Is Polytheism a Demand of Human Nature? In current times, every research in scholarly fields and the arts is believed to have originated from the theory of evolution. Whether it is history or law, economics or politics, philosophy and religion or the knowledge of civilizations and sociology – the desire to seek their origins is so predominant among all that any field is considered incomplete without it. Consequently, the compiled legacy of all knowledge that is available in its complete form is not only assumed to be inadequate to demonstrate its real value, but is often declared to be wrong and misguided. Today, research related to every aspect of human life is carried out with respect to the phase when humans were in their earliest evolutionary condition and of which no written history is available to us. Obviously, this phase is a phase hidden under darkness. Whatever is said about it should not have a value above hazarding wild guesses about the unknown and casting arrows by trial and error. Archaeologists and biologists are considered to be the experts who guide us in this darkness. They believe that the layers of the soil, strata of hills, relics within caves, buried bones, instruments of earlier ages and the crooked lines and grooves of early humans to be the real legacy of knowledge and thus build their structures of assessment and conclusions on the basis of these findings. Everyone agrees that this is no more than guesswork. However, it is given so much importance that whatever is found to be aligned with this assumption is considered to be reality: that which does not match it is assumed to be without substance and to be an unnatural barrier in the process of evolution. It does not exist and is not required. The result of the dominance of this view is that all claims of political and social change over the past years have had to resort to connections with the evolution theory. The latter has proved to be so accommodating that it has developed relationships with all. Supporters of democracy have described the initial phase of human evolution in such a way that democracy itself is claimed to be a demand of human nature. Those who sympathize with monarchy have formulated its definition in their own colours. Anarchists fought with it, hence its clever supporters segregated it as a separate religion so that it would not be used in support of religions that claim their individuality, that base their beliefs and principles on revelation and are not willing to tolerate other religions. Under the protection of this theory, atheists have aimed to uproot Judaism, Christianity and Islam and to do this they have shown the evolution of religion in a manner as to destroy all fundamentals of heavenly religions. Here we are not debating all aspects of the theory of evolution but shall consider only those that are related to polytheism (shirk) and monotheism (tawhid). These people describe the evolution of religion as follows: religion came into being with the first step of mankind, when the latter began to feel that it was not merely a physical being but that it also possessed a superior entity or soul within. That was the time when the basic block of religion was placed. Initially, it comprised of two elements: fear and imagination. The fear was of the unknown forces which mankind felt surrounded by and found them to be far superior to its own power and strength. The imagination was of the idea that this being should be respected and worshipped. Just as the history of all things related to the physical world are connected to the basic element that has provided life to matter, similarly the history of all things related to the soul and spiritual world is connected to the element of the soul that has created religion as a result of the combination of fear and imagination. When this religious concept adopted religious forms and practices, religious responsibilities and rituals came into existence. Hence, religion is the result of an evolutionary process. That was the evolution of life; this is an evolution of religion. Just as it is known that life was hidden in the form of reptilians and developed into the human form in slow stages, similarly the soul was involved with animism, worship of material things and magic and sorcery and slowly graduated into God worship. The conclusions which are drawn by scholars of the evolution theory as a result of this analysis are: 1. The originating point of religion is fear. This fear began due to demonstrations of natural phenomena: bursting of clouds, thunder; noise of gales; horrific scenes of eruptions of volcanoes frightened man and he began to worship these, believing that they were living beings. 2. The claim of God worship being a demand of human nature is erroneous. If this were so, mankind would not have started religion by animism and worship of material things. Similarly, idol worship and worship of the dead would not have been so widespread in history. 