Revelation and Prophethood

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Revelation and Prophethood Author:
Publisher: Islamic Seminary Publications
Category: Prophethood

Revelation and Prophethood

Author: Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari
Publisher: Islamic Seminary Publications

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Revelation and Prophethood

Revelation and Prophethood

Publisher: Islamic Seminary Publications

Chapter 3: The Object ofProphethood

As now the role of the Prophets in the development of historyhas been made clear to a certain extent, we take up another question. The questionis: What is the main object or the final goal for which the Prophets were raised and the Divine Books sent down?

Ingeneral terms it may be said that the main object is the guidance, salvation, well-being and prosperity of people.

There is no doubt that the Prophetswere raised for guiding people to the straight path and saving their souls.But that is not the point. The point is to what final goal this straight path leads. What does the well-being of people imply according to the school of the Prophets? From what restraints and impediments does this school want to deliver man? What constitutes the ultimate good and prosperity according to it?

The Holy Qur'an in a number of verses has either expressly dealt with this subject or has hinted at it. It has mentioned two definitepoints which constitute the ultimate object ofProphethood , while the teachings of the Prophets are a prelude to them. These points are:

(i ) The acknowledgement of Allah and coming close to Him and

(ii) The establishment of justice andfairplay in human society.

The Holy Qur'an says: "Prophet, We have surely sent you as a witness, a bringer of good tidings, awarner ,a summoner to Allah by His permission and as a lamp that gives light." (Surah al-Ahzab , 33:45 - 46)

It is evident that out of all the qualities mentioned in this verse, the onlyquality which is fit to be considered the main object is that of summoning to Allah.

The Holy Qur'an in respect of the Prophets says: "We surely sent Our Messengers with clear proofs and revealed on them the Book and the criterion (to judge what is right and what is wrong) so that people may establish justice." (Surah al-Hadid , 57:25)

This verse expressly describes the establishment of justice as an object of raising the Prophets.

Summoning people to acknowledge Allah and to come close to Him implies preaching the theoretical and individualistic form of practical monotheism, and to establish justice andfairplay in society implies establishing practical monotheism on social level.

Now the question arises whether the main object of the coming of the Prophets is the acknowledgement of Allah, and all other things including the establishment of social justice are a prelude to it, or the main object is the establishment of social justice and the acknowledgement and worship of Allah are the means of the realization of thatidea? If we use the same terminology as used by us earlier, we can thus recast this question:Is the main object theoretical monotheism and practical monotheism on individual level or is it practical monotheism on social level ? Several answershave been given to this question:

(i ) From the viewpoint of the object, the Prophets were dualists. In otherwords their object wastwo fold . One of their objects concerned the next worldly life and human success in the Hereafter (theoretical monotheism and practical monotheism on individual level). The other object concerned human success in this world (social monotheism). In order to ensure the prosperityof mankind in this world the Prophets preached social monotheism and to ensure human well-being in the next world they preached theoretical monotheism and practical monotheism on individual level, which is purely a spiritual and intellectual matter.

(ii) Another view is that the main object of the Prophets is social monotheism. Theoretical monotheism and practical monotheism on individual level are essential preliminaries to it. Theoretical monotheism concerns the acknowledgement of Allah. Man as such is in no need of acknowledging Him. It is immaterial for man whether the force motivating his spirit is Allah or thousands of other things.Similarly it makes no difference to Allah whether man acknowledges Him or does not acknowledge, worships Him or does not worship.

Anyhow perfection of man depends on his adherence to collective monotheism, which in its turn cannot be achieved without the materialization of theoretical monotheism and practical monotheism on individual level. Allah has enjoined on man to acknowledge Him and worship Him so that collective monotheism may take a practical shape.

