(Salāmti ka Rāsta)
There has been a long felt need for introductory literature on Islam in the English language. The Islamic Research Academy is Presenting a set of twelve Pamphlets, dealing with different aspects of Islam: its nature and characteristics, articles of faith, concept of life, principles of individual life and social organization, and message for our own times. Each pamphlet deals with any one aspect of Islam, but the set taken together gives a full view of the Islamic ideology. In this series we have avoided all polemical discussions. Instead, an attempt has been made to present the message and teachings of Islam in simple, clear, and concise terms. We hope that all those who sincerely seek to understand Islam will benefit from them. Suggestions and criticisms from the readers would be most welcome.
Karachi Khurshid Ahmad
June 1st, 1966 General Editor
The Road to Peace and Salvation1
ON THE EXISTENCE OF THE DIVINE BEING
Being a speech delivered in May 1940 before a gathering consisting of the followers of different religions. – Editor
Gentlemen! Would you believe a man who told you that there was a big store in the market without any shopkeeper and salesman, or other persons to look after it, and still the store was running smoothly, all the goods flowing in and passing into the customers’ hands automatically? Would you concede the possibility of goods flowing into any shop without any supplier, and selling without any salesman? And would you agree that the goods in such a shop could possible be kept safe from thieves and robbers unless there was somebody to take care of the shop and look after it? It goes without saying that nobody in his senses can believe in the existence of a big store of this kind.
Take another example. Suppose someone told you that he had seen a big factory running without any owner, manager, engineer and machinemen. The factory, he further told you, had sprung into existence of itself, al the parts of the various machines fitted themselves in their proper places, the machines came into existence automatically and were running likewise, turning out wonderful products. There is no doubt that you would be stupefied by this incredible story and suspect that the reporter was out of his mind.
Surely none else but a madman could say such absurd things.
Or, let us take a few more real examples. Could you believe that this electric bulb, which is glowing before you, generated light of itself? Or, could even that greatest philosopher convinces you that this chairs, which is lying here before you, had assumed its present form all by itself? Or, could even the most learned man persuade you that the cloth of which your dress is made had not been woven by any human being or machine by it wove itself automatically; or could all the teachers of all the universities of the world induce you to believe that these houses which you see around yourselves were not built but sprang into existence automatically?
These are only a few instances of things that you see every day in your life. Now, if you cannot, by any means, be persuaded to believe that an ordinary shop could run without any shopkeeper or salesman, or that a factory could be erected and operated without an engineer or run without a manager, you possible accept that thesis that the Universe is without a creator or master? In the vast and wonderful scheme of the Universe, the countless living beings, the sky, the sun, and the moon, and the innumerable planets and stars function with the precision of the parts of a watch. Vapour rise from the oceans and turn into clouds; the winds blow these clouds to the distant corners of the earth and, under suitable condition, the vapours condense into water, which falls on the earth as rain. The rainwater in its turn brings dead soil to life and helps the growth of various kinds of food grains and other corps, luxuriant trees and different varieties of fruits and flowers. Now, could any sensible person be induced to believe that this vast and integrated system sprang into existence without any creator and is running automatically without any master, governor, or conductor? We have no hesitation in dismissing as lunatic a person who thinks that even such as small and insignificant thing as a chair or a piece of cloth or a little wall came into existence of itself; can we then agree with a person who holds that the earth sprang into existence of its own, the animals came to life of themselves, and even the most wonderful and complicated of all living beings – man – came into existence without any creator? Chemical analysis of the substance of the human body has shown that it is composed of certain quantities of iron, coal, sulphur, phosphorus, calcium, salts and gases and some other substance of the human body has shown that it is composed of certain quantities of iron, coal, sulphur, phosphorus, calcium, salts and gases and some other substance of the same kind, which would not together cost more than a few rupees.1 Now, could any one of you create a human being by combining these substance in one or another manner in the same proportion in which they exist in a normal human body? If you could not, how could you believe that a human being, alive an alert, and capable of making such difficult and complicated things as an aeroplane or a television, came into existence automatically without the design of a master mind and the work of a master craftsman?
