POLITICAL SYSTEM: PART I
I. Islamic View
In an earlier chapter, we have given an exposition
of the Islamic view of human personality. We have seen that essential worth of
man lies in his self and not in his physical body. As far as the self is
concerned all men are equal, however much they may differ in respects of caste,
creed or race. This view gives full recognition to the dignity of man as man.
The Quran has expressed this view in lucid and unambiguous language:
Verily, We have honoured every human being (17:
As human beings, all men are equal; every one
possesses that precious jewel, the human self. This is the basic principle of
the Islamic order of society.
It necessarily follows, therefore, that
personality is an end in itself. No man has the right to exploit another man or
to use him as a means in furthering his personal interests.* If society were
organised on this basis, there would be neither rulers nor subjects. This is the
second principle on which society in Islam is based. No man is permitted to
compel others to obey him. God alone is to be obeyed through the Laws revealed
* In defending slavery, Aristotle argued that some
men are born slaves. They are therefore, to be treated as chattels, i.e., used
as tools as a crafts-man uses his tools. The Quran, on the other hand, has
categorically rejected such ideas and in restoring to man his lost dignity has
struck the death blow to all forms of slavery. This point is argued further in
the chapter on Woman.
It is not right for man that God should give him
the Book of Law, power to judge and (even) Nabuwwah, and he should say to
his fellow-beings to obey his orders rather than those of God. He should rather
say : Be ye faithful servants of God by virtue of your constant teaching of the
Book and your constant study of it (3 : 78).
The Quran forbids man to arrogate to himself the
right to judge and rule over other men ; and yet it does not advocate a lawless
anarchical society. What it does is to lay down the principle that all are
equal, and that God alone has the right to rule over them. (12: 40), and none
has the right to any share in it
(18: 26). These principles make the frame work of the Islamic society.
God, however, is the Absolute, the transcendental
Reality. How can we obey him if we cannot contact Him? The answer is, by
observing his Laws as given in the Quran. This is why the Rasool was
asked to declare :
Shall I seek other than Allah for Judge, when He
it is Who hath revealed unto you this Book fully explained (6 : 115).
The social part of the Divine Revelation provides
us with laws intended to guide the course of social evolution. Islam has
developed a political Organisation based on eternal principles of the Quran.
Since these principles have their source not in the human intellect but in
Divine Wisdom, men, when they obey them, are obeying God and not any mortal man
or group of men. In the Islamic society all men are equal in the eyes of the
law. It is a community of free and equal persons, owing allegiance to God and
obeying His laws.
Here is another angle. We have seen that man has
two selves, the real self and the physical self or body. The relationship
between the two selves is close and intimate. But while the body is incessantly
changing, permanence characterises the real self. The real self remains
unchanged while the body changes. Since Islam is concerned with the entire
person, it seeks to reconcile the two facts. Iqbal has clarified this point:.
The ultimate spiritual basis of all life, as
conceived by Islam, is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change. A
society based on such a conception of Reality, must reconcile in its life, the
categories of permanence and change. It must possess eternal principles to
regulate its collective life; for the eternal gives us a foothold in the world
of perpetual change. But eternal principles, when they are understood to exclude
all possibilities of change which, according to the Quran, is one, of the
greatest signs of God, tend to immobilise what is essentially mobile in its
The law laid down in the Quran, though immutable,
is dynamic in nature to cater both permanence and change :
Perfected is the Word of thy Rabb in truth
and justice. There is naught that can change His words (6 : 116).
What this unalterable and eternal Law does is, it
demarcates the boundary line of what is lawful—"limits" in the terminology of
the Quran—which no one has the right to transgress. Within the boundary line,
however, we are free to frame such supplementary laws as the needs of the time
require. These supplementary laws are, of course, subject to change and are to
be enacted and revised by the representatives of the people "by mutual
consultations" (42 : 38). Within the limits set by the Quranic laws, Islam
upholds free and unfettered democratic activity. The Quran even leaves man free
to devise his own consultative machinery. The form which consultations are to
take will depend on the convenience of the people.
