The implementation of Islam has proven to be the most elusive task in the hapless history of our country. The earnest yet assertive voices of our religious scholars in this regard have always been received with a deaf ear. The apparent exception to this rule occured quite recently, and time conclusively proved that it too was, in fact, no exception*. It was rather like a sudden gust of wind that had ignited a cindering mass of wood, restoring the status quo after some anxious moments of hope and expectation. It was widely proclaimed that the creation of an Islamic State was just in the reckoning---a state which had once manifested itself in the desolate deserts of Arabia many centuries ago; when moral and social values scaled unprecedented heights, and all of man's ideals became tangible realities.
But alas! these expectations could not materialize. This failure, in our opinion, was due to the fact that our rulers were initially not equipped with the pre-requisites of this task. Moreover, they were not aware of the proper strategy without which this goal cannot be achieved.
This article is written to present to our ruling class the strategy which we deem proper for this task. In our estimation, it should be based on the following two dimensions:
Firstly, all those factors should be enumerated and analyzed which in some way or the other influence our society and, subsequently, the role played by those found harmful be reformed.
Secondly, priorities should be set according to which the directives of the Quran and Sunnah are to be implemented in the society, and all measures should be taken accordingly.
Consider the first dimension:
The factors which exercise a decisive influence in the socio-economic and religio-political spheres of our lives are apparent to every keen eye: Among them is a vast network of religious and general educational institutions, both of which are a perpetual source of scholars and intellectuals, orators and rhetoricians, academicians and thinkers; there are numerous mosques throughout the length and breadth of our country where millions of Muslims turn to five times a day; there are khaanqaahs, the abode of our sufis where innumerable devotees are indoctrinated with the occult of sufism; there is the media comprising radio, television, newspapers and magazines which is the foremost means of entertainment; there are countless religious and political parties disseminating there call and message to the general masses and Lastly, we all live under the influence of a political and economic system which play a significant role in determining the pattern of our lives.
We have mentioned the important factors which influence our society. Our aims and objectives, attitudes and desires, cravings and convictions, ambitions and aspirations, trends and inclinations, customs and traditions---in short, the general set-up of our society is determined by the interaction of an individual with these metamorphising agents. Consequently, our foremost task, as mentioned above is to purify them from any evil they cause and then redirect them so that they can contribute positively to our society. We now examine them one by one.
Institutions of Religious Education
We start our analysis by the role played by our institutions of religious education. A rigorous evaluation of their structure reveals a number of flaws.
Their gravest flaw is that they are based upon the principle of Taqleed**. Here a student from the very first day is labelled as an orthodox follower of a particular sect. His destiny seems to be carved out beforehand as a devout denouncer of every other sect and an ardent acclaimer of his own. He is made to believe that only his brand of beliefs is in direct conformity with the Quran and Sunnah. He is brainwashed with the notion that only his sect has been divinely blessed with the true version of Islam. An inference attributed to a highly revered scholar of his sect stands supreme till the Day of Judgement. That it can be challenged by explicit reasonings derived from the Quran and Sunnah cannot be dared thought of. On the contrary, it becomes a part of his faith that such a scholar cannot falter.
It is this superhuman veneration that has actually given rise to the menace of religious sectarianism. Differences in opinion have often developed into severe conflicts. An atmosphere charged with lightning and resounding with thunder prevails amongst our religious circles. Every now and then, a new episode of defamacy erupts form our mosques, which are unfortunately being used for these malignant offensives. The intense disregard the various sects have for one another has led them to violate all norms of decency. Even immoral tactics are employed to safeguard their own views and interests. Prejudices and bigotry have severely hampered the long needed compilation of the Islamic law and its subsequent implementation. Like nations at war, they continue their crusades against each other---while, very close to them, the forces of evil mock at them and continue to flourish.