3. The basis of all religions is the same. From this aspect, there is no difference between Islam and Judaism and the voodoo worship of cannibals in Africa. Hence, all religions and beliefs should accept each other. The above conclusions are so attractive that they have found place in the books of many contemporary scholars, even though they are totally wrong and baseless. Both wisdom and history are against them. The point that religion was born out of fear of unseen forces and that this emotion is the first and oldest of human feelings is nonsensical. The fear within humans is the fear of losing his blessings. A man loves his life, property, spouse and children. Because of this, he is afraid that he might lose these things. In other words, before the feeling of fear, he feels that these things are dear to him and are a blessing. It follows that if they are a blessing, there has to be someone who has provided him with these blessings and he feels gratitude and the desire to worship Him. Hence, the feelings of being blessed and having a Provider before feeling afraid are essential. Until we feel that life and its provisions are a blessing, we are not afraid of anything related with life. There are many people who become frustrated with life: they do not fear death. Many jump into fire; they jump into the river and sea. Many in Japan disappear when they jump into the mouths of volcanoes. Hence, if early man was afraid of thunder, lightning and storms, and he wanted to protect himself from these dangers, it follows that he was aware of the blessings of life and its provisions, because until and unless something is held dear, any worry to protect it is meaningless. No one locks an empty house. It also means that early man must have been aware of a Provider, because a provision must be connected to a provider. If the point that he began to worship the phenomena of nature due to fear of being deprived of life and its blessings is deemed to be true, the point that awareness of these blessings would have created within him love and gratitude for the Provider seems to be more valid. Thus, this shows that awareness of a Provider, feelings of love and gratitude and the idea of His worship is superior to feelings of fear and animism. Nevertheless, ever since man has felt fear, he has felt life to be a blessing and the presence of being and love for Him. When he was incited to worship forces of nature, surely a vision would have emerged from his feeling of love to thank his Provider. The feeling of love and gratitude lays the foundation of monotheism and pure God worship, not of polytheism. اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعٰلَمِيْنَ .الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ "Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds; Most Gracious, Most Merciful." (1:1-2). Our view is also supported by the fact that the things that cause fear within humans are not daily routine in the world. Earthquakes do not occur daily; volcanoes do not erupt daily; lightning does not strike every day and the noise of storms too are not a daily occurrence. By contrast, stars brighten up the sky daily; the sun shines every day; the blue skies provide a sight for the eyes on a daily basis; the moon spreads out the sheet of moonlight upon deserts and mountains every night; rain provides sustenance and trees bear fruit in every season. Then how astonishing is that the scolding of nature and its threats would intimidate mankind to the extent that he begins to worship them but the unseen Provider's generosities produce no result and do not create any desire for thanksgiving and gratitude within the human heart! Scholars of biology have painted a horrible picture of those times and attempted to show that the natural scenes of that age could only have created fear. But this is a mere supposition. If the world of that age was terrible, the man of those times was also not the man of today. If the world of those times was not as beautiful as it is now, man then was also not as cognizant of beauty as he is now. If then the earth was not as fertile and productive, neither was the human fond of luxury and social life. If then there were dangers and difficulties in abundance, the human too was not so delicate and used to an easy life. He could run for miles away from dangers; climb trees with the pace of squirrels and monkeys; light fires and stitch leaves to protect his body from the cold and heat; hide in caves from snow and attacks by beasts; feed his hunger by hunting animals. It is not true to say that the conditions existing at that time were conducive only to feelings of fear. This assumption hides the overlapping of the present over the past. The times are assumed to be the ancient and centuries ago while the human is assumed to be belonging to the 20th century. Some scholars of evolution have deemed the elder man of the family to be the source of fear and hence of man's early thoughts. In our view, the fear of elders is also based on love. Children receive happiness and enjoyment from their parents; they thus begin to love them and because of this love, they are also afraid of them. This emotion therefore is also one of love and it creates a feeling of respect for the parents. However, the fact should not be ignored that while a child remains a child, he thinks of his father as his whole universe. But when he becomes a father himself or gains adulthood, he realizes that the existence of the father can satisfy his desires only up to a certain extent. When he steps out of this sphere, what he has achieved has another source: an unseen Being. The existence of the father is in itself one of the blessings bestowed upon him by this unseen Being. Hence, the feeling of love that had created affection, respect and fear for his father must have done the same for the unseen Being once he left his childhood behind. Had man remained a child always, religion would have been confined to worship of the father. But the child grows up and if religion can only be the creation of sane adults, then, if adults can entertain feelings of love, respect and fear for the favours of the father, it is far more likely that the consequences of those great favours that existed but in which the father was not involved would be similar. These favours could only come from a Being much higher than a father.  