As regards the eternal and unalterable Law which
sets a limit to the legislative activity of the Islamic democracy, the
community, the Ummah, is fully committed to it. It cannot break from its
moorings. No one can claim the right to deviate from the laws laid down in the
Quran for the guidance of the conduct of the Islamic No human being, or group of
men, is infallible. We cannot rule out the possibility that majority, and Steven
unanimous decisions, may be wrong. Such wrong decisions may not, however, do
much harm if they leave the basis of the society untouched. If, however, the
legislature is empowered to charge the basis of society, its wrong decisions
will have disastrous results for the body politic. Social stability
will be assured only if the legislature exercises
its powers within the framework of permanent fundamental principles laid down by
Quran. If this framework is rejected, it will cease to be an Islamic society.
Within this permanent framework, change is not only permissible but advisable.
The conditions of life are always changing, and the constitution of the state
and machinery of the government too, must, from time to time, be revised and
brought up-to-date. It is obvious that in such a system permanence and change
are reconciled. The Islamic society is both stable and progressive. It rests on
the firm foundation of eternal principles but men are free to raise whatever
superstructure they like on that foundation. To do good to others is an
unalterable moral principle, but the way in which we can do good to others will
depend on the particular circumstances of the time. The first cannot be left to
the people, but the second should be decided by them. We must bear in mind that
progress is a change that brings the system nearer to perfection. It is change
which, while preserving the values achieved, adds to them and raises them to a
The Quran affirms the unity of mankind and
disapproves of any attempt to divide mankind into superior and inferior groups
on the basis of colour, race, caste or creed. It tells us that "mankind is but
one community" (2 : 213). Moreover, this unity is not regarded as springing from
similarity, of body structure but as having its source in the heart. Says the
Quran: "Your creation and your raising up are only as the creation and raising
of a single self" (31 : 28). The first and foremost task of an Islamic society
is to preserve and enhance this unity. Short-sighted men, however, are tempted
to adopt ways of living that tend to weaken it:
The transgressors break the covenant of God, after
the establishment thereof, and cut asunder what God has commanded to be joined,
(2 : 27).
The Quran is eminently practical in its approach
to life. It does not merely hold up an ideal which we are asked to admire and
gaze upon. It shows the way in which the ideal can be realised in actual life.
The unity of mankind which is real but invisible is to be made manifest through
the effort of man. The first step in the unification of mankind was taken by
Abraham (P). Before him (P) each tribe worshipped its own tribal god and
believed in the tribal unity symbolised by its totem. Abraham (P) first built
the House which was dedicated to the God of all and symbolised the unity of
mankind. It was the first common platform for men:
Lo! The first House built for Mankind was
that at Mecca (3 : 95).
This House, the K’aba, was the visible
symbol of peace and security for all men:
And whosoever enters it, is safe (3 : 96).
The K’aba is not invested with any
sanctity. It derives its importance from what it symbolises. The flag is the
symbol of national unity; the sceptre is the symbol of kingly power. 'The
K’aba is the symbol of the real unity of all mankind. Symbols are termed
sha'air-ullah in the Quran. The K’aba symbolises the unity of mankind
as well as the universal political Organisation which is adumbrated in the
Quran: "We made the House at Mecca a resort for mankind and a place of
security" (2 : 125). In other words, it is to serve as the focus for all men
dispersed over the surface of the earth.
The K’aba is intended to serve as the
centre of the universal social order which the Quran outlines. This order is
marked by both the absence of sharr and the living presence of Khair.
The first aspect is stressed when the Quran asserts that those who join the
order will ever remain free from fear and will enjoy security. The second aspect
is emphasised in this verse:
God has made K’aba a foothold for mankind
to stand upon (5: 97).
It means that through this social order, mankind
will learn to stand independently and rise to higher levels. It is to serve as
the starting point for the continued development of man. This point is
elaborated in the chapter, Hajj in the Quran. Mecca is declared to be an
open city. Admission into it and citizenship in it cannot be denied to any man.