There are some among them, who claim to be liberal by not insisting upon the taqleed of a single person, yet are adamant that after the fourth century Hijra, the process of direct deliberation and reflection over the Quran as a means for deduction and derivation can no more be deemed admissible; a matter that stands closed and no one should dare open it. To them the explanation of a Quranic verse or a Hadith contrary to the conventionally understood meaning, outrightly amounts to heresy. Evident omissions and apparent flaws in inferences made in the past are accepted vehemently simply because no one has ever disputed them. In their opinion, scholarship and research only consist of enumerating, as much as possible, the views of previous scholars in support of their own. As a result, all their mental pursuits are confined to compilation and collection of references, while the faculties of reasoning and intellect are impelled into a permanant state of dormancy.
The arguments, they give in their support have no basis in the realms of reality. All of them acknowledge that the Quran is the foremost source of our religion. We need not elaborate upon the fact that the Quran has always remained under the protection of Allah, and there is no question of anyone ever having tampered with it. Its authenticity stands unchallenged, and it has been passed on to us as it was revealed. Its meanings and implications like its language, Arabic, are very clear. All the material required to study the semantics of the language is available to us, just as it was in the early days. After the Quran, the Sunnah and Ahaadith are the second source of our religion. Most of their contents have reached us by way of 'amalee-tawaatur1, while the remaining content is in the form of akhbaar-i-ahaad2 which has been critically examined by our scholars and the portion found authentic has been transferred to us. They have even recorded the reasons which have led them to accept or reject a Hadith. In short, they have passed on the smallest bit of information that might prove useful. These are the two sources of our religion designated as the final words of authority. They are as accessible to us as they were to our predecessors.
Therefore, any argument on these grounds cannot be entertained in support of their principle of taqleed.
After this, only two things can be alleged: firstly, the degree of piety achieved by our forefathers is now unattainable, and secondly, the extent of intellect and comprehension possessed by them cannot be emulated in present times.
The latter is just a claim that finds no basis in the Quran and Sunnah, nor has it ever been justified in the field of observation. The former is, also, just another claim, which is actually in contradiction with the Quran itself. The Quran unequivocally states that in the Hereafter the highest honour would be bestowed upon the Assaabiqoon---people foremost in faith. They would grace this world in the earlier as well as the later times:
"And those foremost [in faith] are foremost. They will be nearest to Allah in gardens of bliss. A number of people from the old and a few from those of later times." (56:10-14)
Whatever else affirmed by the proponents of this viewpoint is mere wishful thinking which has no place in the world of reason and rationality.
Their second major flaw is that though these institutions are centres of religious education, the Quran, which occupies the cardinal position in Islam, has been driven in the background within their confines. The lofty status commanded by the Quran as the Meezaan, the Balance of Justice and the Furqaan, the Distinguisher between good and evil, demands that it should be made the the pivot around which the whole curriculum should revolve. Students should be reared with the notion that in the Quran rests the final authority and that it is the Quran which rules over every matter in our religion. With this beacon in hand, they should be made to explore the various domains of knowledge and at every step seek its guidance. Every other subject taught should merely help the students in having a better understanding of the Quran. Everything accepted in our religion should be rigorously scrutinized under the light of this Divine Guidance. All basis of belief and faith should be directly derived from this Word of God and it should be considered the ultimate authority not only in all religious issues but should also be regarded as the ultimate linguistic standard of Arabic. Students should be made to ponder over every word and meditate over every verse they encounter. They should be made aware that even the works of great jurists like Abu Hanifa and Shaf'i, scholars of Hadith like Bokhari and Muslim, scholastics like Ash'are and Maturedi, sufis like Junaid and Shibli must be weighed in the scales of this Meezaan and that nothing can be accepted from them which is not in consonance with it.
Our religion confers this supreme status upon the Quran and, consequently, it should have held the same status in these institutions. But here, unfortunately, we know that during the initial years the only stress is upon its recital and committal to memory, while in the later years, students have a final glimpse of it in the commentaries of "Jalaalain" and "Bidhaavi"3. This is all as far as Quranic teaching is concerned.
This estranged attitude towards the Quran has resulted in there being no ultimate authority which can decide the correctness of a specific thought or a particular course of action. All religious concepts have become disputed and a subject of hot debate. Our religious educational institutions which could have enlightened us over these issues, are themselves plunged in pitch darkness. Suffice to say that these institutions can have no access to the exalted wisdom of the Quran, just as a born blind person can have no idea about the sun's splendour.
