In this chapter let us briefly consider some of the fundamental views that are held about human life. There are two main perspectives that deal with life from birth till the moment of death and beyond death to a period of eternal life. According to one view, life is the result of a cosmic accident that happened by chance, and it was only by a fortunate coincidence that the human species was endowed with qualities that make it superior to all other creatures. In particular, the cause of Man’s distinction and excellence over all other life forms is because of his superior intelligence. This world view on life concludes that Mankind is not indebted to any external power for creating this extraordinary and amazing ‘accident’ of life. This is for the simple reason that there is no other force that Man should express gratitude towards.
He is therefore absolutely free to decide the laws by which to live his life and how to act and behave. His decisions are based on his experiences and are guided by his superior consciousness. He alone is ultimately responsible for the survival or annihilation of the human species. The inevitable fact is that the natural resources of the Earth will not be able to sustain human life forever. However, before this or any other cosmic disaster occurs, the ultimate solution for Mankind would be to transport themselves to another planet or star whose conditions would be able to sustain life. In the event of a cosmic catastrophe that encompasses the entire universe, this amazing life form produced by chance will unfortunately become the victim of a major mass extinction of life.
As far as ethics is concerned, this philosophy of life regards Mankind to be the ultimate arbiter of morality - liberal and secular democracies hold sacred the belief that the decision of the majority should be respected and honoured. This means that the people of a single nation, or indeed the world, could collectively agree to change and wipe out the ethical framework and rules that due to a ‘lack of knowledge’ have for centuries embroiled human civilisation in the quagmire of reward and sin. They could replace this moral code with an ethical system that safeguards wealth and privilege, respects personal freedoms and protects the interests of powerful global forces. This could lead to a scenario where all the countries of the world live in the shadow of a mighty and dominant nation who has the ultimate authority of being the Lord of the Earth; it has the right to demand that all other nations and forces abandon their own perspectives on life and offer total allegiance to it. In return, it will offer them protection and will make arrangements for them to have food and employment. It will also help them to protect themselves from disease. If the nations of the world will not live as its feudal vassals offering payments to this master, then they must at least live as its tax payers.
An alternative outcome of this new ethical system is that the nations of the world are divided into advanced, developing and least developed countries. The result of this is that the advanced nations of the world have the right to impose their moral, social and economic values on all weaker nations: this is the price they have to pay if they want support in developing their countries. Gradually, a hierarchy of nations emerges in which countries that are economically advanced and more 'civilised’ are regarded as superior to others. The opinions and sentiments of individuals, regions and nations who dare to question these superior countries are declared to be the result of bigotry and promptly dismissed. If they still persist then they are branded as enemies of humanity and military action is instigated against them to ensure that world peace and security is not threatened by the rise of such divisive forces.
Another feature of this ‘modern’ ethical framework is that it recognises that power and force are ever present on the ground, and therefore it extends total respect to anyone who possesses the qualities of might and influence. It is maintained that a single world government, ruling a global country in which all people live according to a uniform lifestyle will be able to ensure that human society will become a cradle of justice and goodwill, brimming with food and employment. This dream has inspired generations of Mankind and it cannot be realised without military force and a unilaterally imposed rule of law.
It is assumed that an ethical system that does not include God will empower people to overcome the basic existential realities of life. They will not fall victim to psychological manipulation, brainwashing and ruthless advertising; and nor will they will be subjected to any coercive laws. The uncontrollable and disparate members of the human race will all become indistinguishable from each other, like standardised numbers in a list of data. Without God, Mankind will move to subjugating and controlling the entire universe. The conquest of space will continue and humanity will be in control of an unlimited supply of resources. Means of communication will advance to an unprecedented level. New forms of reproducing and propagating life will be available. Progression and advancement will solely be based on merit and character of individuals.
The constraints of life and death will be reduced, if not totally annihilated. We will conquer death and ensure that unnecessary births are eradicated from the start. Mankind will press forward, and without any fear will establish colonies in space and this will reduce the over-population predicted on planet Earth. The planets and galaxies produced as a result of the Big Bang are so numerous that every single human being could be allotted their own personal star in space! This New world will be governed by a central representative body with an agreed presidential system. Man will be able to claim that he is the master of the universe. The power and control of the President of the Universe can only be described in terms and attributes that are currently used to refer to Almighty God.