Says the Quran:
We have appointed Mecca as a place of security for
mankind together, the dweller therein and the outsider (22 : 25).
Abraham (P) was enjoined to "proclaim unto
mankind the Hajj" (22 : 27), so that all those who believe in the
unity of mankind may gather together and make that unity a visible fact. This is
what Hajj means. It will enable them to concentrate on their common
interests and will widen the area of agreement, "that they may witness things
that are of benefit to them" (22 : 28). Everybody is welcome to Mecca, the Home
of all men :
And a visit to this House is a duty unto Allah for
mankind, for him who can find a way hither (3 : 96).
It is the duty of every man, then, to visit the
House of Allah if he has the means and the will to do so. He alone will benefit
by it and not Allah, Since Allah is independent of all creatures" (3 : 96).
The invitation to the House of Allah is extended
to all men. By participating in this universal gathering, men become aware of
their common interests, aims and ideals. It is not a "religious gathering."
People who go there are expected to deliberate on all the problems that confront
mankind and seek solution in such a way that the path of progress is opened to
man. It is incumbent on all who participate in this gathering of men interest
and dedicated to the service of man, to put away all narrow interests and think
only of the good of humanity. The purpose of the Hajj can be fulfilled
only when there is single-minded devotion to God and His creatures. Injustice,
cruelty and parochial interests are detestable actions of sharr in any
case, but these should be particularly abhorrent to men who visit Mecca, the
symbol of real unity of-mankind and its social, cultural and political centre.
All men who believe in the unity of God, and hence the unity of mankind, have
the right to enter Mecca and contribute their mite to the furtherance of the
cause of humanity and to the implementation of the Divine programme for man.
Mushrikin are not to be admitted to Mecca as they deny the unity of Law and,
by implication, the unity of mankind. Hence the declaration on the day of the
Hajj-e-Akbar, forbidding Mushrikin to enter the K’aba
(9: 3 ; 28). Mushrikin, according to the Quran, are not only those
who worship idols but also those who pursue inhuman ends. Those who cherish such
motives cannot be loyal to God.
Islamic society is based on the equality of all
men. Islam lays emphasis on the factors that unite mankind. As already stated,
it disapproves of all divisions of mankind on the basis of colour, race, creed,
language or territory. Such division cuts it the very root of unity. This is why
the Quran addresses the believers as constituting "the best community that hath
been raised for the benefit of mankind" (3: 109) In the second chapter of
the Quran, the K’aba is declared to be the centre of the social life of
Islam as well as the symbol of its ideals. In the same chapter we are reminded
of our duties to mankind in these words :
And thus have We made you an international people
that you keep an eye on what mankind does (2 : 143).
The Muslim community, the Ummah, is thus
entrusted with the task of leading mankind to its goal. It is enjoined to
evolve, a universal society on the basis of the absolute values affirmed in the
Quran. The steady moral and material progress of mankind as one family is thus
assured. The institution of Hajj gathers men from all parts of the world
in one place, Mecca. This truly international gathering provides a fine
opportunity for devising a suitable programme for the unification of mankind in
accordance with the principles laid down in the Quran. All those who have the
good of humanity at heart can join hands to build up a society in which every
individual has full scope for developing his potentialities. Abraham (P), the
builder of the K’aba, was the first to summon mankind to this task. The
Quran rightly says of him that he was "appointed as a leader of mankind" (2 :
Freedom, Justice and Beauty
The need for the Quranic order arises from the
fact that in the absence of a universal way of life, mankind must remain divided
into mutually hostile groups. Under such conditions, there can be no enduring
peace, no permanent security for the individual and no prosperity and happiness
in the world. The Quran, for this reason, constantly draws attention to the
unity of mankind, although conflict cannot be eliminated immediately:
Had it not been for Allah's repelling some men by
means of others, cloisters, and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the
name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily,
Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him (22 : 40).