In any case, religion did not begin with the emotion of fear, but from the feeling of love. The above two views held by scholars of evolution are both without basis. In the first case, the feeling of gratitude and love for a Provider and His worship is prominent. Fear and worship of anything other than God is an unnatural malaise that has come upon man due to misunderstanding and ignorance of his true inner self. In the second case, he should reach God while holding his father's hand. The natural evolution of this feeling is that while he is content with his father, he reaches his true Creator through his worldly father and loves and respects him far more. If he did not do so, this means that instead of marching on the true path of evolution, he has fallen into a blind alley. This is the example of an unnatural stagnancy in spiritual evolution, just as we find examples of unnatural stagnancy in the evolution of the material world. There is no doubt about the fact that the oldest emotion is that of love for parents and the oldest idea is one of respect for them. But does this emotion take the child towards God after childhood, or towards ancestor worship and tribal gods? Hence, this is the reason behind instructions to love and do good by parents come alongside worshipping God in both the Qur'an and the Torah. This means that awareness of the rights of God and parents is the oldest in man's nature, and, although the rights of parents come first in his nature, the status of God's rights becomes higher than that of the parent's. This is the same as when climbing up to the roof, the stairs are on top, but once you get to the top, the stairs are below you. When man reaches God, he realizes that parents are, in reality, a blessing from God. Instead of worshipping them, one should thank God for having this blessing. This is the reason that while Islam has given parents all rights over children, it has not given the former the right to have their children do shirk. وَاِنْ جٰهَدٰكَ عَلٰي اَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِيْ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهٖ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا. (15:31) But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not. (31:15). The reason for this is that the invitation that exists within nature for consideration for the rights of parents and their love is weaker than that for consideration for God and His rights and love for Him. How can then parents be granted the right to ask their progeny to refute the force that has a much higher demand for what they receive through the same feeling? Here, some people may raise doubts about the fact that the Qur'an and other heavenly books mention piety, fear of God and terror and that this gives strength to the opinion of scholars of evolution that fear is the original source of religion. This doubt is baseless. Islam does not consider that fear and dread that is based only on harming humans a legitimate view. Fear of this kind may exist for Changez Khan, Taimur, lions, elephants, snakes, scorpions etc. If such fear is for God, what would be its value? The piety and fear required in religion is totally different and is based on love. This does not arise solely because of fear of punishment and anger of God but develops as a result of thinking about His innumerable blessings and mercies and remembrance of His beautiful names. This is the reason that those who know His attributes well love Him the most. And those who love Him the most also fear Him the most. اِنَّمَا يَخْشَي اللّٰهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمٰٓؤُا. (28:35) Those truly fear Allah, among His servants, who have knowledge. (35:28) It is clear from our discussion that the view of scholars of evolution that religion began with the feeling of fear and animism has been refuted. But one doubt still remains. If the nature of man is pure God worship and this is the true direction of evolution, what are the reasons for so much evidence of worship of idols and the dead? Relics and signs from the dark ages of history prove this and the compiled heritage of the times that we have, also gives the same evidence. Six centuries had barely passed for Christians when they began to worship pictures, although the Torah had strictly forbidden this. The first instruction in the Torah was that of monotheism but Jews were involved in idol worship many times. Abraham (sws) left his home for the sake of monotheism and built a house to worship God in a remote place. But not a long time afterward, his progeny filled this house with idols. The Qur'an claims that monotheism is the nature of humankind, but if incidents prove this otherwise, it is necessary to address this. This answer will also refute the second view of scholars of evolution that has been discussed above. The fact that idol worship and polytheism have been widely practiced from the beginning in the world and still is cannot be proof of the point that it is in man's nature. As long as a human child remains a child, he tries to put everything in front of him in his mouth, regardless of whether it is a stone, brick, wood or iron, pure or impure. He thinks that it is his