Spiritual Bulwark Civilization الخميس 02 يونيو 2022, 7:05 pm|| |
The Triangular Forces of Corruption
Besides those discussed, other causes of world disturbance exist, less significant perhaps but still important, particularly as they concern the achievement of a durable peace and good relations between peoples and nations.
Of the many causes related to world disorder, treachery, deception, and hypocrisy, which disturb man's moral character, have left the worst marks on human society. While introducing evil and harm into the lives of individuals, these forces have also had far- reaching consequences, damaging relations among nations. For this reason, the Message of Muhammad urges men repeatedly to resist the manifestations of such forces in their manners and relationships. Most regrettably, blameworthy traits like these have flourished to a degree that reflects the weakening of spiritual life and the growing strength of materialism; and men today resort to evil behavior that would have been shunned by their forefathers as out of keeping with honor and dignity. Many men have begun to look upon a traitor as they would upon a man of in telligence who excels in good conduct and to measure his worth in terms of his success, while they remain unconcerned by the methods he has utilized, however debased they may be. When self-respect and the honor accorded to virtue weaken, treachery thrives in international relations and international ties become seriously endangered.
Anyone who has followed closely the course of world politics during the past half-century can point to countless treacherous actions, and very rarely will he find a pure link in the chain of repugnant double-dealing. Unanticipated at tacks and the violation of pacts have become almost the rule, whereas formerly, as following the introduction of the etiquette of chivalry in the Middle Ages by the Arabs when Islam was expanding, and even in the days of the Jahiliyah, such acts were looked upon as debasing the value of individuals and nations and were generally disapproved of.
The venerable Book constantly excoriates traitors and in cites men to faithfulness, and the sanctity of an agreement is placed above that of religion: ". . . but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help [them] except against a folk between whom and you there is a treaty." 44 To honor an agreement and sanctify fidelity has been a matter of pride to Muslims throughout the ages.
The Koran disparages traitors in the words of the Almighty:
Fulfill the covenant of Allah when ye have covenanted, and break not your oaths [pacts] after the asseveration of them, and after ye have made Allah surety over you. Lo! Allah knoweth what ye do. And be not like unto her who unraveleth the thread, after she hath made it strong, to thin filaments, making your oaths a deceit between you because of a nation being more numerous [and dominant] than [another] nation. Allah only trieth you thereby
The likening of the traitor to a woman who unravels the thread after she has spun it is of significance to those who toy with their pledges, hurling them into the abyss of imprudence; when treachery replaces the fulfillment of pacts and pledges, it results in universal discontent. "Truly, for every traitor a standard will be established on the day of resurrection in proportion to his treachery, and no treachery is greater than that committed by an imam," says the Apostle of God.
During his entire life, the Prophet himself set the highest example of loyalty in his relationships with individuals and groups. An example is found in the history of his long regard for a pagan enemy, the Quraysh nobleman al-Mut'im ibn-'Adiy, the same man who safeguarded Muhammad's entry into Mecca on his return from al-Ta’if. Al-Mut'im was among the enemy's dead at the Battle of Badr. Though he was a polytheist who lost his life while fighting against the Prophet, he was eulogized in a poem composed by the Prophet's poet, Hassan Ibn-Thabit, who recited it in the presence of Muhammad himself. The Prophet listened without voicing an objection. This is strong evidence of the value of loyalty in the eyes of the Messenger of Allah, a value unmarred by religious differences or war.
At first glance, treachery may appear to be a means of at taining victory since men have long talked about war as justifying deception. However, there is a marked difference between treacbery, a surprise attack, and the betrayal of an oath on the one hand and deception in combat on the other. Deception in battle is a trick. The opponent realizes that he is being exposed to it, and that he has no promise that it will not be resorted to; consequently, it falls within the province of legitimate war. If you should lead your enemy to believe that you will approach him with all your forces from one direction and then send only a few, deploying most of your men in another direction, this does not constitute treachery; it is merely the art of war, which is not incompatible with moral behavior as long as human beings regard war as consistent with manly virtue and ethical conduct.