The urgent need for a political organisation which
would embrace all humanity cannot be denied. The existing, political systems
only divide mankind into warring camps. Each group has devised a system which
serves its own interests and gives support to its own ambitions. Each of the
political ideologies is suited only to its authors but fails to serve others.
The supremacy of a single group, racial, cultural or occupational is either
implied or expressly affirmed in these ideologies. Nazism and Fascism defend the
right of the stronger race to exploit the weaker one. Communism theoretically
asserts. the supremacy of the workers but practically places political power in
the hands of the party. Democracy inculcates belief in the cultural superiority
of the people of one state., and seeks to make them prosperous even at the
expense of peoples of other states. The Quran alone offers an ideology which can
appeal to all men. Human equality and human worth are its corner stones. Its
goal is the uplift and unification of all mankind. It counters all attempts to
break up mankind into groups. It dismisses the physical differences among men as
of no consequence and treats as important what is basic in them and, therefore,
common to all men. This is why the Quran speaks of God as the Rabb of all
mankind (1 : 1), of the Rasool as "the fount of Rahmah to all
men" (21 : 107), and of its message as "a reminder for the whole world" (6 :
V. Adl and
We can now proceed to consider the principles of
'Adl and Ihs’an that form the basis of the social order of Islam.
Muslims are commanded never to deviate from the path af 'Adl and Ihs’an -the
Quran says: "Verily Allah enjoins 'Adl and Ihs’an'.' (16 : 91). By
'Adl is meant giving each man his due, and Ihs’an means actively
contributing to make good the deficiency of others to enable them to develop
their personality without hindrance. The term 'Adl is not used in the
strictly legal sense-justice. It is taken in the widest sense possible and
assures to man not only his legal rights but fair and equitable treatment in all
aspects of social life. Two principles have been laid down by the Quran for the
guidance of man. Firstly that no one shall carry another's burden (53 : 38), and
secondly that everyone will be entitled to get according to his efforts (53 :
39). It means that in the Islamic Order, man is punished or rewarded for his own
deeds and is held responsible for his voluntary acts. Nobody is to be deprived
of the fruit of his labour, nor is he to appropriate to himself what somebody
else has earned. If these principles are sincerely believed in and
conscientiously acted upon, there will be an end to all exploitation and
Again, the Quran enjoins us to be strictly just in
our dealings with even our enemies. In this matter we have no right to
discriminate between friend and foe. The Quran is explicit on this point:
O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah
in equity, and let not enmity of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly.
Deal justly ; that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah (5 : 8).
We should always act justly, even when regard for
justice is detrimental to our own interests:
O ye who believe! Be ye staunch in justice;
witnesses for Allah, even though it be against your own selves, or your parents,
or your kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is
nearer unto both (than ye are). So follow not passion lest ye lapse (from
truth), nor ye distort truth or turn aside, verily God is well informed of what
ye do (4 : 135).
Devotion to justice means much more than being
just ourselves. We should also see to it that justice prevails everywhere. It is
the duty of the Muslims to fight against injustice wherever and in whatever form
it raises its head. Here the question naturally arises: how are we to fight
against injustice ? The answer is that as far as it is possible, we should fight
injustice by peaceful means, such as persuasion and rational argument. Only when
all these efforts fail, are justified in resorting to force. At this point we
face the question of war and its causes.
VI. War and
Can war be abolished, and if so how? Is war ever
justified and if so when? The Quran’s attitude to these questions is eminently
realistic. While denouncing war as an evil, the Quran concedes that it may be
necessary as long as "it does not lay down its weapons" (47 : 4). If the
peaceful people of a country are attacked by an aggressive ruthless enemy, the
only honourable course of action for them is to fight in self-defence. The
physical force of the enemy must be overcome by a combination of physical and
moral forces. When successful resistance has put the enemy into a reasonable
frame of mind, the way will be open for a peaceful solution of the dispute.