The third major flaw in these institutions is that the syllabus they follow is both outdated and ill-suited to the requirements of teaching and learning. It is generally believed that it was composed by Mullah Nizaam Uddin. While, according to Shah Suleman, the heir to the shrine of Phulwaaree Shareef, its initial seeds were sown by Mullah Fateh ullah Sheraazee, and after many subsequent changes and additions reached its present form. Nevertheless, it was composed during the time when our religion had been completely isolated from its sources. The aforementioned treatment given to the Quran speaks volumes about its inefficacy. The methodology of Daurah4 employed in the study of Hadith in this syllabus can never instil the fondness of contemplation, neither in the teacher nor in the pupils. No importance has been given to pre-Islamic Arabic literature, which has rendered the subtleties of a language beyond appreciation. The books included for the teaching of Arabic grammar and rhetoric have an approach in which logical terminologies have overshadowed the diction of the language, and even if a student has an initial aptitude to relish the finer aspects of a language, he finally ends up with its crudest comprehension. His aesthetic faculties are made to remain passive and he inevitably fails to acknowledge the finesse in a Quranic expression. Whatever has been set aside for philosophy, logic and 'Ilmi-kalaam5 in the syllabus inflicts a harm that surpasses its utility. Only the Hanafite Fiqh has been accommodated in the syllabus, and the concept of an Islamic Fiqh, irrespective of any school of fiqh, is non-existent. 'Ilmi-Usul6 is one discipline, pioneered and perfected by the Muslims; unfortunately, no book about it has been incorporated which could cultivate and develop the skill of Ijtihaad7 in the students. On the other hand, books like "Sadraa" and "Maibzee"8 are regarded with a sanctity which has rendered them an eternal part of the syllabus. Any revision of old books or introduction of newer ones is considered high treason. Two centuries have gone by since the enunciation of this syllabus, but the progress made in other branches of knowledge has failed to find any place in it. Tremendous advances made in philosophy, psychology, astronomy, economics and political science have been treated with an almost contemptuous disregard. We are well aware of the fact that the world of knowledge continues to grow and expand and this dynamism constantly replaces older concepts with newer ones. The last two centuries bear witness to this with so much of material which once shaped the intellect of the world now being regarded as redundant. But our religious educational institutions, quite unaware of these additions and abandonments, continue to blow their ancient trumpets.
These are the main flaws of our institutions of religious education. No methodology for the enforcement of Islam in this country can succeed unless it also aims at the reformation of these institutions. In our estimation, the following measures should be adopted by the government in this regard:
1. Besides persuading the pundits of the existing network of religious institutions to reform their set-up, the government should establish under its own supervision higher level religious educational institutions.
2. Scholars entrusted with the task of teaching in these institutions should be specifically those who consider only the Quran and Sunnah as the source and basis of Islam and, as far as possible, practice what they preach.
3. These scholars should be freely allowed to form and express their opinions about the various matters and issues of our religion, wherever and whenever they want to do so within the limits set by the Quran and Sunnah, so that all distinguished scholars are provided with an opportunity to lecture at these venues.
4. Only students who have passed their intermediate should be admitted in these institutions, just as in the existing framework students enter medical and engineering institutions after passing their intermediate examination.
5. The total period of education should be five years. The Quran should occupy the same place in the syllyabus as we have mentioned above. Besides this, the basic emphasis should be upon the disciplines of Arabic grammar and rhetoric, pre-Islamic Arabic literature, usul-i-fiqh, hadith and lslamic law. The students should just be made familiar with the medieval trends and terminologies of philosophy and logic enabling them to read the works written in the older diction. The essentials of modern philosophy, psychology, economics, physics and politics should be expounded to the students so that they are able to follow their methodology of reasoning and have the capability to explicate, in contrast, the views of the Quran and Sunnah. The syllabus should also constitute an anthology of world literature which will assist the students in developing a literary taste and in having some idea about the delicacies of the sublime language of the Quran. A comprehensive book upon the principles and basis of modern law should also be part of the syllabus. All schools of fiqh should be taught and students should be made to consider themselves the beneficiaries of this vast heritage and also made to realize that any biased affiliation in this regard is intolerable in the world of knowledge and learning. It should be made clear to them that from this profound legacy of our scholars, only material found in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah is acceptable and everything else stands rejected without any hesitation whatsoever.
