Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

By misusing his freedom, man has polluted the world. But there was no other way of selecting the priceless soul, worthy of entering Paradise.

In a word, the call to Islam is a call to paradise. Paradise is God’s delicate and exquisite world. It will be inhabited by those who have attained to divine characteristics in their lives; those who have displayed in their worldly affairs the qualities of true huma­nity; those who are moved by the impact of the eternal world of God rather than by political and economic conditions. It is such people who are being selected in this world. Those who prove themselves – in both thought and deed – worthy of living in heavenly surroundings will be picked out and made to enter heaven. Others will be deprived of God’s blessings. They will be cast far away into an everlasting of darkness.

Besides man, the rest of the world is incredibly beautiful. One only has to look at the luxuriant bloom of a tree and the fragile tenderness of a flower; one only has to gaze at the spectacles of nature, on land and in space; so attractive will one find them that one will not wish to remove one’s gaze. But the world of man is a cruel and polluted world. Why this difference? The reason is that in the rest of the world there is direct and total implementation of the will of God. It is exactly as God wishes it to be. But to man He has given freedom. ‘By misusing his freedom, man has created hell on earth. In truth, God alone has power over all that is good: wherever He withholds His power there is hell and wherever He enforces it there is heaven.

The question is, why did God take the risk of giving man free­dom, and letting him turn God’s beautiful world into a torture-chamber by his rebellious actions? The answer is that there was no other way of selecting those priceless souls who are worthy of entering heaven. The whole vast world of God, and the countless objects it contains, is fully obedient to God. There is nothing from tiny ants to massive constellations that wavers even slightly from His will. But these things are subservient because they are power­less; they have no option but to adopt the path of obedience. God required an intelligent and realistic being that, in spite of its power, would realize that it was powerless; a being that would surrender to God of its own free will, without any compulsion. It is for the selection of such rare and precious souls that God has created life on earth. From ancient times until the present day, the matter that has perplexed the human mind more than any other is the problem of evil in the world of man. In the words of one philosopher, the whole of human history seems to be a register of cruelty and evil. It is quite ‘true that man has used his freedom in a most tyrannical way. But God tolerated such great evil for one reason alone: without it there was no way of selecting that lofty species which would be fit to be accommodated in heaven. Only under conditions of freedom and power could individuals be cho­sen from among the human race, concerning whom God’s angels, that watch over the world, would testify that these are the ones who had complete power of their own, but made themselves powerless for the sake of God. The terrible evil that occurs on earth is really the price of a wonderful good: that from the jungle of humanity those blessed souls should be picked out who, con­sciously and deliberately, surrender to God. These are the ones who obey God on the basis of realism, not on the basis of compulsion.

Such souls stand out from the rest of mankind. They had the chance to deny the truth, but they did not do so; they were able to assume a high position for themselves, but they showed them­selves content to occupy a rear seat, and give pride of place to God; they could have sought to consolidate their own power and interests, but they voluntarily relinquished all selfish aims, and sought to consolidate the truth alone. Such souls could not be selected unless they were placed under conditions of total free­dom. Such conditions could not come into being unless the price of freedom – evil in the world of man – was also born.

The purpose of the Islamic call is to search for such individuals.

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