mother's breast and for a while, tries to suck it. Then he picks up something else and then another thing. Drawing a conclusion from this that all these things are his desire by his nature is ridiculous. The natural nourishment of a child is inside his mother's breast. But because he is not yet fully conscious of this fact, he considers everything to be his mother's breast. Hence, if man was engaged with the impurities of idol worship and animism during his early stages of evolution, this does not mean that this was a requirement of his nature. In reality, this struggle and effort was his search for the real Creator. This desire caused him to look everywhere. A characteristic of a child is also that sometimes his mother calls him but he keeps focused on what he has in hand until his mother comes and picks him up and nurses him. As soon as she moves him away from her body, he begins to pick up things around him and put them in his mouth. It is a rational point to suggest that even during the dark ages there were people who were themselves aware and who also made others aware, but the human interest in toys kept emerging with gaps of time, as is normal with children. The search of man kept losing his goal after achieving it again and again. At this point, some people are assailed by the doubt that if something is in human nature, he should be born with it, live with it and die on it. Why would he achieve and then lose it, and then achieve it again? At the very least, when he obtains it after a long struggle, he should retain it. This doubt arises because many people do not understand the difference between human nature and that of animals. Animals have stringent rules of nature to which they adhere. If no medical change occurs, their nature develops and reaches its foremost stage according to these rules. Nature has not provided animals with the capacity to adopt a different approach, change it or make progress in it. They are bound within the rules of their species and confined in its innate system. If you put a dove inside a meat shop, it will die of starvation, but will not be able to take benefit of the abundance of meat. If you lock a cat in a cupboard of fruit, it will also die of hunger, but will not be able to use the fruit. However, the nature of man is completely different. To explain human nature, we borrow here words from Imam Hamid al-Din Farahi, which he has used in his exegesis of Surah Ikhlas, and in light of verses 48-54 of Surah Rum, while answering the above question. He says: The signs of wisdom and mercy that man sees around him everywhere in the universe and the pull that he feel towards his Creator in times of trouble tells us that he is receiving evidence of a Supreme Being from within and without himself. Such evidence does not come for idols or the dead, if human nature does not conform to that of animals. Animals are slaves and humans have been given freedom, which necessitates that they progress. Animals are driven along the path they were destined to be driven, while humans have been left with the light of rationality and the sustenance of ability: their nature is their ability. The extent to which man has progressed to date is proof of his ability and the fruits of his efforts. The fact that ability is akin to nature is not restricted to man alone. A baby peacock that is a blob of flesh reaches adulthood and we consider the beauty of his feathers a result of nature. Similarly, when a human child that is physically weaker than most animals and is also mentally weaker as well reaches adulthood, should we not consider his strength and wisdom a result of his nature? Hence, nature in man and other living beings carries the same meaning. However, there is one characteristic in man that is distinct from others. Man is initially weak and insignificant, but at the end, he dominates them all. The depth of his strength has still not been found. But all of this is between two fragilities. If this were not so, the Pharaonic claim by man would not have been unfounded. Thus, the fact that human nature passes through extreme phases of development makes it quite possible that he may take a wrong path. He was given freedom of expression and then also freedom of choice of pathways. In addition to these two problems, he faces a third difficulty. That is, man was placed at the crossroad of good and evil, without which freedom of opinion would have been meaningless and freedom of progress limited. Thus, struggle and difficulties are essential for human nature and it became his obligation to move forward in his struggle between good and evil and bring his wandering rationality to the straight pathway. God Almighty has placed man in these difficulties with the promise to assist him. He has made available all means for his guidance both within and outside him. Just as the weak baby has been provided the protection of his mother's lap, so has man been given guidance through prophets. The God who enlivens the dead earth with rain also gives life to hearts through His word. Just as He makes high mountains the source of natural springs, he also enables elevated hearts to speak His word. Thus, even if after so much material being available to him, man is forgetful of God, it is his ignorance and not his nature. If history provides examples of idol worship, there are more examples of its refutation. The grime of polytheism accumulates on monotheism slowly, but just a sprinkle of monotheism covers the darkness of polytheism completely. It