Islam permits the use of force for the purpose of self-defence, for the
protection of places of worship of all religions, for the eradication of
injustice, cruelty and tyranny, and lastly, for preventing a war', more
frightful and on a larger scale.*
Islam's attitude to the question of the abolition
of war is cautious and realistic. Abolition of war should be our goal but we
should realise that it can be attained only gradually. The Quran offers concrete
proposals which, if carried out, will lead to the exclusion of war from the
world. Firstly, men should be persuaded to accept the view that as rational
beings, it befits them to settle all their disputes and compose all their
differences in a peaceful and rational manner. Secondly, steps should be taken
to eliminate the causes which lead to war. The main causes for war are
ideological differences. War often breaks out because a powerful nation tries to
impose its religious beliefs or political ideology on other nations. The Quran
forbids compulsion in any form in matters of belief. Man should be free to
choose his own way of life; it should not be forced on him. The Quran
emphatically says: "There is no compulsion in the matter of din" (2 :
256). Man is free in the sphere of din. Freedom and compulsion do not and
cannot go together. No one has the right to force Islam on others. A Muslim
equally cannot be compelled to remain within the fold of Islam. It is for the
individual to reject or accept it as he likes:
Say : (it is) the truth from the Rabb of
you all. Then, whosoever will let him believe and whosoever will, let him reject
(18 : 29).
It is not only, physical compulsion that is
forbidden, but all irrational methods of winning adherents to Islam. It is wrong
to induce people to embrace Islam through suggestion, false propaganda or
promise of monetary gain or political power; whoever accepts Islam should do so
freely, rationally and of his own accord. The, Quran, therefore, repeatedly
assured the men of the time that the Rasool, did not rely on miracles but
only on the intrinsic value of his message. He consistently refused to take
advantage of the credulity of the people:
* The question about war has been dealt
with in detail in the next chapter.
And if thy Rabb willed, all who are in the
world would have believed together. What? Wilt thou (O Muhammad) then compel so
that they may believe? (10 : 99).
The Quran treats all humanity as a single family
(2 : 213), and is, therefore, opposed to the division of mankind into groups.
The only division it recognises is one based on ideology. The first group is
composed of those who believe in the absolute values set forth in the Quran. The
other group consists of those who deny and reject the absolute values. This is
the only basis of division. The believers and unbelievers naturally fall apart
into separate groups. The believers are united in. God and are dedicated to the
pursuit of permanent values. The unbelievers lack faith in God and absolute
values, and consequently faith in their own high destiny.
The Quran, however, does not treat those who do
not subscribe to the ideals of Islam as "untouchables." Their rights are
regarded as sacred. The Muslims are enjoined to protect the rights of the
non-Muslims with the same zeal. that they show in safeguarding the interests of
the Muslims. It is noteworthy that the Islamic Social Order seeks to provide the
non-Muslims with all the means they need for development. It is as much
concerned with the welfare and well-being of the non-Muslims as it is with that
of the Muslims. They (the Muslims) say :
We feed you for the sake of Allah (i.e., as a duty
which Allah has laid on us). We wish for no reward nor thanks from you (76 : 9).
An allegation is often made to the effect that
discrimination is made by an Islamic State between Muslims and non-Muslims
living within its domain by requiring the latter to pay a special tax, called
Jizya. This is utterly wrong and based on a grave misunderstanding of the
correct position. When the first Islamic State was established by Muhammad (P),
some smaller non-Muslim states were, as a result of their rebellious attitude,
subjugated, but, instead of occupying their territory, they were granted full
autonomy and were assured of complete protection against outside aggression. As
a token of their allegiance to the Islamic State, and in return for the military
protection afforded to them, they paid a nominal tribute called Jizya.
This word occurs in the Quran only once (in 9 : 29) and, according to Lane's
Lexicon, means a compensation for the protection afforded." There, are
cases on record in history in which the Islamic State returned the amount of
Jizya when it was unable to afford protection to the non-Muslim state
Islam endeavoured to promote mutual understanding
and co-operation between Muslims and non-Muslims. Its aim was to build a
classless unified society based on permanent values. Says the Quran :
Help one another in birr and taqwa,
and help not one another in ithm and 'udwan (5 : 2).