Have you ever pondered how the human infant forms and develops in the tiny workshop of the mother’s womb? The father has no hand in this wonderful process, nor has the mother anything to do with it. At a moment of which neither the father not the mother is aware, two small life-germs, which cannot be seen without the help of a microscope, unite which each other in a small pouch. Thereafter, they draw their nourishment from the mother’s blood, which supplies to them sufficient quantities of iron, sulphur, phosphorus and other essential substances in requisite proportion. These substances go on accumulating in the womb and, after some time, form a lump of flesh. In the next stage the lump acquires a definite shape and develops various organs and parts of the body in the appropriate places. The eyes, the ears, the brain, and the heart all develop precisely where they should; the bones and the muscles grow in their respective positions. In short, every part, larger or small, is precisely where it should be. The embryo then acquires life and develops the senses and the power to think and a thousand other capacities. And when the embryo eventually grows into a fully formed human infant, the small workshop of the womb, where it had its origin and developed for several months delivers it out, and it starts its independent life in the world. The workshop of the womb produces millions of human infants every day, but every one of these is different from the other in looks and complexion, in voice and disposition, in powers and faculties, in qualities and moral caliber. Even brothers born of the same father and mother are never identical to each other. This is indeed a marvel, which baffles the mind and staggers the imagination. Only a person out of his wits could hold that this wonderful system of life came into being, and has continued for countless generations, without a wise, powerful God possessing vast knowledge and unrivalled powers of performance.
THE UNITY OF GOD
Let us now proceed a little further. Any body with a little common-sense could readily agree that no business, big or small, could run in a proper and orderly manner unless single person was made finally responsible for its conduct. Have you ever heard of a single school with two headmasters or one department with two directors or one army with two commanders-in-chief or a country with two presidents? In any event, could any institution under a dual control possibly be run efficiently? Even in the ordinary affairs of everyday life we observe that too many cooks spoil the broth, and any task or business that is lift under the charge of more than one person cannot be managed properly: it is generally messed up and causes heart-burning and squabbles among those responsible, and ultimately it become a public scandal. Good management, proper order and discipline, and smooth working and efficiency are practically inconceivable, without a single predominant power, a single authority or a single administering and controlling hand.
This is a patent fact with anybody endowed with a little common sense would accept without any hesitation. Keeping this fact in mind, just cast a glance at the world around you and the vast and grand system of the universe. Look at the millions of planets that you find in constant motion, at the earth on which you live, at the moon that rises in the evening and the sun that rises at dawn, at Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, Venus and countless other stars and planets that spin like balls; their conduct and movements show an extremely strict adherence to a certain set of rules and time schedule. Have you ever found the evening setting in before its natural hour, or the sun rising before the fixed time? Has the earth ever collided with the moon? Has the sun ever deviated from its fixed position? Have you every seen or heard of any planet swerving from its course even by the breadth of hair? Like the parts of watch, these billions of stars and planets, some of which are millions of times bigger than or earth and some are thousands of times bigger than the sun, are running their appointed courses strictly in accordance with rigid regulations and precisely at their normal speeds None of them ever alter its fixed peace by the minutest fraction or swerves by an hair’s breadth from its appointed course. Their distances and directions in relation to one another are set, and even the slightest alteration in this scheme would upset the whole system to the universe and reduce it to a disastrous chaos; the innumerable planet would begin to collide with one another like railway trains.
Coming down from the heavens to the earth, let us look at the world in which we live and at our own selves. The whole scheme of the earth and the drama of life that we witness upon it are governed strictly by certain rigid laws and rules. For instance, the gravitational pull of the earth keeps all the objects on it in their respective places; if the earth relaxes this pull even for a second, the whole world would go to pieces. All the parts and wheels and cogs of the world’s vast workshop are governed strictly by a set of regulations, and none of these regulations is ever altered to the slightest extent. The air and water follow the respective rules laid down for them; light is bound by the regulations that govern it; the seasons of the years strictly follow the schedule laid down for them. Earth, stones, metals, electric city, steam, trees, and animals – none of these has the power to overstep the bounds within which it is required to live by the laws that govern it, or to change any of its properties or qualities, or to refuse to discharge the tasks assigned to it; within the limits set for it, and subject to the regulations laid down for it, all parts of this machine are working in cooperation with one another; and all the goings, on in this world, and all the developments and progress that we witness, are due to the fact that all the objects and forces in the world are working in cooperation with one another.