follows, therefore, that human nature responds to monotheism, otherwise why would it run towards it and move slowly towards the other. The above shows that there are basic differences between human nature and that of animals. The first difference is that humans have received a noble nature and character along with independence, due to which, if they so desire, they can fall into the lowest regions of Hell despite having the ability for reform. The second difference is that man's abilities and strengths are bottomless. He has to cover a long path to progress. His path is not merely a mile or so like that of animals that he would begin his journey and reach his destination. With this stretch of his path and with his independent thought, it is but natural that he should fall and get up, drown and rise to the surface repeatedly. The third difference is that with his independence and destination that is far off, he has also been placed within trials. He has been offered the world as wealth; after life as being useless; goodness as difficult; the forbidden as delicious and plentiful and halal as tasteless and scarce; the fruit of truth as being deferred and the result of falsehood as readily available; reality as hidden and whims and lies as beautiful and grand. This is so that he is tested to see whether he runs toward goodness or toward evil; whether he moves toward the real but concealed signs in his nature or toward the false but attractive desires of his nature. Indeed, this test is extremely difficult, but his voice of conscience is also not weak. It develops the ability to peak into every darkness and guides him through signs. However many veils of feelings man places over himself; he does see and hear these signs, even though he disobeys them while listening to their calls and develops excuses for himself against their reasoning. This is the reality that has been explained in the verses of Surah Qiyamah. وَ لَاۤ اُقۡسِمُ بِالنَّفۡسِ اللَّوَّامَۃِ. (2:75) And I do call to witness the self-reproaching soul. (75:2) بَلْ يُرِيْدُ الْاِنْسَانُ لِيَفْجُرَ اَمَامَهٗ. (5:75) But man wishes to do wrong [even] in the time in front of him. (75:5) بَلِ الۡاِنۡسَانُ عَلٰی نَفۡسِہٖ بَصِیۡرَۃٌ وَّلَوْ اَلْقٰي مَعَاذِيْرَهٗ. (75: 14۔15) Nay, man will be evidence against himself, Even though he were to put up his excuses. (75:14-15) The details of the above should be seen in the tafsir of Surah Qiyamah by Farahi. The difficulty of the challenge necessitated that God send His messengers to guide man. Although human nature's inclination toward God was not weak, the world and its attractions, human desire and its lures, Satan and his whisperings, too, carried so much weight that God's mercy demanded this deficiency to be recompensed. The weight on the scale of desire should be countered by placing a counterweight in the scale of nature. Thus, the Quran says that when God sent Adam (sws) and Satan down to the testing place of the world, he also promised to send His guidance and messengers: فَاِمَّا يَاْتِيَنَّكُمْ مِّنِّيْ هُدًي. (38:2) .....as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from me (2:38) So that man's nature was not left alone in this field of struggle, the help of God's messengers, His books and His angels were also included. This was an additional force in support of God and after this arguments in favour of humans came to completion and his guidance was not left to coincidence or possibilities. Man did not have the excuse left that it was so dark that he could not read the signs of his own nature for the Day of Judgement. Indeed, it was pitch dark, but pure light and the shining lamp were also there, highlighting each and every aspect of nature. Nature is never miserly in any of its blessings. It was possible that man could have been given one ear to listen or one eye to see. But nature gave him two ears and two eyes. Similarly, it was possible that he was left to be guided only by his nature. But God in His infinite mercy did not leave this matter to possibilities and probabilities. Instead, He provided the best of guidance through His messengers and prophets. Equipped with so much strength, within and outside himself, if man is not ready to fight Satan for the sake of God, but seeks to ally himself with him, then this is not the fault of his nature but this has other reasons. These shall be explained in the next chapter, Insha'Allah. After this debate, it is no longer necessary to refute the fact that the source of all religions is the same. It is clear from the discussion above that the point of origin of Islam and other heavenly religions is not fear, but it is the feeling of love for God. The origin of idol worship and polytheism is entirely something else and this shall be discussed later. Hence, Islam and all religions of truth are, in reality, Islam and this is the real faith of God since the very beginning of humankind on earth. The difference between this and polytheism and idol worship is one of source and reality. Their natural connection is not one of closeness and consideration, but of hatred and hostility. One is the evolution of nature, the other regression of nature: the direction of their journey and destination are different. There is no leeway for any compromise or tolerance between the two. Man has not come to the world to merely exist. He is here so that he can develop the potential in his nature to the highest level of evolution that is possible while remaining in this world of materialism and