6. Besides these mental pursuits, the character of the students should be moulded so that they profess a high calibre of moral conduct. They should be made to spend sometime everday in the company of pious scholars, and urged to pay special attention to the injunctions of the Quran and Hadith which pertain to self-purification and character-building. They should be induced to offer their utmost support and co-operation in furthering the cause of Islam, and also made conscious of the fact that after being enlightened with the true understanding of Islam, it is their responsibility to urge and exhort the ruling class of our country to follow and implement the teachings of Islam.
7. The existing way of higher education in Islamiyat should be completely abolished and the degree given by these institutions should be equivalent in level with the M.B.B.S degree.
Institutions of General Education
Consider next, the institutions of general education. The system on which they are based is the legacy of the British rule in our sub-continent. It is the brain-child of a nation which still rules our minds more than four decades after its departure. It was implemented to achieve the mental servitude of the Muslim subjects and to gain their affiliations. Sure enough the objective has been more than achieved, as each passing day merely strengthens this relationship between the victor and the vanquished.
The system is based upon the negation of any metaphysical explanation of the universe and upon the assertion that man himself is capable of deciphering the complex code of his existence without any assistance from his Creator. This is the underlying concept upon which philosophy, science, sociology and other branches of knowledge have evolved and developed in the West during the last two centuries, and it still holds sway in contemporary Western thought. No doubt, not all of the Western thinkers have denied God's existence, yet it is a manifest reality that all their views and thoughts are actually built upon His denial. Quite naturally, the syllabus of these institutions upholds this concept. The entire celestial cosmos is presented as a creation without a creator, a scheme without a deviser, a book without an author---a self-existent and self-sustaining mechanistic reality. The fate of the universe is considered to be in the hands of its inhabitants who carve out their own destiny and shape their own future. All the bases and principles of law and politics, economics and sociology are constituted by a human endeavour that looks down upon any Divine Guidance in these diciplines. Human intellect on its own seeks to solve the problems that face the world. The story of mankind starts and ends with man himself and the concept of a God is granted no place anywhere in it by this syllabus. It warrants that man is a material entity who himself is the source of all concepts of truth and reality and that nothing lies at the exterior of this space-time continuum. Consequently, the graduates of these institutions become advocates of the view that life can also be spent without having any relationship with God and all affairs of life can be conducted without His Guidance. Overlooking changes at the basic level and inducting Deenyat as a compulsary subject in the syllabus has made the situation even more ironical. Severe conflicts have arisen in the minds of the students, regarding their religion and its relation with their lives.
As a result, this system of education has injected in our society a novel breed of men regarded as its intellectuals and trend-setters. Whatever they say or write vouches for the fact that the concepts of absolute truth can only be obtained from the West, but the Quran can be regarded as a sacred book if it is interpreted, modified and brought in accordance with Western thoughts. Their characters have become an amalgam of ambiguity. They do not deny God's existence, yet consider regular vigilance in worship a needless affair. They do not disclaim the Day of Judgement, yet are not ready to sacrifice the paltry leasures of life for nobler causes. They assent to the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws), yet consider his directives outdated and inapplicable. The recital of the Quran might herald the start of their gatherings, but the promulgation of its decrees in the constitution of their country weighs down heavily upon them. Only a grim lesson can be sought from their contradictory personalities. In short, the system has drained out the Islamic spirit from their mortal remains and they present a sight most pathetic.
Their lives are tuned with the trends of the West and even the blood in their bodies seems to flow after seeking permission from these sources of revelation.