Take the apparently insignificant example of a seed that is sown in the soil. It is obvious that the seed cannot germinate and grow into a plant unless all the powers in the heaven and on the earth cooperate in sustaining and developing it. The soil supplies nourishment to it from its inexhaustible reserves of good. The sun provides it with the necessary heart and light. Water and air give the seed what it requires from the. The night makes it cool and gives it dew, day warms it and thus helps it to germinate and grow. These various elements thus cooperate for months and years, as the case may be, in nurturing and nourishing the seed and the plant constantly and regularly, and only then does it grow into a tree and bear fruit. All the crops that provide food for you and sustain you grow as a result of the mutual cooperation of these various forces; indeed, you are living at all only because various forces of the heaven and the earth are working in cooperation to keep you alive and sustain you. If any of these elements withdrew its cooperation, life would become absolutely or virtually impossible. If, for instance, the air withdrew itself from this cooperative enterprise, you would instantly cease to exist. If water refused to act in harmony with air and heat in the atmosphere, you would not get a drop of rain. If the soil did not cooperate with water, your gardens would go dry, your corps would never ripen and you would never be able to build houses. If fire refused to be kindled, not only your ovens, but all the mils and factories would stop functioning. If iron refuses to react to fire, you would not be able to make even a knife or a needle, not to speak of mothercars and railway engines and big machines. In short, the world in which you live exists and survives only because the various department of this wonderful realm regularly and faithfully cooperate with one another, and no departmental functionary can dare to neglect its duty or refuse to cooperate with other functionaries in accordance with the prescribed rules and regulations.
Now, do you find anything wrong or false in what I have just said? I don’t think that any one will denounce it as false. And if it is all true and supported by your own independent observation, is it not natural and rational to ponder over the raisond’etre of this grand scheme, this wonderful regularity, this extreme harmony, this perfect coordination among the countless and limitless objects and forces of the Universe? The cosmos has existed for billions of years in the same form in which we find it today; for millions of years trees have grown and animals have lived on the earth; and from time immemorial man has lived in this world. But the scheme of the Universe has never experienced any disturbance or aberration. The moon has never fallen upon the earth, the earth has never fallen foul of each other, water has never been at loggerhead with the soil and fire and heat have continued to go together, One is bound to wonder why after all, do all the various provinces, department and functionaries of this vast realm adhere so strictly and faithfully to the laws and regulations laid down for them. Why do they not fall foul of one another? Why is there no disorder or disturbance in this kingdom? What is the force that keeps its various parts and department under the control of a single administrative system? You only have to search your own hearts for correct answers to these questions. Don’t you feel intuitively that a single divine being is the sovereign that keeps all the objects and beings in the Universe subject to His own laws and regulations? If this Universe had been governed not by several but even two gods, its affairs could not possible have been run so regularly and efficiently. If even a small school could not accept two headmasters at one time, how could the vast realms of the heavens and the earth, be run by more than one Sovereign?
In short, it is a fact that he world and the rest of the Universe did not spring into existence of themselves without any creator, and they are not functioning automatically without any governor or conductor. But this is only one aspect of the reality. The other aspect is that the Universe has been created, and is being run, by a single Being. The regularity, precision and efficiency with which its affairs are being run leave no doubt that they are controlled and directed by a single Administrator. The general adherence to the laws and regulations of the Universe by all its objects and beings shows clearly that the writ of a single Sovereign runs exclusively in the realms. The severity of the laws of the Universe bears testimony to the fact that a single Sovereign rules the heavens, the earth, and all that is between them; that the sun, the moon, and the stars are under His command and control; that the earth and all that is contains are subject to His command; that water, the rivers and the mountains; the trees and the animals are all His slaves. He has the life and death of human beings in His hands and His powerful grip holds all the world in full control; no object or being is strong enough to enforce its own writ in the kingdom of God.