attractions. He has been given a period of time to live for this purpose. If this objective is not being fulfilled, his life is useless and without meaning. Nature that is so wise in every aspect can never undertake a useless exercise. As explained above, the point of origin of the spiritual evolution of man is purely his love of God. When man treads on his path, he takes the true road to his spiritual evolution. If he strays from it, this means that he is going against the natural evolutionary process. Since nature is merciful, it has made it possible to send guidance to him in the form of prophets and messengers along with the same guidance being present in his nature. These messengers have herded humans towards the true direction of their spiritual evolution, i.e, to true worship of God. The law of nature about messengers is that they are the best fruit of the tree of nature of the group in which they are sent. They possess the best character, hold the best discourse, demonstrate the best of deeds and provide an example of the highest level of nature for a long time, thus developing an ideal community. This community begins its journey on the road of true spiritual evolution. If, after this, there still remain some foolish people whose ears are deaf to the sounds of nature and calls of prophets, what should nature retain them for? It is useless to keep them as humans to merely live, eat and drink and reproduce. Animals are sufficient for this purpose, for they are doing this as well as moving forward on the path of evolution by serving species that is superior to them. All efforts that could have been made to guide humans have been carried out. All that remains is that God should either raise the curtain from every truth and show them the evidence of the unseen world, or force them to be guided. But this compulsion and revelation of the hidden is against the freedom and the law of trials that has been discussed above. Why should then nature allow these humans to exist? What will this man do, other than misguide others: those who are under his influence and those who are born to him, to walk on the path he has taken: اِنَّکَ اِنۡ تَذَرۡہُمۡ یُضِلُّوۡا عِبَادَکَ وَ لَا یَلِدُوۡۤا اِلَّا فَاجِرًا کَفَّارًا. (27:71) For, if Thou dost leave (any of) them, they will but mislead Thy devotees, and they will breed none but wicked ungrateful ones. (71:27) This is why the nations in which messengers and prophets were sent were sorted into believers and mischief makers and criminals after completion of invitation and all arguments and the latter were either destroyed through natural punishment from God or at the hands of the people of faith. This is the requirement of the law of survival of truth. This Sunnah is specific to prophets and it has certain rules that have been detailed in the Qur'an. A brief explanation is given in the exegesis of Surah Kafirun by Imam Farahi. People or groups other than prophets cannot carry out completion of arguments to the extent that it is proven that a particular nation no longer has the capacity to accept guidance. Hence, none other than prophets have been given the right to destroy their people even if a person becomes an apostate after accepting guidance. This is evidence enough of the fact that he did receive the light of guidance once. Believers have been given the right of only taking leadership away from non - believers and keeping control in their own hands, so that they may take the opportunity to reform themselves, if possible, by living under a righteous people and enabling environment. It is clear from all this detail that religion originated through love that was created in the nature of a child for his parents and in that of adults for the real Benefactor. This love gave rise to gratitude and praise for the Benefactor and kindness for parents. The desire to praise the true Benefactor created the concept of prayer and kindness for parents and motivated people to serve them and spend for them. This developed into care for relatives and payment of zakah. Thus the human soul evolved; the idea of ensuring that rights of God are met constructed beliefs and worship and that of meeting obligations towards relatives and other humans developed morals and behaviour towards others. This is the straight path of nature and God worship. This is the real pathway of spiritual evolution. At one end of this road is the father of humans: Adam (sws) and at the other end is the seal of prophets, Muhammad (sws). In the middle are millions of prophets and messengers of God and preachers of truth who are standing at a little distance from each other. They came in their time to invite man to take this road, but the latter continued to stray and create anarchy in the world after accepting their invitation again and again. Thus, every messenger had to say: وَلَا تُفْسِدُوْا فِي الْاَرْضِ بَعْدَ اِصْلَاحِهَا. (56:7) Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order. (7:56) (Translated by Nikhat Sattar) ـــــــــــــــــــــــــ . These are the two main views about the source of religion among scholars of evolution and they have been presented in a somewhat scholarly manner. This is why we have also explained our differences along the same lines. There are other views, such as Totemism being the beginning of religion; the effect of using something that caused inebriation among early man. Some scholars have explained the source of religion on sexual desire. Obviously, these are nonsensical views and not worth refuting.