On the other hand, treachery is frowned upon even by villains. When a bedoum chief whom I once knew betrayed a criminal to the government after promising him help, justifying himself with the saying "Al-khawn `awn," "To betray is to assist [oneself]," he was roundly condemned by his own men, although they had been engaged in a life of feuding with the tribe of the betrayed man. The saying acquires a special significance and danger, furthermore, when we consider relationships among the great nations of the world.
Betrayal, the use of surprise attacks, and the perpetration of cruel deeds on innocent victims who are unaware of what is happening, in complete disregard of pledges or of human virtue, are not uncommon. It is as true among contemporary nations as it was in ancient times that treachery is a source of constant turmoil and insecurity. Yet recourse to treachery as a means of obtaining victory scarcely yields any special benefits to traitors at any time; they may win the first battle, but inevitably they wind up as victims, for "Allah guideth not the snare of the betrayers."
Treachery among nations leads ultimately to conspiracy and suspicion. Men are then deprived of the blessing of security in peace as in war. We behold the present generation seething in the midst of calamities from which it will graduate into an atmosphere of fear and preparation for new wars; indeed, such is the promise of punishment from Heaven. For this reason, Islam insists on the fulfillment of pledges, even when made to a betrayer-it is preferable that one carry out his pledge in exchange for treachery than that he return treachery for treachery.
As regards laying and hypocrisy, it cannot be said that people are more inclined to veracity than they used to be; nor can it be said that lying is an ethical characteristic that has emerged in its worst form in the machine age. Honesty is no more respected today than in former times. What we lament in this age is prevarication in politics and international relations. We can assert that lying and deception do more to upset international relations today than they did in the past.
In The Prince, for example, Machiavelli sets forth views that are deemed unacceptable in the light of standards of ethical character and virtuous behavior; although today people conform to Machiavelli's views, they do not display his honesty when declaring themselves. The Prince would appear to indicate that people in the Middle Ages showed greater veracity than do men today, who denounce Machiavellism while at the same time making use of it.
Islam deplores and shuns lying and hypocrisy in politics, which people consider so justifiable and such necessary tools of diplomacy that they skillfully develop their use. The annals of early Islamic conquests are living testimony to the honesty and truth exercised in relationships between friends and foes alike. The biographies of the early caliphs who promulgated the Message of Muhammad are redolent with the simplicity of truth and the clarity of right-dealing; when they, their emissaries, or their representatives spoke, wrote, or gave pledges, it was with an explicitness entirely free of double meanings. Their words were lucid, unembellished, and simple. "I am host of a home in the suburbs of Paradise," said the Prophet, "for him who resorts not to disputation, even though he be right, and of a home in the middle of Paradise for him who resorts not to lying even in gesture, and of a home in the heights of Paradise for him whose moral character has been purified."
Anyone reading the Book of Allah and learning the traditions of the Prophet will come to the conclusion that lying and hypocrisy are more debased than blasphemy, for Allah has cursed liars and placed hypocrites on the lowest level of the Inferno. At first one might not appreciate the wisdom of this strict attitude, but if he should consider the far-reaching general effects of hypocrisy, even ignoring for a moment its effects on the hypocrite, he would discover that it forms an essential element of the corruption prevalent in the world today. More specifically, on reflecting upon the turmoil that engulfs the modern world, would not one discover that hypocrisy is one of the primary causes of world disturbance? It the organizers of the League of Nations had established that organization on a foundation of honesty and fidelity, would it have collapsed as it did? Would its failure have led to the widespread corruption that manifested itself during World War II? If those who preach respect for the general welfare and the sanctity of human rights were sincere, truthful, and free of deception, would men dispute the meaning of such rights and of the general welfare as they do today? Indeed, hypocrisy has forged the pattern for men; if one utters the beloved expressions freedom, equality, and justice and speaks of the right of all to live in happiness and perpetual peace, men suspect an ulterior motive and think that truth has taken on the garb of falsehood.
The effect of hypocrisy, however insignificant in the relationships of individuals, grows many times stronger, becoming a rampant evil, when nations and their rulers adopt it as a tool in domestic and foreign relations. Basing a policy on treachery, lying, and hypocrisy is forbidden by the Message of Muhammad and rejected by all the religions of God because it nourishes world conflict and contributes to the destruction of civilization.
In Search of a Spiritual Bulwark Civilization