In fact, the perfect organization of the Universe does not at all permit more than one ruler or administrator. The very nature of the organization demands that no other being should have the slightest share in this authority that there should be a single Ruler and all the other beings should be His subjects. For if any other being enjoyed even a small fraction of the original authority, disorder, disturbance, and indiscipline would inevitable result. Moreover, the administration of such a vast kingdom requires not only power but also knowledge. It needs such as extensive vision as can view the whole Universe at one time and a mind so comprehensive and perspicacious that it can issue commands and inductions keeping in view the needs and demand of the entire Universe. The system and organization of the Universe would surely have been upset and shaken if some smaller deities, not endowed with universal vision, had been allowed to share the sovereignty of the Universe with the Supreme Lord and Master and entrusted with authority in respect of particular matters or parts of the world. Even an ordinary machine is likely to be thrown out of gear if it is entrusted to a person who does not know how to work on it and he is allowed to interfere with its working. In regard to the system of the Universe, therefore, the very fact that the affairs of the heavens and the earth, run as they are with perfect regularity, should make it clear even to the meanest intelligence that no force or being shares the sovereignty of the Universe with God even the in the slightest degree.
This is not merely a statement of fact; it is also right and logical that God’s sovereignty over the Universe should not be shared by any authority and that His writ alone should run throughout the realm. Those who are His own creatures, who depend for existence an survival entirely upon His mercy, who cannot live even for a moment by virtue of their won strength or capacities, are surely not competent to share His sovereignty and cannot conceivably do so. Could a servant share the ownership rights of his master? Or, would a master ever share power or rights of his master? Or, would a master ever share power or rights with his own servant? If you ponder seriously over these examples from ordinary life, such a situation would not only be repugnant to the patent realities of the Universe; it would also repugnant to reason and nature, truth and logic.
THE REAL CAUSE OF MAN’S DISTRESS
Gentleman! These are basic realities underlying the scheme and system of this world and the rest of the Universe. And none of us lives in it as a part of the machine and system. For every one of us, therefore, these realities are as fundamental as they are for the world as a whole.
Today, all of us are baffled and perplexed by the question why human life has been bereft of peace and security.1 Why are we being visited perpetually by various kinds of trouble and hardships? Why has the scheme of our life gone awry? We find nations falling foul of one another, country struggling against country, men tearing one another to bits like wolves. Millions of men are being killed, wounded, or uprooted by war, human habitations are being destroyed and property and business worth billions of rupees are being ruined. The strong are crushing the weak, the rich care exploiting the poor governments are tyrannical and the guardians of law have turned unjust. The rich man is intoxicated by his wealth; the man in authority is arrogant. There is no loyalty in friendship and breach of trust is rampant. There is no moral rectitude. Man has lost faith in man; godlessness prevails even under the cloak of religion. Humanity is divided into countless groups and camps, and each of these is trying to harm others by force or fraud or any other means at its disposal – in the firm belief as if this were the righteous conduct.
What, then, is the root cause of all these evils and troubles? Outside the human world we find perfect peace and tranquility in the rest of the Universe. There is peace in stars, in air, in water, in trees and animals. The whole machinery of certain, excluding the world of man, is running peacefully and does not betray any imbalance or disorder or indiscipline in any respect. Why is human life deprived of this blessing?
There is a vital and difficult question and most people find it highly baffling. But the answer is not so difficult for the seeking and I wish to provide some food for your thought by outlining my diagnosis of the situation. Man is suffering because he has adopted a way of life at various with truth and reality; he will know no pace until he brings his life into harmony with truth and reality.
It should not be difficult to comprehend and appreciate the above answer. If, while traveling by train, you took the door of the moving railway carriage as one of the doors of your house, and stepped out of it as casually as you would step out of a door in you house into a verandah or a courtyard, your delusion would not help you in the least; the door of the railway carriage would not turn into a door of your house, nor would the ground where you fall become a courtyard. And when you fall out from the fast-running train you would meet the inevitable fate even if you still cuddled your delusion in spite of your broken skull and limbs.
Similarly, if you persuaded yourself to believe that his world is without any divine master, or chose to arrogate divinity to yourself, or recognized a god other than God, the reality would still remain unchanged. God would still be the Lord and Master of the Universe and His vast realms, in which you live as His subject, would still remain under His sway and mastery. Only you would have to pay and suffer for the unsound way of life that you would adopt as a result of the delusion, even if you continued to regard that way of life as sound and proper.