(iii) The third view is that the main object is the acknowledgement of Allah and coming near to Him. Social monotheism is the means of achieving this noble object. As we mentioned earlier, according to the monotheistic conception of the world its nature is 'from Him' 'to Him'.Hence man's perfection lies in going to Him and gaining His nearness. Man has one special distinction. Allah has said: "I have breathed into himMy spirit." (Surah al-Hijr , 15:29)

As such man's, reality is Divine. Bynature he seeks Allah. His well-being, evolution,safety and prosperity all lie in the acknowledgement and worship of Allah and in making an advancement towards Him. The Prophets have undertaken to establish justice and to do away with tyranny and discrimination, because man being social by nature, we can have no conception of him apart from society. He cannot strive to seek proximity to Allah also, if a just system does not prevail in society. Infact such social values as justice, freedom, equality and democracy and such moral qualities as generosity, forgiveness, love and charity have no intrinsic value of their own. They in themselves are not the qualities denoting human excellence. They are simply the means of gaining excellence and perfection, not the ends. They pave the way for prosperity and salvation but do not constitute salvation.

(iv) The fourth theory is similar to the third one in so far as according it also the goal or the highest degree of excellence not only of manbut of every existing thing is to move towards Allah.But according to it, it is polytheistic to assert that the Prophets have had a twofold object.Similarly it is a materialistic idea to say that the ultimate object of the Prophets is this worldly prosperity, which is nothing but the enjoyment of the gifts of nature in an atmosphere of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. Anyhow, according to this theory, though social and moral values are only a means of reaching the real value, that is the acknowledgement of Allah and His worship, they do not totally lack an intrinsic value of their own.

The relationship between a preliminary and the main object is of two kinds. In certain cases the preliminary serves only as a prelude and after the objectis achieved , its existence or nonexistence becomes immaterial. For example, a man wants to cross a water channel and for thatpurpose he puts a stone in the middle of it.Evidently after he has crossed the channel, the existence or the non-existence of that stone is of no importance to him.

The same is the case with the ladder used to climb to a roof and the mark-sheet of a class for the purpose of promotion to the next higher class. In some othercases a preliminary does not lose its value even after the main object has been achieved. Even after the realization of the main object, itsexistence still remains necessary. For example, theinformation which is acquired by a student in class I and class II is still required by him when he reaches a higher class. He cannot afford to forget all that he had learnt in these classes. He can continue to be in a higher class only if he retains the knowledge that he acquired in these lower classes.

The explanation is that in some cases a preliminary is a lower stage of the object itself, whereas in some other cases it is not. A ladder is not a stage of getting to the roof.Similarly a stone put in the middle of a channel is not a stage of crossing it.But the knowledge gained in lower classes and the knowledge to be gained in higher classes are the various stages of the same reality.

The relation between the moral and social values on the one hand and the acknowledgement and worship of Allah on the other is of the second type. A man who acknowledges Allah and worships Him cannot afford to be indifferent to honesty, righteousness, justice, charity, sincerity,munificence and forgiveness. All high and noble moral qualities are Divine.

There is ahadith which says: "Adopt the moral qualities of Allah". Infact the noble moral qualities are a part of the acknowledgement and worship of the Divine Being, for their adoption emanates from an inherent desire to have Divine attributes, though man may not be conscious of that fact. That is why according to Islamic teachings the good deeds of even the polytheists will not go in vain in the next world if they have such noble qualities as justice, generosity, philanthropy etc. They will be recompensed in some way or other provided their disbeliefis not due to stubbornness. Infact such people attain a degree of godliness unconsciously.

Chapter 4: Religion or Religions

The scholars of divinity and the writers on the history of religion usually discuss their subject under the heading of religions. For example, they talk of Prophet Ibrahim's religion, the Jewish religion, the Christianreligion and the religion of Islam. They regard every Prophet to whom a code of lawwas revealed as the founder of a separate religion.

But the Holy Qur'an has its own terminology and its own style. From its point ofview there has been only one Divine religion from the beginning to the end. All Prophets irrespective of the fact whether they had or hadnot an independent code of law, had the same mission and preached the same message. Their basic principles called religion were the same. Their teachings differed only in rules and subsidiary matters of secondaryimportance which varied according to the requirements of the time, the peculiarities of the environment and the characteristics of the people whom these Prophets addressed.But in spite of the difference in the form of their teachings, all Prophets visualized one single goal.