This vision of humanity’s future is both a dream and a possibility. The basic blueprint of such a vision has been drawn up and some steps have already been taken in this direction. However, God is the biggest threat in the way of realising this dream. God who has existed pre-eternally, created Man, the universe and the rest of Creation from nothingness: He is the one who established the order of life, opened our awareness to the laws that govern the universe, and made both life and death subject to certain principles. He is the one who controls events and occurrences and is the master of the physical, intermediate and spiritual realms. He has proportioned and structured every atom in due measure in accordance with His master plan (Lauh-e-Mahfooz): and he has permitted no-one to meddle or interfere in His governance of the cosmos.
This is God whose decisions are final. He is above ties of kinship and favouritism. He has the power to shatter the dream of human power and progress at any time. It is He who has determined the extent of the Earth’s duration, the life of Man, and the age of the universe. The presence of God means that Man is not independent and does not have total liberty to act as he pleases. In truth he is utterly helpless and dependent. The human intellect makes it clear that it is God alone who comes between the vision of humanity as self-sufficient, free agents and a view that perceives Mankind to be totally dependent and needy. If Man is to pursue his dream of ultimate power and control, it is necessary to resolve the question of whether God exists. Otherwise all of our predictions, conjectures and calculations based on advanced computer programmes and statistical techniques will have as much meaning and significance as the plans concocted by Don Quixote.
We need to establish whether there is such a power that, in the blink of an eye, could cause the destruction of human greatness by directing an asteroid on a path of collision with planet Earth. Is there a force that could infect the human mind with a virus that would leave us all crippled in a vegetative state, and at the flicker of an eyelid it could suspend the faculties of the heart and mind, a force that in a fit of anger could transform the advanced Homo Sapiens into Chimpanzees once again? A power that is not bound by events and that does not allow any ‘coincidences’ to occur without its will? He is such an Absolute Ruler that He can wipe out the worlds worst tyrants and dictators by means of a deadly infection or thrombosis. In fact with a simple gesture of His hand of dominance he can transform the realities of the universe into a mirage or an imaginary illusion. Making claims of greatness in the presence of a God who has the power to do all this begins to seem a bit futile. If such a contender to human greatness exists then what course is left open to Mankind?
There are only two options.
Mankind can either acknowledge and submit to this force and continue to pursue their dream of greatness and control of the Universe with His blessing; or they can reject Him and wage a futile war that can only lead to hell and the total annihilation of Mankind. However, before this possibility materialises is it not necessary for the human race to focus their minds and establish whether such a threat really does exist? Would it not have been wise for the whole of Mankind to reflect collectively and find an answer to the question of whether human life is the result of a cosmic accident or whether we are the creatures and servants of God?
We are continuously faced with evidence both within us and outside us that points to the fact that there is an external force that constantly intervenes in the management of the universe. Even if we reject evidence that is handed down by oral tradition and is based on fanciful imaginings, we should still expend as much effort and energy in objectively resolving this issue as we may do in working out a mathematical formula, establishing a scientific fact, or exploring the effects of a new political system. We have to open ourselves up to the possibility that to analyse and explore the existence of God we have to establish certain principles or a framework to guide our research. This will deal with issues such as the type of evidence that can be regarded as conclusive and on the basis of which we can either definitively accept or reject the existence of God.
For instance, it is argued that nobody has seen God because of this no-one has been able to give eyewitness evidence of God. Imagine if someone had given an eyewitness account of God: would any of the intellectuals of the human race be willing to accept such a declaration? We could equally regard the testimony of the Messengers of God as evidence, since they were able to acquire a profound understanding of the reality of the cosmos and claimed to have a connection with this reality, and attested to receiving commandments from it. In addition they bore witness to the existence of intermediaries who could be referred to as Angels. We could also regard as evidence the countless miracles that occurred at the hands of different prophets and were witnessed by various nations, and which could only be explained by referring to God.
However, the issue is that modern Man has expressed his reservations in accepting that human beings can develop any spiritual capacity, or that there can be a communication link between humankind and the reality of the cosmos. They have declared such phenomenon to be the result of a psychological complex within these individuals, and approached the whole subject in the context of psychological factors. They raised questions about the mental health of people who claimed to be Prophets. The result of all this was that the greatest truths and testimonies regarding God were now open to doubt.
An English Edition of Muqaddama-tul-Quran (pp.166-171)
An English Edition of Muqaddama-tul-Quran by Prof.Ahmad Rafique Akhtar