It should be clear to you that God has not been made the Lord and Master of the Universe by any external force. He is the Sovereign of the Universe of His own right, and His sovereignty does not depend upon your recognitions. His sovereignty depends upon His own strength. He has created you as well as the world. The earth, the sun, the moon and the rest of the Universe and all the forces at work in it are subject to His command. All the things that help to keep you alive are within His power. Your very existence depends entirely on His will. These are hard facts, which you cannot change by any means. You may refuse to recognize them; you may shut your eyes to them you may explain them away in any manner you like, but they will still remain what they are. Your refusal to recognize these realities cannot possible make any difference to them; but it does mean a great deal to you. If you accepted these realities and recognized your own position in the scheme of things, you would be able to fashion your lives properly, to live in peace and contentment, and other the affairs of your life in a satisfactory manner. If, on the other hand, you tried to assume a position, which did not really, belong to you. You would meet a fate not very different from that of the person who mistook the door of a railway carriage for a door in his own house and stepped out if it while the train was running. You would inevitably hurt yourself, break your skull or limbs, and you might even lose your life, but the reality would remain unchanged.
You may very naturally ask me what your proper position is in the light of the realities that I have just expounded before you. My reply is: what is the position of a servant vis-à-vis his master? Is he not duty bound to obey the master’s commands, to work according to his wishes, and not to overstep the bounds of his position as a servant? It is the job of the servant to serve. Similarly, the job of a subordinate officer is to carry out the orders of his superiors and not to try to assume the position of an officer himself. If you happened to own a piece of property, you would naturally like to see it managed precisely according to your wished and desire for that is what right to property entails. If you happened to live in a kingdom where all power was concentrated in the hands of the monarch, what would be your own position in relation to his? Would you not be required to live peacefully like an obedient, law-abiding citizen? And if you decide to assume power yourself, or to transfer your loyalty to the ruler of another land, would you not be a rebel against the real sovereign of the realm and be treated as such?
These examples should have made it perfectly clear to you what your real position is in the realms of the Universe, where the Sovereign is the Almighty God. It is He Who has created you, and it is perfectly obvious that your duty is to live and act in accordance with the will of your creator. It is He Who sustains you and feeds you out of His treasure; your position is just that of a servant and you have no rights or power beyond that. He is the Supreme Sovereign of the whole world, including yourself, and under His sovereignty you cannot have any position or status except that of the subjects of the Sovereign. The earth and the heavens are all His property and its affairs shall, and ought to be, administered and managed after His will. You have no business to try to run the world according to your wished and desire, independent of Him; and if you do so, you are bound to suffer grievously.
God’s sovereignty over the Universe exists by virtue of His own power and authority. The heavens and the earth are all within His power. Whether you like it or not, you are His subjects; and no human being, high or low, great or insignificant, can claim any position or status except that of His subject. His law is the law of the Universe and His command alone is worthy of obedience. None of His subjects has the right to arrogate to himself the position of a sovereign rule. Nor is any individual or legislative body competent to make laws according to their own whims and caprices and call upon the subjects of God to follow that law instead of the Law of God. Nor does any government have the right to enforce its own authority in disregard of the Devine Authority and require people to obey its own command irrespective of the Divine injunctions. Nor is it permissible for any group of men to recognize the rule of any of the pretenders to sovereignty in preference to the rule of the True Sovereign, to abandon the laws of God and accept those made by human law-makers, to reject the commands of the Legitimate Ruler, or to render obedience of all illegitimate, self-appointed authority. All these are acts of rebellion: false claims to sovereignty and recognition of these claims both amount to manifest rebellion and those who are guilty of either of these offences are bound to be punished sooner or later.
God holds every one of us directly under His sway and can call back any of us whenever He wills. No person within the divine realm of the heavens and the earth has the power to escape the arm of the Sovereign and His Law.
After death, your body will be buried in the ground and every particle of it will mingle with dust; or it will be burnt and the ashes will vanish in the air, or it will be devoured by fishes, or dissolved in seawater; but in any case you will not be able to escape the arm of the Divine Law. For the air, the soil, the water and the fish are all subject to the command of God. The moment He issues an injunction you will all be apprehended and produced before him, and He will ask each one of you: By what right did you claim sovereignty while you were naught by My subjects and slaves? Who empowered you to enforce your writ in My realms? Why did you impose your own laws in My dominion? Why did you agree to recognize pretenders while you were My subjects? Why did you obey illegitimate masters while you were My servant? You gave credit to others for providing livelihood to you while, in fact, I sustained you, and you drew your living from My treasury; you obeyed other while you were My slaves, recognized the laws and obeyed the commands of others while living under My sway. What was the sanction for this attitude on your part?
