Comparison: The Students of The Qur'an and The Philosophy

Bahadır Gürler


In the 30th Word which explains the "ana" (ego), Ustad Bediuzzaman mentions about the philosophy that does not obey the religion and compares it with the prophethood as follows:

..the fruits it has presented to mankind are idols and goddesses. Because, according to the principles of philosophy, power is approved. “Might is right” is the norm, even. It says, “All power to the strongest.” “The winner takes all,” and, “In power there is right.” (1) It has applauded the tyranny immaterially, encouraged despots, and urged oppressors to claim divinity.

Also, by appropriating the beauty in works of art and the fineness in the decoration and attributing them to the works of art themselves and their decoration, and by not relating them to the manifestation of the sacred and sheer beauty of the Maker and Fashioner, it says: “How beautiful it is,” instead of, “How beautifully made it is,” thus regarding each as an idol worthy of worship. Moreover, because it admires a fraudulent, boasting, ostentatious, hypocritical beauty that may be sold to anyone, it has acclaimed the hypocrites, and has made idol-like people monuments for its own worshippers.(2) In the branch of power of passion of that tree, it has nurtured the fruits of greater and lesser Nimrods, Pharaohs, and Shaddads ruling over unfortunate mankind. In the branch of power of intellect, it has produced fruits like atheism, Materialism, and Naturalism in the mind of humanity, and has thrown it into confusion. (p.541, The Words)

(1) The principle of prophethood says: 'Power is in right, right is not in power'It thus halts tyranny and ensures justice.

(2) That is to say, in order to appear desirable to their worshippers and to gain their attention, those idol-like people display, through hypocritical ostentation, a sort of worshipful attitude.

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Also in the Gleams, the Words, he makes a similar comparison:

If you want a comparison, look closely at the principles of the civilization of the Sharia and those of present-day civilization, and consider their results:

"The principles of present-day civilization are negative. Its foundations and values are five negative principles. Its machinery is based on these.

  • Its point of support is force instead of right, and the mark of force is aggression and hostility, and their result is treachery.

  • Its goal is mean self-interest/benefit instead of virtue, and the mark of self-interest is botheration and enmity, and their result, crime.

  • Its law of life is “principle of conflict” instead of co-operation, and the mark of conflict is this: contention and repulsion, and their result, misery.

Its principle for relations between peoples is racialism, which flourishes through harming others, is nourished through devouring others and gets strength. The mark of negative nationalism and racialism is ghastly clashes, disastrous collisions, and their result, annihilation.

  • The fifth is this: its alluring service is to excite and ease the lust and the appetites of the soul and facilitate the gratification of whims and their result is vice. The mark of lust and passion is always this: they uglify man’s face, changing his character; they deform him immaterially, perverting his humanity. If most of these civilized people were turned inside out, you would see their characters in the form of apes and foxes, snakes, bears, and swine. They appear to the imagination in their pelts and hairs! Examples of its products are these.

"The Sharia is the balance and equilibrium on the earth. The mercy in the Sharia comes from the skies of the Qur'an. The principles of Qur'anic civilization are positive. Its wheel of happiness turns on five positive principles:

  • Its point of support is truth instead of force, and the constant mark of truth is justice and balance. Security and well-being result from these, and villainy disappears. Its aim is virtue instead of self-interest, and the mark of virtue is love and mutual attraction. Happiness results from this, and enmity disappears.

Its principle in life is the principle of co-operation instead of conflict and killing, and its mark is unity and solidarity, and the community is revived.

Its service takes the form of guidance and direction instead of lust and passion. And the mark of guidance is progress and prosperity in way befitting humanity; the spirit is illumined and perfected in the way it requires.

  • Racialism and negative nationalism repulse the sides of unity within the masses. Instead of them, the brotherhood of belief is bonds of religion, patriotic relations, and ties of class. The marks of these bonds are sincere brotherhood, general well-being; defence in the case of external aggression. You have understood now the reason Islam was offended, and did not embrace civilization.

Up to the present, Muslims have not entered this present civilization voluntarily, it has not suited them, moreover it has clamped on them fetters of bondage.

While it should be the cure for mankind, it has become poison. It has cast eighty per cent into penury and misery, and produced a false happiness for ten per cent.

The remaining ten per cent it has left uneasily between the two. Commercial profits have been the tyrannical minority's. But true happiness is happiness for all;

Or at least salvation for the majority. The Qur'an, revealed as a mercy for mankind, only accepts civilization of this kind,

Happiness for all or at least for the majority. (p.713, The Words)

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Also he compares the pupil of the philosophy and the student of Qur'an as follows:

The pupil who has absorbed your instruction thoroughly becomes a pharaoh. But he is an abject pharaoh who worships the basest things and holds himself to be lord over everything he reckons advantageous. A student of yours is obstinate, but an obstinate wretch who accepts utter abasement for a single pleasure. He is so despicable as to kiss Satan’s foot for some worthless benefit. And he is a bully. But because he has nothing in his heart on which to rely, he is an impotent bullying braggart. His whole aim and endeavour is to satisfy the lusts of his soul, to cunningly seek his own personal interests under the screen of patriotism and devotion, and work to satisfy his ambition and pride. He loves seriously nothing at all other than himself and sacrifices everything for his own sake.

As for the sincere, wholehearted student of the Qur’an, he is a worshipping servant. But he is an esteemed servant who does not stoop to bow in worship before even the mightiest of creatures, and does not make the supreme benefit of Paradise the aim of his worship. And he is mild and gentle, but at the same time noble and gracious and lowers himself before none but the All-Glorious Creator, and only stoops before the lowly with His permission and at His command. And he is needy, but due to the reward his All-Generous Owner is storing up for him in the future, he is at the same time self-sufficient. And he is weak, but he is strong in his weakness for he relies on the strength of his Lord whose power is infinite. Would the Qur’an make its true student take this fleeting, transient world as his aim and purpose while not making him have even eternal Paradise as his goal? Thus you can understand how the two students’ aims and endeavours differ from one another. (p.118, The Flashes)

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