The secular nature of the system has not only produced an aversion from Islam within the minds of our elite, but also has gone a long way in degenerating their characters, without which no nation can thrive and prosper. It never envisages the real purpose of educational institutions which are not just meant to impart knowledge to the students, but a bigger objective is to breed and rear men of high moral calibre in consonance with the ideology of a nation. This goal can only be achieved if the mentors of these institutions are not only competent in their own fields but are also devout Muslims who possess an impeccable character and lead a chaste life. Undoubtedly, the most powerful influence upon a child after the mother is the teacher's personality. If he honestly upholds a certain ideology and leads his life in accordance with it, his pupils receive tremendous inspiration from him. No other way can be more effective in building their characters. Woefully, this system never takes this aspect into account. Courage and perserverance, valour and discretion, discipline and steadfastness which were once the hallmarks of Muslims, are now extinct commodities. The virtues of honesty and integrity, benevolence and sincerity have become relics of the past. We seldom see any modesty in their eyes, loftiness in their thoughts,and dignity in their behavior. What we often see is an immaculate mixture of dishonesty and pettiness, a charming blend of arrogance and haughtiness, an exquisite combination of perversity and corruption. We are breeding a nation that has been detached from its glorious past, has become indifferent to its present and unconcerned about a future which after all may not even exist. Thanks to this system moral values are breathing their last and materialistic goals are being regarded as the ultimate objective of life. To say the least, a scheme more sinister could not have been contrived against us, as a nation.
Rectifying this system is no easy job. It requires drastic measures that would extract it from its roots and implant a new one in its place. We suggest the following steps in this regard:
1. A uniform system of education should be enforced in our country. Any diversity in nature, religious or non-religious, and medium, Urdu or English should be eliminated.
2. Only teachers who are self-righteous, staunch and practising Muslims besides being proficient in their fields should be selected.
3. The total period of education should be divided into three levels: primary, secondary and a higher level. The first of these should span over eight years, the second over four years while the last level should extend over five years.
4. At the primary level, only the Quran and the language trio of Arabic, Urdu and English along with mathematics and calligraphy should be taught. Initially, the students should be made just capable enough to read the Quran fluently and they should then be made to learn by heart the last group of the Quran (Surah Mulk to Surah Naas). As soon as the students get acquainted with Arabic, the Quran should be studied with a specific stress upon its meanings. By including the essential teachings of Islam in the Arabic reader and interweaving the Urdu reader with topics pertaining to general knowledge and the English reader with topics relating to science, the students should be imparted a comprehensive understanding of these languages, besides being enlightened with other branches of learning. They should be encouraged to read about subjects that interest them from the libraries. Furthermore, all modern educational aids should be extensively employed in all these pursuits and the present way of loading the students with scores of text books should be discontinued.
5. The study of the Quran and the languages should continue at the secondary level. Besides this, a few more subjects relating to the one in which a student wants to specialize at the higher level should be introduced. Just as in the present system the students of medicine and engineering study certain science subjects at this level, the students of Deenyat, for example, would study pre-Islamc Arabic literature, grammar and rhetoric. The same mode should be adopted in the teaching of other subjects.
6. The higher level should only be reserved for specialization. This specialization can be in Deenyat, medicine, engineering, sociology, physics, biology or any other subject the students choose. The existing mode of specialization in non-professional subjects should be completely terminated.
7. All topics in various books should begin with an elucidation of the Quranic point of view about these topics. Other details should be enlisted in coherence with this point of view so that the relationship between the knowledge obtained from the Quran and the knowledge acquired by means of rational inquiry and scientific observation is clear in the minds of the students.
8. Co-education should be completely abolished and all the surplus energy of the students should be directed towards receiving the necessary training for Jihaad.
9. Teaching should be made the most highly paid profession and teachers should be given more facilities than any other professional. That a person should have an aptitude towards teaching must be firmly emphasized in his selection.
The influence exercised by our Mosques is, also, no doubt, tremendous. In this regard, the Sunnah set by the Prophet (sws) is that the Friday address should be delivered by the head of state and his administrators and only they should lead the Friday prayers. However, in case of any legitimate plea on their part, someother person can address and lead the Friday prayers as their authorized representative.
The implications of this Sunnah are very clear: In Islam, mosques are meant to be the fountainhead of authority. Also, there is a complete negation of theocracy. A person whom the Muslims choose as their leader shall also lead them in worship, eliminating once and for all the division between state and religion.
