Journey of Divine Civilisation

The prophets given divine revelations in books were called rasul, while those who did not were called nabi. Four find mentioned in the Quran: the Sahifa or the scrolls given to Abraham; the Torah, the revelations to Moses; the Zabur, the psalms of David; the Gospel, the teachings given to Jesus. Each was initially a complete revelation, but unfortunately, these books and teachings were not adequately preserved. Some, like the Sahifa, were lost completely. Others were changed in various ways by human intervention and are no longer in their original form. They could best be described as edited versions of divine revelations, which have been altered from time to time by editors and commentators. In the past, the need for new prophets arose because God’s religion was no longer in its pristine form, having been distorted in many different ways. Therefore, new prophets had to come to the world periodically to revive the true spirit of religion and thus restore it to its original form. However, after the Prophet Muhammad, there was no need for another prophet, for the Book— the Quran— which he gave to the world has been preserved intact, in its original form. The Quran is a collection of the divine revelations that the Prophet received over 23 years. Angels (Malaika, literally meaning ‘messenger’) serve as intermediaries between God and man. They transmit messages to His envoys, worthy individuals whom God specially chooses for the task of being His messengers. These messengers are called prophets, and it is the prophets alone who receive the divine revelations through an angel, who is the celestial messenger. According to the Quran, the angel Gabriel (Jibrail), meaning the ‘power of God,’—also alluded to in the Quran as a “trustworthy spirit” (al-ruh-al-amin)—brought divine revelations to the Prophet of Islam.