Apart from the difference ofform there was a difference of level also. The Prophets who came later, their teachings were of a higher level in keeping with the stage of the human development. For example, there is a vast difference in the level of the teachings of Islam and those of the earlier Prophets in respect of the genesis of man, theHereafter and the conception of the world. In otherwords manvis -a-vis the teachings of the Prophets is like a student who is brought up step by step from class I to the highest class. This process signifies the development of religion, not the difference of religions.

The Holy Qur'an has nowhere here used the word religion in a plural form. From the point of view of the HolyQur'an what has existed is the religion, not the religions. There exists one big difference between the Prophets and the great philosophers and other outstanding social leaders. Each eminent philosopher has had his own school. That is why so many schools of philosophy have always existed in the world. In contrast, the Prophets have always corroborated and never contradicted each other. Had any one of the Prophets lived in the time and environment of another Prophet, he would have preached the rules of law and conduct similar to those preached by the latter.

The Holy Qur'an declares expressly that all Prophets form one single series. The earlier Prophets foretold about the later ones, and the latter Prophets acknowledged the earlier ones. The HolyQur'a'n also says that Allah made a covenant with the Prophets to the effect that they would believe in each other and help each other. It says:

"When Allah made the covenant with the Prophets, He said.' Here are the Scripture and thewisdom which I have given you. Later a Prophet will come to you confirming what you possess. You shall believe in Him and you shall help him. He thensaid: 'Do you agree to this and take the responsibility I placed on you?' They answered: 'We agree. Hesaid: 'Then bear witness and I will bear witness with you." (Surah AleImran , 3:81)

The Holy Qur’an calls the Divine religion Islam and described it as a continuous process from Adam to the last Prophet. This does not mean that the Divine religionhas always been known by this name. Whatis meant is that Islam is the best word to describe the nature of this religion. That is why the Holy Qur'an says: "There is no doubt that the only true faith in Allah's sight is Islam." (Surah AleImran , 3:19)

At anotherplace the Holy Qur'an says: "Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He was upright in faith and a Muslim" (Surah AleImran , 3:67)

Chapter 5: Finality ofProphethood

We have said that despite the differences in details all Prophets have delivered the same message and belonged to the same ideological school. The principles and teachings of this school were explained to human society gradually in proportion to its developmenttill the humanity reached the stage when the entire teachings in a comprehensive form were presented. At this pointProphethood came to an end . The Holy Prophet, Muhammad bin Abdullah (Peace be on him and his progeny) was the person through whom the complete ideology was conveyed, and the Holy Qur'an was the last celestial Book. The Holy Qur'an itself says:

"In truth and justice has been perfected the word of your Lord. None can change His words." (Surah al-An'am , 6:115)

Now let us see why in the past theProphethood was renewed from time to time and so many Prophets were raised in succession, though most of them were not given a new and independent code of law and were sent to promulgate then existing code? Why did this procedurecome to an end with the last Prophet since whose time no Prophet, neither a law-giving one nor a preaching one has come, nor will ever come? Here we touch upon the reasons briefly.

Reasons of the Renewal ofProphethood

ThoughProphethood is one continuous process and the Divine message, as the religion is not more than one reality, the reasons of the appearance of so many law-giving and preaching Prophets in succession and the termination ofProphethood after the advent of the last Prophet are as under:

Firstly the ancient man because of his intellectual immaturity was unable to preserve his celestial Book. Usually the Divine Books were either altered and corrupted or were lost totally.Therefore it was necessary that the message should be renewed from time to time. The revelation of the Holy Qur'an corresponded with a period when humanity had passed the period of its childhood and had become able to preserve its intellectual heritage. That is why there could be no alteration in the last Divine and Holy Book. The Muslims committed to memory and recorded in writing every verse of it as it was revealed, and did away with every possibility of addition,omission or alteration in it.Thus one of the reasons of the renewal ofProphethood disappeared.

Secondly, humanity being immature, it was not previously competent enough to have a comprehensive plan for its guidance, and hence it was necessary that it should be guided by the Prophets piecemeal andstep by step .