The Islamic State, therefore, strongly advocates
international co-operation in all undertakings that are likely to promote the
welfare of mankind.
Because of its preoccupation with the unity of
mankind, the Quran is naturally opposed to sectarianism in din and
factionalism in politics. Sects and factions breed strife and dissension in the
Ummah. According to the Quran, sectarianism is a form of shirk :
And be not of Mushkirin, i.e., of those who
split up their din and become schismatics, each sect rejoicing in
whatever they have. (30 : 31-32).
The Nabi is advised to have no truck with
those who divide Muslims into sects:
Lo ! as for those who sunder their din and
become schismatics, no concern at all thou hast with them (6 : 160).
We are further warned :
And be ye not as those who separated and disputed
after clear proofs had come unto them. For such there is an awful doom (3: 104;
11 : 118).
There is little justification for political
parties. Each party's ostensible claim to defend political freedom is in fact an
excuse for capturing political power and use it for its own benefit. There is no
room for such political parties in an Ummah which is dedicated to the
ideals of establishing the Divine Order of justice and of welding the different
factions of man into a single progressive society which would permit every
individual to live a creative life, developing all his potentialities and latent
powers. This is the life worthy of man. As the Quran says
That is the right way of life (30 : 30).
Western nationalism has proved to be a fertile
source of war and conflict. Under it and its offshoot, colonialism, millions of
men in Asia and Africa have suffered the humiliation of subjugation and the
misery of exploitation. Nationalism is the main obstacle in the way of
unification of mankind. How is the virus of nationalism to be checked ? Let us
see what Murray thinks of nationalism :
The religion of nationalism is diabolical. Whether
it possesses Germans, Russians, Japanese, Americans or Englishmen, it appears as
the supreme exaltation of the Selfhood-the religion of Satan, the Prince of this
world. To it today all large-scale religions are sub-servient. Christianity in
all its forms ... except that professed by the small minority which repudiates
Nationalism .... is submerged in the satanic religion of Nationalism. Therefore,
religion on the grand scale can provide no escape from our misery. As veritable
and universal religion, commanding an allegiance that overrides the claims of
Nationalism, it does not exist. In its tacit and unholy combination with
Nationalism, it sanctifies the chief cause of our misery. If religion is
essential for our salvation . . . . it must, first, be a religion which compels
from the person an allegiance which completely overrides the claims of
Nationalism ; and secondly it must be a religion which enlarges and strengthens
man's capacity to act as an individuals
The sort of "religion" Mr. Murray yearns for does
exist. One has only to have a close look at Islam. Western thinkers
disillusioned with Christianity, turn to internationalism as an effective
antidote to the poison of nationalism. For a short time, it was believed that
the League of Nations would usher in an era of peace and friendship between the
nations of the world. It was seen as the first step towards the establishment of
a world order. The League failed and the world was again convulsed by another
war. At the end of the Second World War, statesmen of the West, in a desperate
bid to avert another war, established the U.N.O. Will the U.N.O., succeed where
the League failed ? Emery Reves is rather pessimistic about it :
We have played long enough with the toy of
inter-nationalism. The problem we are facing is not a problem between
nationalism’s. It is a problem of a crisis in human society, caused by
nationalism, and which consequently nationalism or internationalism can never
What is needed is universalism. A creed and a
movement for creating a system of values which transcends the nation-state
structure. Reves goes on to say :
To put it bluntly, the meaning of the crisis of
the twentieth century is that this planet must to some degree be brought under
unified control. Our task, our duty, is to attempt to institute this unified
control in a democratic way, by first proclaiming its principles and to achieve
it by persuasion and with the least possible bloodshed. If we fail to accomplish
this, we can be certain that the iron law of history will compel us to wage more
and more wars with more and more powerful weapons against more and more powerful
groups, until unified control is finally attained through conquest.4
The political Organisation proposed by Reves, as
the only solution to the problem which confronts the world, is not dissimilar to
the Islamic Social Order described above. We quote from another political
thinker, F. Hertz, whose views will be found to be of great interest :
