“The Applicability of Islam in Varying Conditions of Life
Al-Azhar Magazine – October 1970
Islam is a complete system of life suited to all times and clime and acceptable to all those dwell under the sun. It is but natural for such a universal message to adapt itself to varying conditions of life. Islam is not only a message which become historically effective and vocal through the Prophet at a certain period of time, but equality a message which was proclaimed in every period of history through different media of divine guidance.
The relevance of a perfect religion is not confirmed to any one level of human existence. It ranges from the lowest to the highest level. When the Quran affirms that man was created in the best of forms and then thrown into the lowest depths, it is referring to the authentic man who is created in the natural upright and to his subsequent failure to live up to his divine image.
It main is created in the natural upright he should reflect those basic principles which should govern his relations with his Creator, and his fellow men. Islam inculcates the sense of human community by invoking the historical consciousness, by bringing to mind the panorama of nations succeeded one another. The Quran is addressed to man as man, to man who is unique in creation and who has been assigned a mission which he himself ventured to choose without, of course, fully realizing the consequences of what he chose. In a very remarkable passage the Quran speaks of man as opting for a responsibility which heavens, earth and the mountains shrank, from bearing it and afraid of it: (Al-Ahzab- 72)
إِنَّا عَرَضۡنَا ٱلۡأَمَانَةَ عَلَى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱلۡجِبَالِ فَأَبَيۡنَ أَن يَحۡمِلۡنَہَا وَأَشۡفَقۡنَ مِنۡہَا وَحَمَلَهَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ ظَلُومً۬ا جَهُولاً۬
It means: “Lo! We offered the trust unto heavens and the earth and the hills but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it. Lo! He hath proved a tyrant and a fool.” (33:72)
Two ways are opened to man, either to cooperate with God in establishing a meaningful order or betray the purpose of his creation and fall to a state which is worse than that of an animal. The Holy Quran says: (Al-Araf-179)
وَلَقَدۡ ذَرَأۡنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ ڪَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِۖ لَهُمۡ قُلُوبٌ۬ لَّا يَفۡقَهُونَ بِہَا وَلَهُمۡ أَعۡيُنٌ۬ لَّا يُبۡصِرُونَ بِہَا وَلَهُمۡ ءَاذَانٌ۬ لَّا يَسۡمَعُونَ بِہَآۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ كَٱلۡأَنۡعَـٰمِ بَلۡ هُمۡ أَضَلُّۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰفِلُونَ
It means: “Already have we urged unto hell many of the jinn and human kind, having hearts wherewith they understand not, and having eyes wherewith they see not, and having ears wherewith they hear not. These area as the cattle nay, but they are worse! These are the neglectful.” (7:179)
What really import is the way an individual or nation dispenses of it potentialities within its own temporal framework, not only how long a man lives and to what distances in the infinite space he can fly. But how he lives in the short span of life granted to him both as an individual and as a member of a nation. It man is given only to the satisfaction of his instinctive drives his perspective of his value-consciousness leads to moral pathology, to socio-economic imbalance and mental disorder.
Religion has a double function to fulfill. It is to insist on man’s supra-temporal destiny, his uniqueness which is an inexhaustible in this world, and at the same time on awakening in him the consciousness of unity with the whole of creation. Hence we have to learn not only to live with one another but for one another. The essence of the message of Islam is insistence on believe in Divine Guidance and human responsibility. It is also a call to good words and good deeds.
The applicability of the religion is marked by the answers that it can provide the humanity in the stresses and strain of life. Life has always been a challenge and the ability to meet it adequately guarantees its preservation. These challenges are not addressed to man’s physical existence, but to the totally of his being. In Islam there is a close and inseparable bond between faith and action. The pattern of life of the man who follows the straight path and who alone can truly prosper is given in unequivocal language. In the Islamic perspective hope and faith are knit together and the loss of hope is the loss of faith. None despair of the grace of God but the faithless.
Life’s aim is not to nurse us like babies. It places on our shoulders the burden of moral duties and obligations so that we may gain the maximum strength in acquitting ourselves of them. Through strengthening our moral capability we may become the universal man and enjoy the peace of mind and overcome adverse circumstances of the life.
The daily incidents and accidents of life are the means and measures through which our character is built up. Pain or pleasure discomfort or ease, trials and tribulations or joy and delight only help us in turning our life to the Straight Path. According to the Holy Quran, God has created life and death that to enable us to strive by good deeds to reach a noble state. The Quran says: (Malak-2)
ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ وَٱلۡحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ أَيُّكُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلاً۬ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡغَفُورُ
It means: “he who has created Death and Life that He may try which of you is best in deed.” (67:2)
Life is a perpetual change, an incessant alteration. Man, thus, enters into this war fire of life with the law of life itself and the forces working according to this law. We should not fight against the changes of life, on the other hand e ought to co-operate with them readily and willingly. Also we should have the lessons given to us through these changes or experiences when we learn this lesson and make the necessary changes in our life and character in accordance with it, then our troubles begin to mend and we feel an inward peace and joy within ourselves.
The secret of a successful life lies in adjusting ourselves to the Will of God, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Protector and the Owner of life and death. We have been sent into the world to build up our character passing through the everyday experiences of our life, to manifest the invisible spiritual powers, to make actual the Divine Powers dormant in us. We can submit ourselves to the Will of God only when we willingly co-operate with the experiences of our life through which we are passing and learn the lessons which have come to teach us. It means that all experiences of our life tend to build up our character and help us in our spiritual advancement, so that we may tread in the Straight Path which leads to our supreme good and perfection.
So long as every incident and every experience of life takes us to our supreme good, the wise thing is to co-operate with it, instead of fighting it or working against it. He Holy Quran has stated plainly: (Al-Thawbah-51)
قُل لَّن يُصِيبَنَآ إِلَّا مَا ڪَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوۡلَٮٰنَاۚ وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلۡيَتَوَڪَّلِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ
It means: “Say nothing will happen to us expect what God has decreed for us; He is our Protector; and on God has let the believers put their trust” (9:51). And
وَجَـٰهِدُواْ فِى ٱللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِۦۚ هُوَ ٱجۡتَبَٮٰكُمۡ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فِى ٱلدِّينِ مِنۡ حَرَجٍ۬ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمۡ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَۚ هُوَ سَمَّٮٰكُمُ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ مِن قَبۡلُ وَفِى هَـٰذَا لِيَكُونَ ٱلرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَتَكُونُواْ شُہَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِۚ فَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُواْ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱعۡتَصِمُواْ بِٱللَّهِ هُوَ مَوۡلَٮٰكُمۡۖ فَنِعۡمَ ٱلۡمَوۡلَىٰ وَنِعۡمَ ٱلنَّصِيرُ
It means: “Hold fast to God Who is your Protector-the Best to protect and the Best to help”. (22:78). And again
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَظۡلِمُ ٱلنَّاسَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ أَنفُسَہُمۡ يَظۡلِمُونَ
It means: “Verily God will not deal unjustly with people in aught; it is people that wrong themselves”. (10:44)
It is clear from the principle laid down in the Quran that our outward life is ever a reflection of life within. If a change of the external circumstances-then a change in the inward is imperative as the Quran declares:
لَهُ ۥ مُعَقِّبَـٰتٌ۬ مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡهِ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِۦ يَحۡفَظُونَهُ ۥ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ ٱللَّهِۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِہِمۡۗ وَإِذَآ أَرَادَ ٱللَّهُ بِقَوۡمٍ۬ سُوٓءً۬ا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۥۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ مِن وَالٍ
It means: “Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts…” (13:11)