Anyhow, by the period of the finalProphethood humanity had developed to the extent that it was able to have a comprehensive plan of conduct and it was no longer necessary that it should receive guidance stage by stage. Besides the extinction of the old celestial Books and the alteration in them, another reason for the continual renewal ofProphethood was that man in olden days was not able to receive a comprehensive plan. When his ability sufficiently developed, a comprehensive scheme was put at his disposal and this reason of the renewal ofProphethood also disappeared. Now the Muslim scholars who were specialists in this field, can guide the Muslims in the light of this scheme and can frame the rules and procedures for them to suit every occasion.

Thirdly, the overwhelming majority of the Prophets consisted of the preaching and not the law-giving Prophets. The number of the law-giving Prophets did not exceed the number of the fingers of one hand. The task of the preaching Prophets was to propagate,interpret and promulgate the religious law prevailing during their time. Now the religious scholars of the age of the finality ofProphethood , which is the age of knowledge, are capable of applying the general principles of Islam to the requirements of the time and place and deducing the rules of religious laws.

This processis called ijtihad . The outstanding Muslim divines in this way perform many duties of the preaching Prophets and some of those even of the law-giving Prophet without being thelaw-givers themselves. They guide the MuslimUmmah . Thus, though the need of religion still exists andis expected to be ever increasing with the further cultural development of humanity, the need of the new Prophets and the new revealed Books has ceased to exist.And hence Prophethood has come to an end with the final Prophet.

It is clear from what has been mentioned that intellectual and social maturityof mankind has played a big role in the finality ofProphethood in several ways:

(i ) It has enabled man to keep his celestial Book unaltered.

(ii) It has enabled him to receive his evolutionaryprogramme all at once and not by stages.

(iii) It has enabled him to undertake the task of preaching and propagating religion, to set up religious institutions, to exhort people to do what is good and to restrain them from what is evil.Thus there is no longer any need of preaching Prophets who used to preach and propagate the teachings of the law-giving Prophets.This need is now being adequately fulfilled by the religious scholars and Divines .

(iv) From the viewpoint of mental development man has now reached a stage that in pursuance of hisijtihad he can interpret the revealed words and can apply the relevant principles to all the changing circumstances.This task is also being performed by the religious scholars .

It is evident that the finality ofProphethood does not mean that man is no longer in need of Divine teachings received through revelation.Prophethood has notcome to an end because as the result of his mental development man is now able to dispense with religion.

The eminent scholar and great Muslim thinker, DrIqbal , in spite of his extraordinarily intelligent discussions of the Islamic questions by which wehave personally been greatly benefited and of which we have made use in this and other books, has been involved in a great misunderstanding while explaining the philosophy of the finality ofProphethood . He has based his conclusions on certain points, which we mention below, point by point:

(i ) The word 'wahi ' (revelation) which literally means 'to whisper', has been used by the Holy Qur’an in an expanded sense to include every kind of inspired guidance whether its recipient be inorganic material, plants, animals or man. Hesays: "This contact with the root of his own being is by no means peculiar to man. Indeed the way in which the word 'wahi ' is used in the Holy Qur'an shows that the Holy Qur'an regards it as a universal property of life, though its nature and character are different at different stages of the evolution of life. The plant growing freely in space, the animal developing a new organ to suit a new environment, and a human being receiving light from the inner depths of life, are all cases of inspiration varying in character according to the needs of the recipient, or the needs of the species to which the recipient belongs". (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 125)

(ii)Wahi or revelation is a sort of instinct and the guidance by means of revelations is a sort of instinctive guidance.

(iii)Wahi isa guidance from collective point of view. Human society being a moving unit and subject to the laws of motion, is definitely in need of guidance. The Prophet is just like a receivingset which instinctively receives what is required by mankind in this respect. DrIqbal says: "The world-life intuitively sees its own needs and at critical moments defines its own direction. This is what, in the language of religion, we call Prophetic revelation". (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 147)

(iv) In their primitive stages the living beings are guided by their instinct. As they go to the higher stages of evolution and their faculties of feeling,imagination and thinking develop, the power of instinct is reduced and is replaced by feeling and thinking Power. Thus the insects have the most numerous and the strongest instincts andman the weakest and the smallest in number.