Now, does any one of you have any answer to any of these charges? Is there any lawyer who can defend you against them by his casuistry or forensic skill? Do you have any recommendation that will save you from the grievous penalty prescribed for this rebellion?
Gentlemen, it is not only a question of rights but also one of ability. Is any human individual or group or association really capable of being a sovereign or group or association really capable of being a sovereign or lawmaker or ruler? Even an ordinary machinery is likely to be thrown out of gear if it is operated by a person who does not know its working. For example, entrust a motorcar to a person who does not know driving, and there is no doubt that you will come to grief. How if a machine made of steel and other lifeless metals and materials cannot be used without full knowledge of their nature and working, how could the world of man – who has an extremely complicated psychology, whose life has countless aspects and facets, every one of which has a thousand problems and myriad of difficulties – be ruled and run by men who, far from knowing others, do not know even themselves will enough? When such novices assume the role of law-makers, and such men try to run human life, the fate of man is not likely to be very different from that of the motor care that is entrusted to a person who does not know driving. You can see it for yourselves that wherever man-made laws have been followed instead of the laws of God; and wherever the affairs of men have been run by men in disregard of the Divine commands, there has been on peace or tranquility, and things have tot been properly managed. On the contrary, there is violence and bloodshed oppression and injustice, exploitation and degradation; men are sucking one another’s blood; public morality is being shattered and social well-being destroyed. All the powers and faculties with which God has endowed men are being used for the destruction of mankind rather than for its welfare and progress. The reason why man has turned this world into a veritable hell is that, like a curious child, he haws tried to run a machine about whose mechanism and the manner in which it can be run efficiently. If men can persuade themselves even now to retrace the steps that they have taken on the path of perdition and start following scrupulously the laws laid down by the Maker of the human machine, the damage that mankind has done to itself so far can still be repaired and its life redeemed. There is no other way out of the problems and troubles that is has created for itself.
If you look at the problem a little more deeply, you will find another reason for man’s undoing besides his won ignorance.
The word man or mankind does not signify and particular individual or family or nation. All men are human beings and have the right to live and to get the necessities of life; all are entitled to justice, honour, and dignity. Human welfare signifies not the well-being of any particular individual, family, or nation, but the welfare of all men. Where there is prosperity for a few amidst adversity and hardship for the many, it cannot be claimed that man or mankind is happy and prosperous, and human welfare does not mean the welfare of any particular class or nation; indeed, it has no meaning except in terms of the welfare of the entire mankind.
If you agree with this self-evident truth, how do you think can the welfare and prosperity of mankind be achieved? For my part, I think the goal can be achieved only if laws are made of mankind by one who does not discriminate among men. It can be achieved only if the rights of men are justly determined by one who has no personal stake in the matter and who is not associated with the interest of any family or class, country or nation. It can be achieved only if all are subjects to the commands of one who can neither in his judgement owing to his ignorance or inadequate knowledge, nor abuse his authority in his personal interest, nor take the side of one man against another, or be one man’s friend and another’s foe. This is indeed the only way to establish justice and endues that all individuals, nations, classes and groups will get their due. This is the only way to abolish and liquidate oppression, injustice and tyranny.