After the Prophet (sws), his Companions solemnly adhered to this Sunnah in the Caliphate they established. However, in later times, when due to their own ill-ways the Muslim rulers could not stand face to face with the public, they themselves handed over the mosques to the ulema. This was the most tragic incident in our history. The result was that religion lost its grace and the state its grandeur. A further consequence of this was that the most ill-suited and corrupt lot of people has assumed the country's helm of affairs. The whole set-up does not leave the slightest of chance for the able and morally sound to rule and govern the country.
The menace of sectarianism has turned the mosques into citadels which are in a perpetual state of war with one another. This has further led to the creation of professional Maulvis who are an utter disgrace to knowledge and learning. Differences of opinion are very `graciously greeted' by them with fire and fury. They shower `special courtesy' on those who propagate Islamic teachings by slinging cartloads of insults on them. Intellectual endeavours and advancements are the cherished targets of their `highly encouraging' jeers. Every mosque is a stronghold of sectarianism which is taught, encouraged and patronized in place of the Quran and Sunnah. It is impossible for any scholar to use a mosque to spread and communicate the message of Islam---an obligation the Almighty has imposed on him according to his abilities.
These evils which emanate from our mosques are apparent to every keen person. They can only be eliminated if the above stated Sunnah of the Prophet (sws) in this regard is revived. In our consideration, this can be done through the following measures:
(1) The centre of every administrative unit of the state should be a Jami`-i-Masjid, and the division of these units should be such that one Jami`-i-Masjid should suffice for one unit.
(2) Within each unit, all the administrative offices and courts should be instituted adjacent to this Jami`-i-Masjid.
(3) The state capital together with the provincial capitals should have a central Jami`-i-Masjid.
(4) The address of the Friday prayers should only be delivered by the head of state and only he should lead these prayers in the central Jami`-i-Masjid of the capital. The provincial governors should be entrusted with this job in the central Jami`-i-Masjids of the provinces, while the representatives of the government should perform this duty in the Jami`-i-Masjids of the various administrative units.
(5) The Friday prayers should be prohibited in all mosques except the above ones.
(6) Mosques should be established and supervised by the government itself.
(7) Every religious scholar should be allowed to deliver a lecture or teach, educate and instruct his students according to his own views in any of these mosques.
We continue our inquiry by assessing the role played by our khaanqaahs. The religion preached here is called tasawwuf (sufism) and, we are afraid that, it is entirely different in all fundamentals and principles from Islam. Even a cursory analysis clearly brings out this fact. It is observed thus :
1. The Quran defines Tauheed (monotheism) as the acknowledgement of Allah as the only Ilaah, who is free from all flaws and imperfections and to whom all gracious attributes are ascribed which are accepted by all norms of sense and reason and which have been explained by the Almighty Himself through His prophets. The word Ilaah in the Arabic language is specifically used for someone who at some level or the other possess control and authority without requiring any cause or means to execute what He intends. According to the Quran, if an attribute is acknowledged for someone which is actually the result of such control and authority then this is what is called Shirk (polytheism), and it states in unequivocal terms that such an attribution is only true in case of the Almighty. It demands from all Muslims to acknowledge this control and authority only for Allah in their faith, deeds as well as in all their objectives.
It is this Tauheed upon which our religion is based. It is around this basic belief that the mission of all the prophets had revolved. Abraham and Moses, John and Jesus, all upto Muhammad (peace be upon them) had proclaimed and propagated this message. All Divine Books elaborated upon this at length. There is no other level of Tauheed above this for which a person must strive in this world.
In Tasawwuf, however, this is regarded as the first level of Tauheed and it is meant for the common man. It is considered as a mere prelude to the actual contents of Tauheed. The highest level of Tauheed, according to the exponents of this religion, is to acknowledge existence only for the Almighty and simultaneously affirm that no one besides Him actually exists. All the determinations (ta`ayyunaat) of the Universe whether observed directly or perceived through reason and intellect are mental concepts and emanate from the Absolute Being---the Almighty. They have no external existence beyond the Absolute Being. The Universe is actually another name for the manifestations of Allah. It is God as regards its substance though it cannot be considered so as regards its determinations. Its nature is nothingness (`adam). If it is regarded to exist then this would be associating something in the Being of Allah, and this is precisely what the popular sufi maxim Laa maujooda illalaah (there is nothing except God) negates.