(v) From sociological point of view human society is passing through an evolutionary process, Just as the animals in their primary stages have been in need of instinct and have gradually developed their faculties of feeling and imagination, and in certain cases of thinking also, and their instinctive guidance has been replaced by the guidance through feeling and imagination, similarly man in his evolutionary process has gradually reached a stage in which his rationality has so developed that his instinctive power (wahi or inspiration) has weakened. DrIqbal says: "During the minority of mankind psychic energy develops what I call Prophetic consciousness - a mode of economizing individual thought and choice by providing ready-madejudgements , choices and ways of action. With the birth of reason and critical faculty, however, life in its own interest inhibits the formation and growth of non-rational modes of consciousness through which psychic energy flowed at an earlier stage of human evolution. Manis primarily governed by passion and instinct. Inductive reason, which alone makes man master of his environment, is in itself an achievement. Once born it must be reinforced by inhibiting the growth of other modes of knowledge". (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 125).

(vi) Basically the world has passed through two ages: the age of inspiration and the age of rational thinking and reflection on nature and history. The ancient world produced a few great systems of philosophy (like Greek and Roman).Anyhow their value was limited as humanity was still passing through the period of its minority. DrIqbal says: "There is no doubt that the ancient world produced some great systems of philosophy at a time when man was comparatively primitive and governed more or less by suggestion. But we must not forget that this system-building in the ancient world was the work of abstract thought, which cannot go beyond the systematization of vague religious beliefs and traditions, and gives us no hold on the concrete situations of life". (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 126)

(vii) The Holy Prophet with whomProphethood came toend, belonged to the ancient as well as the modern world. As the source of his inspiration was revelation and not the experimental study of nature and history, he belonged to the ancient world; but as the spirit of his teachings called for rational thinking and the study of nature and history with the birth of which the job of revelationis terminated , he belonged to the modern world. DrIqbal says: "Looking at the matter from this point of view, the Prophet of Islam seems to stand between the ancient and the modern world.

In so far as the source of his revelation is concerned, he belongs to the ancient world; and in so far as the spirit of his revelation is concerned, he belongs to the modern world. Inhim life discovers other sources of knowledge suitable to its new direction. The birth of Islam is the birth of inductive intellect. InIslam prophecy reaches its perfection in discovering the need of its own abolition. This involves the keen perception that lifecannot forever be kept in leading strings; hence, in order to achieve full self-consciousness, man must finally be thrown back on his own resources. The abolition of priesthood and hereditary kingship in Islam, the constant appeal to reason and experience in the Holy Qur'an and the emphasis it lays on Nature and History as sources of human knowledge, are all different aspects of the same idea of finality". (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 126)

These are the main points of the philosophy of the finality ofProphethood as conceived by DrIqbal .Unfortunately this philosophy is unsound and several of its principles are incorrect.

The first objection to which it is amenable is that if this philosophy was accepted, that would mean that not only there was no longer any need of a new Prophet or a new revelation,but that there was also no need of any guidance by revelation at all, for experimental intellect had taken its place. This philosophy is the philosophy of the end of religion and not that of the finality ofProphethood .

If this philosophy was accepted, the only thing that Islamic revelation could do was to proclaim the end of the era of religion and the beginning of the era of reason and science.Evidently this idea is not only contrary to the belief in the necessity of Islam but is also contrary to the view held by DrIqbal himself. All his efforts in fact, are directed to prove that reason and science though necessary for human society are not enough. Man requires faith and religion as much as he requires science and knowledge. DrIqbal says in clear terms that life is in need of fixed principles as well as changing minor factors, and thatijtihad is meant to apply the set principles to the specific situations.

Hesays: "The new culture finds the foundation of world-unity in the principle of 'Tawhid ' (monotheism). Islam as a polity is the only practical means of making this principle a living factor in the intellectual and emotional life ofmankind. It demands loyalty to Allah, not to thrones.And since Allah is the ultimate spiritual basis of all life, loyalty to Him virtually amounts to man's loyalty to his own ideal nature. The ultimate spiritual basis of all life, as conceived by Islam, is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change.