If you accept this contention, too, do you think any man on earth could be so fair and just, so impartial, so selfless, and so perfectly free of all human weaknesses? I am sure none of you would venture to answer this question in the affirmative. These attributes belongs to God alone, and no human being can lay claim to the. Any human being, no mater how large hearted and selfless he my be, must have a some personal interests, some associations and attachments. He is bound to feel closer to some of his fellow-men than to others, to have deep affection for some and antipathy towards others. And no human being could claim to be free of all weaknesses and short-comings. This is the reason why we find oppression or injustice, in one form or another, wherever authority is obeyed instead of Divine commands and injunction. Think of the various royal families, which have secured for themselves by force positions of honour and distinction, fabulous wealth, a life of pomp, and privileges that are totally denied to others. They are above the law and cannot be sued in a court no matter what they do. No court can summon them. They commit manifest errors and even blunders, but still the fiction is upheld – accepted by many – that the king can do no wrong. It is patent to all that they are ordinary men like others, but they pose as demi-gods and take their place on a high pedestal far above the common run of men. And ordinary men appear before them with folded hands and on bended knees, scared and frightened – as if they depended upon the royalty for their livelihood and also for their life. The kings and their kinsmen collect money from the people, by fair means and foul and squander it on their palaces and pompous carriages, on luxury and sport. Dogs of the rich often eat things that are fare beyond the reach of the millions of human beings, those very creatures who toil to fill the coffers of the wealthy. Is this justice? Could this scheme of things possibly have been the creation of a just sovereign who had regard for the rights and interests of all men?
Or, think of the Brahmins or other priests, or wealth prices and nobles, or of the feudal lords and other big landowners, or of the business magnates and industrial bosses. All of them consider themselves above the common people. Many a law that they have been able to put on the statue book of various countries invest them with rights that are not available to the common people. They are treated as ‘pure’ and the others as ‘impure’, they are considered respectable and other despicable; they are regarded as noble and the others as mean; they have been made to rob and the common people to be robbed. The life, honour, and property of the common people are often sacrificed to please and propitiate the privileged classes and to keep them happy. Could such rules and regulations possibly be the handiwork of a just being? Do they not reflect glaring selfishness and partiality?
Or, think of the powerful states that have enslaved weaker nations by force. Is there any law or regulations enacted by them that does not betray selfishness? They claim to be superior races, but in fact they regard themselves alone as human beings. They treat members of the weaker nations as inferior men, or not as human beings at al. they try to keep themselves above the other nations in every respect and consider themselves perfectly justified in sacrificing the interests of others for the sake of their own. All the laws made by them or under their pressure of influence clearly betray this attitude of mind.
I have given these few examples merely by way of hints and illustrations and have no time on this occasion to go into details. For the present, I only want to impress upon you the fact that all man-made laws betray injustice of one kind or another. One the one hand, they give a few people much more than due; on the other, they deny to millions not only their due rights and position but also their human status and dignity. The reason for these injustices is not far to seek; when a man sits down to decide a matter his mind is dominated by his own interests and inclinations, or by the interests of his family, race, class, or nation. He cannot look at others with the same understanding and sympathy with which he looks at himself or those who are near or dear to him.
Is there any remedy for these prevailing injustices expect to scrap man-made laws and accept, unconditionally and without reservations, the laws of God is Whose eyes all men are equal as human beings and who distinguished between them on the basis of their piety, virtue, character, conduct and merits, rather than their race, colour, class or nationality.
HOW TO ESTABLISH PEACE?
Gentlemen! There is another aspect of the problem, which cannot be ignored. It is evident that, in the ultimate analysis, the sense of responsibility is the only force that can keep a man under restraint. If a person is convinced that there is nobody to call him to account, no matter what he demands, and that there is no power above him that can punish him, he call naturally tend to lose all sense of discipline and lead an irresponsible and in disciplined life. And this is true of the family, the nation, and of mankind a large, as much as it is true of the individual. A family tends to lose control and exceed the limits of its authority when it finds that there is nobody to question and bring it to book. A class does not hesitate to oppress other classes when it fids that it is not answerable or responsible to anybody. When a nation or empire finds itself strong enough to assert itself with impunity, it sets out to overrun and destroy weaker nations much in the same way as a wolf goes out to maul sheep and goats. Much of the disorder that plagues the world today is due primarily to the fact that most men do not recognize the sovereignty and authority of a Being before Whom they shall all have to answer for their deeds one day, and Who has the power to punish them. Unless they come to recognize and believe in such a Being, oppression and injustice cannot cease, and true peace cannot be established.
