Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Sunday Guardian 7 Feb 2021 | Al-Risala, February, 1987

None other than God is great. This is an obvious truth. But strange as it may seem, this truth can be turned into an evil. This happens when it has only been half understood. That God, and only God, is great, is an indisputable reality. But the obverse side of the picture – that man is small and insignificant – must also be grasped and appreciated. No one is of less significance than man, and it is only when he has learnt both of these truths that he will be imbued with appropriate feelings of humility. If he knows only the first truth, but not the second, it will breed in him an attitude of rebellion. Satan understood God’s greatness but could not grasp his own insignifi­cance. He became, therefore, the continuing root cause of all evil.

To utter the words, ‘God is great’ is to acknowledge an outward reality, and to say, as a corollary, “I am small”, indicates one’s willingness to mould oneself to this outer reality. Yet there are people who do accept God as a supreme outer reality, without ever actually adapting their lives to this fact. The result of this is that they begin to regard themselves as God. For themselves they become God and expect others to bow to them. Then they enter into conflict with others, although the first prerequisite for acknowledging the greatness of God is to completely subdue all aggressive instincts. They take it upon themselves to abuse their fellow men, whereas whoever genuinely experiences God’s omnipresence, falls silent in reverence to Him. Every truth is but a half-­truth unless and until man discovers the exact way in which it is relevant to him. The search for the eternal truth is at an end only when man comes to realize his true place in relation to it.

Those who accept but one half of the truth without realizing that the other half must be accepted, will inevitably find them­selves guilty of moral inadequacy, whatever their chosen role in life.