A society based on such a conception of reality must reconcile, in its life, to the categories of permanence andchange . It must possess eternal principles to regulate its collective life; because eternity gives us a foothold in the world of perpetual change.But eternal principles when they are understood to exclude all possibilities of change which, according to the Holy Qur'an, is one of the greatest signs of Allah, tend to immobilize what is essentially mobile in its nature. The failure of Europe in political and social science illustrates the former principle; the immobility of Islam during the last 500 years illustrates the latter. What then is the principle of movement in Islam? Thisis known as 'ijtihad '. (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 147)

According to the above statement, guidance of revelation will always be required, and the guidance provided by experimental intellect will never be able to take its place. DrIqbal himself supports the principle of the permanent need of guidance.But the philosophy he has put forward to explain the finality ofProphethood , requires that not only there should be no need of any new Prophet and new revelation, but that religion itself should come to an end.

This misleading interpretation of finality by DrIqbal means that man's need of guidance and education by the prophets is of the same nature as the need of a class by a child.

The child every year goes to the next class and changes his teacher.Similarly man in every period has gone to the next stage, and required a new code of religious law. When the child reaches the final class, he completes his education and gets a certificate to that effect. Thereafter he is no longer in need of a teacher and can carry on his research independently. In the sameway the man of the age of finality with the proclamation of the end ofProphethood has secured the certificate of the completion of his education. He can nowundertake the study of Nature and History independently. That is whatijtihad means. With the end ofProphethood man has reached the stage of self-sufficiency.

There is no doubt that such an interpretation of the finality ofProphethood is wrong. The consequent results of this sort of interpretation are acceptable neither to DrIqbal himself, nor to those who have drawn these conclusions from what he has stated.

Further, should the view of DrIqbal be correct, thething which he calls 'inner experience' (spiritual light and inspirations received by saintly persons) should also cease to exist, for it is also supposedly a part of the instinct which languishes with the appearance of experimental intellect.But according to DrIqbal that mystic experience still continues to exist. He asserts that from Islamic point of view inner experience is one of the three sources of human knowledge, the other two being Nature and History.Personally also DrIqbal has a strong mystic tendency.

He firmly believes in inspiration. Hesays: "The idea however, does not mean that mystic experience, which qualitatively does not differ from the experience of the Prophets, has now ceased to exist as a vital fact. Indeed the Holy Qur'an regards both 'Anfus ' (self) and 'Afaq ' (world) as sources of knowledge. Allah reveals His signs in inner as well as outer experience, and it is the duty of man to judge the knowledge yielding capacity of all aspects of experience. The idea of finality, therefore,should not be taken to suggest that the ultimate fate of life is complete displacement of emotion by reason. Such a thing is neither possible nor desirable.

The intellectual value of the idea is that it tends to create an, independent critical attitude towards mystic experience by, generating the belief that all personal authority, claiming a supernatural origin hascome to an end in the history of man... Mystic experience then, however unusual and abnormal, must. now be regarded by a Muslim as a perfectly natural experience open to critical scrutiny like other aspects of human experience"., (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 126)

What DrIqbal means to say is that with the end ofProphethood the inspirations and miracles of the saintly persons have, notcome to an end , though they are no longer so authoritative, as they were in the past. Prior to the birth of experimented intellect, miracles had a perfectly natural authority. They were not open to any doubt.But for the intellectually developed man (of the age of finality) these things have ceased to be authoritative, and are now like other occurrences and phenomena open to critical scrutiny. Pre-finality period was that of miracles and supernatural events, but the age of finality is the age of reason, which does not regard any supernatural occurrence as a proof of anything. It judges every reality discovered through a mystic experience in accordance with its own standards.

This part of the remarks of DrIqbal is also not sound neitherin regard to the pre-finality nor in regard to the post-finality period. We will make our comments on it under the following heading:

Miracles of the Final Prophet

Furthermore, the view expressed by DrIqbal that revelation is a sort of instinct, is also wrong. This view has led him to make several other mistakes. As DrIqbal himself is fully conscious, of the fact, an instinct is a purely innate,unacquired and unconscious propensity. It is a faculty lower than senses and intellect with which the primitive animals such as insects and other animals of a class lower than that ofinsects, have been provided according to the law of creation. With the development of other means of guidance such as senses and intellect, instinctis weakened and becomes dormant. That is whyman who among the animals enjoys the highest degree of thinking power, has the weakest instinctive power.