Now, who could be this Supreme Being but God Almighty, the Lord and Master of the Universe? He could not possibly be one of the human beings, for any individual or group of men invested with this supreme power would himself tend to become irresponsible and capricious, to rule like a Pharaoh; and there is reason to apprehend that such an individual or group would act selfishly and partially to promote certain people and pull down or disgrace others. Not long ago, the European states set up the League of Nations to solve the problem of international disorder; but very soon the League degenerated into an association of White Nations and, acting as a tool in the hands of a few Great Powers, it began to treat the smaller nations unjustly. The failure of this experiment has left no doubt that we cannot expect the emergence from within the soul of man of an ideal power whose fear can keep all individuals, groups, nations, and empires under restraint, and ensure proper conduct on their part. Such a power must necessarily be outside the human world and above it; and such power could only be the power of God. If we are interested in our own welfare and progress there is no alternative for us but to believe in God, submit to His sovereignty as obedient subjects, and live in the belief that He sees and knows all that we do or think, and that we will have to appear in His court one day to render a full account of our life on the earth. This is indeed the only way that we can hope to become good, peaceful and law-abiding men. Then alone can we have peace in this world and salvation in the hereafter.
A Doubt Dispelled
Before concluding my address, I should like to dispel a doubt, which I presume, might be troubling the mind of some of you. If God’s sovereignity over the Universe is so complete and absolute, you may wonder, if everything, from the particles of dust to the moon and the sun, is under His control, and if man is merely a humble subject in the realm of the Almighty, how is it practically possible for man to rebel against the Divine Sovereign and set up his own dominations in which he rides roughshod over his fellow-men through man-made laws? Why does not the Almighty haul them up and punish them immediately?
I would reply to this question through a simple example.
Suppose, a ruler posts one of his subjects as a district officer, the whole country is under the control of the ruler, all the citizens are his subjects; the railways in the land, the systems of telecommunications, the armed forces, and all other means of power are this disposal. The particular district is surrounded on all sides by the dominations of the ruler; and the officer of the small district is practically helpless in the situation. If the ruler so desires, he can compel the officer into complete loyalty and faithful obedience; but he wants to test his intelligence, sense of duty, ability, and loyalty. He, therefore, gives the officer a long rope – to the extent that he ceases to feel the controlling authority and power of the supreme sovereign.
Now, if the officer is wise loyal and dutiful, he will never lose sight of his position as a subject and a subordinate, and will rule within his limited jurisdiction in accordance with the authority of the sovereign. He will exercise his authority within the framework of the sovereign’s commission and according to the latter’s will and wishes. The loyal and dutiful conduct will prove his competence and ability and the ruler will promote him rapidly to higher positions.
On the other hand, let us imagine that the officer is foolish, disloyal, and wicked, and the people of the district are ignorant and stupid. Taking advantage of the long rope that the sovereign has given him, he decides on rebellion. He take it into his head to rule independently as the lord and master of the district and the people begin to obey him – because they find that he pays them, controls the police and the courts, has the power to punish and hang, and is in a position to make or mar the lives of the people within the district.
The sovereign is aware of the treason of the rebellious officer and its acceptance by the short – sighted people. He is no doubt powerful enough to haul up both and inflict severe and deterrent punishment upon them. But he des not do so; he wants to put both the officer and the people to thorough test. He, therefore, gives them a long rope and looks on with perfect forbearance while they proceed on their disastrous course. He wants all their evil and wickedness to find full expression. The sovereign is absolute and allpowerful and he has no apprehension whatever that the rebellions officer might ultimately march on the capital and dethrone him. And he is sure that the disloyal and rebellious people will never be able to escape from his dominions. He is, therefore, in no hurry to force the issue. He continues to tolerate the situation for many long years. But ultimately, when al the evil latent in the offending officer and the people has manifested itself fully, he swoops on them; and now his punishment is so severe that no trick or stratagem on the part of the offenders can help them to escape it.
Gentlemen, you and I, and all the persons under the sun, including the rulers and the men saddled in authority any where in the world – for they are as much creatures of God as you and I are on trial. Our intelligence and wisdom, our sense of duty and nobility, and our loyalty are being put to a severe test. Every one of us has to decide whether he want s to be loyal or disloyal to the real Lord. This is the most vital question. This is the most important issue that besets man in this life. His success or failure depends on this and this and this alone. Let every one of us do some sincere heart-searching. Have we chosen to be loyal to the Lord – or, are we pursuing the road that leads to disloyalty and betrayal.