Video Transcript
Video Transcript

The phrase, ‘Journey of Civilization’ is used to refer to the journey of advancements in the material world. However, a study of history reveals that the journey of civilization was actually a journey towards God-realization, as is alluded to in the following verse of the Quran, 
I created the jinn and mankind only so that they might worship Me. (51:56)
In the above verse, ‘worship’ means God-realization as interpreted by the companions - Ali ibn Abi Talib and Abdullah Ibn Abbas. 
According to the Creation Plan of God, man was created so that he could unfold the magnificence of creation and realize the Greatness of his Lord. Describing the unfathomable glory of God, the Quran says, 
If all the trees on the Earth were pens, and the sea [were] ink, with seven [more] seas added to it, the words of God would not be exhausted (31:27)
Unfortunately, the Sufis gave a deviant interpretation by claiming that it was the heart that was the reservoir of all forms of realization. This incorrect rendition dissuaded the Muslims from attempting to unfold the mysteries of creation. In other words, this interpretation discouraged the Muslims to undertake the very task that man was born to accomplish. 
When the Muslims failed to achieve this goal, God raised what is referred  to in the Quran as Gog and Magog, that is, the Western nations, who discovered such hitherto unknown facts about the universe as became means of realization of God. However, the Western nations could only gather facts; the interpretation of these facts which was required for God-realisation (marefat) remained unaccomplished. 
A recently passed judgment of the Indian Supreme Court led to an uproar among the Muslims. This ruling which aims at controlling bogus voting seeks to introduce voting identity cards for all. Muslims took offence because according to the new norms, the photograph of a woman must be without a veil. This case was first ruled out by the Madras High Court and subsequently by the Supreme Court of India. Such protests have become a religious identity of the Muslims which they undertake irrespective of whether it will yield a result or not. 
The biggest failure at such moments is of ulama who fail to diffuse such issues. They are unable to follow the Quranic teachings of analyzing a situation objectively. A dispassionate scrutiny of this situation would have made them realize that this is not a case of interference in the Shariah. 
It is merely a case of confirming the identity of the individual. It could have been explained with the example of documents like the passport etc, which necessitate a clear photograph and which is acceptable to all. This would have relinquished the need for creating any hue and cry because no where did the ruling disallow Muslim women to wear veils in their daily lives. 
Be it Salman Rushdie’s book or the Danish cartoon, protest has become immanent in the Muslim psyche. The unawareness of the Creation Plan of God does not allow them to realize the immense dawah opportunities that lie bare. Availing these opportunities has a price – giving positive response to negative occurrences. 
Discovery Method
God has instituted “discovery” as the method for realizing Truth in this world. True realization takes place when man derives lessons from the world around. Islam stands upon three guiding principles. The first one is Tauheed, or the belief in Oneness of God. The second principle is Prophethood which, according to Islam is the true source of guidance. Lastly, there is the Creation Plan of God. That is, to tell man why God created this world; what the purpose is of settling man on earth; what is required from man in his pre-death life span, and what he is going to confront after death.
Though Prophets were sent to inform man about the Creation Plan of God, discoveries in nature were instituted so as to corroborate with the divine message and lead man to God-realisation. The process of establishing scientific veracity of the revelations sent to the Prophets began with the emergence of the spirit of enquiry. This scientific journey began when man noticed sparks as one stone struck another and learnt by way of enquiry and observation about the use of fire. This was the first step on the road to civilization. Similarly, man invented wheel to facilitate movement or transportation by leveraging on the observation that heavy objects could be moved easier if something round, for example a fallen tree log, was placed under it and the object rolled over it.
The developments in the wake of the Industrial Revolution led man to discover the enormous power in steam and he subsequently utilized it to propel civilization ahead. Following these discoveries, as man reached the splitting of the atom, which until then was considered to be the ultimate particle of matter, he realized that atom comprised of nothing but random waves of probability. This meant that the final stage of reality was invisible. It was therefore inferred that invisibility of God does not negate His existence. As man progressed in science, it became established that science gives, but a partial knowledge of reality. This established the veracity and importance of revelation. 
Contribution of Muslims in the Journey towards God - Realisation
The Western nations provided the empirical facts yet the Muslims could not use it to reach the stage of God-realisation. There only contribution was the establishment of an early Islamic empire which led to the preservation of Quran. In other words, the Muslims could only serve the purpose of being the political guards of the Book of God. This continued to be so till the printing press was invented. The completion of the task of the preservation of the Quran ended the need of a Muslim empire. Gradually, therefore in the wake of the industrial revolution and colonialism, these empires crumbled and disintegrated.
It is most unfortunate that the Muslims made no contribution to the process of realization of God. While the western powers could only provide empirical evidence, the work related to interpretation had to be done by the Muslims. But they failed like other creations that had preceded them. When God first created the Jinns, He expected them to undertake the journey of civilization but the Jinns began fighting amongst themselves. God deposed the Jinns and created man in their place. Man had to propel the journey of divine realization so that it reaches its culmination and establishes the glory of God. It was for this reason that even the angels were asked to bow before man. This bowing symbolized that the angels would entirely manage and control the functioning of the universe so that man is able to thrive and accomplish the task he was created for. 
The secular forces (Gog and Magog) played the chief role in propelling the journey of civilization forward and proving the existence of God through inferential arguments. In order to interpret the data correctly, it is of paramount importance that the believers save themselves from all sorts of distraction or negative reaction. If they fail to give positive responses to negative situations, the Muslims will have to pay a big price for it, that is, they will not be able to reach God-realisation. 
Incognizant of the dawah opportunities
Present-day Muslims are imbued with negative sentiments for the whole world. They live in besieged mentality and think that the entire world is conspiring against them. The reason for such negative emotions becoming enmeshed in their psyche can be attributed to the total loss of the concept of dawah work from their lives. 
As the Muslim empires disintegrated, it was viewed as a conspiracy rather than as the prevalent law of nature which causes shift of power. The Muslims could not convert this apparently negative situation into positive and recognize the immense dawah opportunities that were opening themselves in new times. They failed to understand the Creation Plan of God. According to this Plan, man is created as an ideal-seeking animal. He wants ideal to reign supreme in every aspect of his existence but this ideal world will materialise only in world hereafter. The gap between ideal and achievement leads him to frustration. To save himself from it therefore, man must agree on less-than-ideal. According to the Quran,  
Those who believe…can find comfort [peace]. (13:28)
Therefore, to have peace, man must learn to agree on less-than-ideal in every facet of life – be it spouse, society, neighbourhood. In the Muslim world, the failure to agree on less-than-ideal is demonstrated by the rampant political confrontations between the Muslims and their rulers. For example in Egypt, neither King Farouk nor General Najeeb appeared as able administrators. Egypt therefore could not make much progress as the so-called Islamists could never agree on less-than-ideal. 
An understanding of the Less-than-ideal Principle, discourages man from imbibing negative sentiments and inculcates in him the desire to strive towards paradise. Failure to be in agreement with this arrangement results in negativity and anarchy. It is therefore of utmost importance to make man aware of the Creation Plan of God or else man will forever remain unaware of the blessings of his Creator. 


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