In contrast, revelation is a means ofguidance which ranks higher than senses and intellect and to a great extent is something which is acquired. Above all, it is the highest degree of consciousness, and the field in which it makes discoveries is farvaster than the field in which experimental intellect can work.

In a previous section of this book, while discussing the question of ideology, we have proved that in view of the variety of the individual and social capabilities of man, complexity of his social relations and the dubiousness of the end of his evolutionary journey, the ideologies propounded by the philosophers and sociologists are misleading and bewildering. There is only one way open to man to have a sound ideology and that is the way of revelation. If we do not accept the way of revelation, we shall have to admit that man is unable to have an ideology at all.

The modern thinkers believe that the future line of the developmentof mankind can be determined through human ideologies only stage by stage. In other words, at every stage only the next stage can be determined, and that too according to the belief of thesegentlemen . Asfor the subsequent stages and whether there exists any final stage at all, nothing is known. The fate of such ideologies is evident.

We wish that DrIqbal , who more or less studied the works of the Muslimgnostics and was especially devoted to theMathnavi ofRumi , could have gone deeper into these works and found a better explanation of the finality ofProphethood . Thegnostics say thatProphethood terminated because all the individuals and social stages of human development along with the way that man should follow to attain themwere revealed all together. As thereafter none could discover anything additional, it was the duty of everyone to follow this last message.

Thesufis say: that the final is he, who has finalizedall stages, and leaves no stage uncovered. This is the basis of finality, not the development of the experimental intelligence of society as conceived by DrIqbal .If he had made a deeper study of the works of only thosesufis to whom he himself was devoted, (likeRumi ), he could know that revelation is not an instinct. It is a spirit and soul superior to the rational spirit.Rumi , the mystic poet says:

"Know that the soul of man is different from that of a cow and a donkey, and again the soul of a Prophet and a saint (holy man) is different from that of an ordinary man."

"The body is visible, but the soul is hidden.Again intellect is more hidden than soul. The spirit of revelationis still more hidden . The intellect of the Holy Prophetcould be perceived by anybody. But the spirit of his revelation was not so perceptible".

"He was guided by the Protected Tablet and that is why was protected from any mistake and error. Divine revelation is neither astrology nor geomancy nor a dream. It is a fact and reality".

It appears that DrIqbal has unconsciously made the same mistake as was made by the Western world, which holds that.knowledge has replaced faith. Ofcourse DrIqbal was severely opposed to this theory of replacement.But his philosophy of the finality ofProphethood somehow leads to the same conclusion. DrIqbal describes revelation as a sort of an instinct. He also asserts that instincts cease to function when intellectual and thinking faculties begin to work.This remark of his is correct but is applicable to those cases in which thinking power performs the same function that was previously performed by an instinct.But in those cases in which their functions are different, there is no reason why an instinct should cease to work when thinking power becomes active.Therefore even if we suppose that Divine revelation is a sort of instinct whose function is to put forward a sort of world conception and an ideology not produced by intellect and thinking power, there, is no reason why with the development of inductive intellect, in the words of DrIqbal , the function of this instinct should come to an end.

The fact is that DrIqbal in spite of all his outstanding talent, extraordinaryintelligence and love of Islam is basically a product of Western culture, for his entire education was Western, though he made some studies in Islamic culture, especially in Islamic law, mysticism and philosophy. That is the reason why he sometimes makes grave mistakes. In the preface of our book, Principles of Philosophy and Method of Realism, vol. V, we have referred to the faultiness of DrIqbal's ideas about deep philosophical questions. That is why it is not proper to draw a comparison between him andSayyid Jamiluddin Asadabadi . 1 Though from the viewpoint of mental endowmentsJamaluddin is not comparable to DrIqbal , his original education wasIslamic and Western education was only his secondary acquisition. In addition, the lateJamaluddin , owing to his vast travels in the Muslim countries and a close study of their affairs was more conversant than DrIqbal with the situation in the Muslim world.Therefore unlike Drlqbal he did not make any grave mistakes in evaluating certain events which took place in some Muslim countries like Turkey and Iran, for he could judge them better.


1. Popularly known asJamaluddin Afghani.