This same view about Tauheed is held by Shiri Shankar Achaariya, the famous commentator of the "Upanishads", along with Shri Ram Noje Achaariya, Plotinus and Spinoza. Among modern western philosophers Leibniz, Fichte, Hagel, Schonpenhauer, Bradley and Benedict are the ardent exponents of this concept. Among these, Shri Shankar, Plotinus and Spinoza uphold the philosophy of Wahdat-ul-wujood (Oneness of Being), while Ram Noje Achaariya advocates the philosophy of Wahdat-us-shuhood (Oneness of Witnessing) as does Shri Krishan in "Gita". The "Upanishads", "Braham Suter", "Gita", and "Fusoos-ul-Hikam", occupy the same position in this religion as the one occupied by the Torah, the Zaboor, the Bible and the Quran in the divinely revealed religions. Viewed thus, it can be observed that in contrast with the Quranic concept of Tauheed, this fallacious concept has remained a universal evil, influencing many intelligent people the world over.
2. The concept of Tauheed presented by the Quran is an obvious reality asserted by the Almighty Himself in all Divine books and explained by all His prophets. It conforms with the highest possible standards of rationality and is, in fact, the call of our hearts. Its rationality is so indisputable that those enlightened with true knowledge as well as the angels vouch for it and none of its aspects is concealed from our eyes. According to the Quran:
"Allah [Himself] is a witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning [too are witnesses]. [He] is the Executor of justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise." (3:18)
All the Prophets were sent forth in this world to call mankind towards this belief. This was their foremost obligation, and if they had failed in fulfilling it, they would have, in fact, failed to discharge their basic duty as Prophets. It must also be borne in mind that this assignment was not something beyond their ability, for the Quran clearly says that the Almighty never imposes an obligation on someone which is beyond his capability.
In tasawwuf, on the contrary, when a saalik (the traveller of the spiritual path) gets to know the secrets of his Tauheed as stated above, words are unable to state and define it and a person, therefore,is unable to propagate it as well9. It is said that the more it is explained the more complicated it gets and the more it is revealed the more it gets concealed. Therefore, the secrets of this Tauheed cannot be written down and, in fact, the disclosure of these secrets amounts to infidelity.
3. The Quran categorically states that the institution of Prophethood has been terminated at the Prophethood of Mohammad (sws). This quite obviously means that all forms of divine revelation have been brought to an end and no person after the prophets can claim utter innocence from any sin and divine protection from any evil on their basis. This meaning of the finality of Prophethood has been stated in clear terms by the Prophet (sws) himself:
"Mubasharaat are the only remnants of Prophethood. People inquired: `What are mubasharaat?' The Prophet (pbuh) replied: `Good dreams'." (Bukhari, Kitab-ud-Ta`beer)
However, our sufis have always negated the implications of the finality of Prophethood and have their own peculiar concept about this finality. They maintain that the Almighty still sends down His revelation to their leading figures, just as He did to His Prophets. They also claim that like the Prophet (sws), many of their own distinguished people have ascended the heavens to witness Divine Disclosures (Tajalliaat) and were also blessed with the opportunity of a dialogue with the Almighty. According to them, the meaning of the finality of Prophethood is that no one will be able to give a new Shariah, but as far as other features and characteristics of prophethood are concerned, they still exist and are attainable. To them the inspiration (ilhaam) of their elect, because of their innocence, is free of any traces of evil and its authenticity is beyond any shadow of doubt. The views of the person among them who is entrusted with the first station of bestowed spiritual stations (maqaamaat-i-wahabiah) are regarded by them to be based on truth in their entirety, and no evil can make an incursion into them. They say that such a person follows a Prophet only because he has been divinely commanded to support him, otherwise he does not need a rophet or an angel to receive divine guidance because of his own direct link with the Almighty. Therefore, on this earth his own words and deeds are the final authority to which the Quran and Sunnah themselves submit.