It is now generally recognised that a mere
machinery of international Organisation cannot work if the right spirit is
lacking. But how can this spirit be created or strengthened. The proclamation of
general principles obviously is not enough. Neither is it sufficient to lay down
that nations must be educated towards that spirit, if a practicable plan and an
adequate number of qualified educators are not available. The habit of treating
such questions in an unrealistic and perfunctory way is bound to lead to
failure, disillusionment and cynicism. Education towards world citizenship,
moreover is not merely a matter for the schools. It is connected with all the
great issues of political and economic life and could only be solved if the
political nations of the world would adopt detailed plans based on identical
Prof, Cobban has expressed the same view
The solution to which we are apparently forced is
the creation of a world state.6
Laski appealed for the establishment of "a
universal social order which shall be composed of members hailing from the four
corners of the earth." 7
W.A. Gould is thinking on the same lines as the
following quotation shows :
That our primary concern should be for ‘home and
country’ is natural and proper but we cannot escape the implications of
membership in world society.8
So far there has been little enough evidence of a
generally felt sense of international unity embracing all mankind. It is too
early yet to hope for this ; but that particular groups of individuals in
various countries have it in a very practical degree, is the guarantee that in
due time the active experience of world co-operation may be more widely shared.9
The more deeply modern thinkers probe into the
situation the more convinced they become of the fact that the ultimate salvation
of mankind lies in moulding the entire humanity into one single community.
Warren Wagar has recently published an informative book the very title of which,
The City of Man, suggests the theme he discusses. He has quoted
extensively contemporary historians, scientists, theologians, thinkers,
statesmen etc., of international fame prophesying the establishment of a world
order before long. The chapter World Government in his book opens with
the remarks :
If it is the "ultimate question" before mankind,
world government is also the most thoroughly explored aspect of the nascent
world civilisation in recent books on world problems. Predicting or proposing a
world constitution was for several years during and after the Second World War a
major national pastime of especially the English-speaking intelligentsia. In the
late 1940's the world government movement fathered about seventy organized
groups around the world which enrolled hundreds of thousands of members, Nearly
one quarter of the members of the American Congress and the British Parliament
gave continuing support for years to resolutions favouring, in principle, a
world federal government. Herbert J. Muller, at the close of his best-selling
book The Uses of the Past, published in 1952, could reach "the
commonplace conclusion" that man's best hope lay in "some kind of world
federation on a democratic basis." H. Stuart Hughes in his Essay for Our
Times spoke of "the solid and now familiar conviction that every nation must
transfer the essentials of its sovereignty to a world authority." For Norman
Cousins, world government was simply "coming." It was "inevitable. No arguments
for it or against it can change that fact," Prominent elder statesmen,
scientists as famous as Albert Einstein, philosophers as famous as Bertrand
Russell, churchmen, civic leaders, school children : the chorus grew until it
seemed, for a brief deceptive moment, irresistible (p. 32).
Gunner Myrdal writes in Beyond the Welfare
Clearly, the complete realisation of our ideals
would create a world without boundaries and without national discrimination, a
world where all men are free to move around as they wish and to pursue on equal
terms their own happiness. Politically, the implication would be a world state,
democratically ruled by the will of all peoples. Somewhere in the
religious compartment of our souls we all harbour . . . . this vision of a world
in perfect integration
Pitirim Solokin is of the opinion that "as part of
a vast ensemble of social and cultural changes necessary for the elimination of
war, some sort of world government is indispensable."10 Hugh Miller
of the University of California writes :
Civilisation must recover the kinship of that
association which originally established man on Earth, and which was then
temporarily dispersed into clan and tribe and race. . . . . Civilisation is
mankind made kin again, and kind. (The next step in man's evolution must be) a
world society embracing mankind in which all the traditional cultures are woven
into the great society of the future.11
Teilhard de Chardin- "a mystic, a theist, a
Jesuit, a scientist, an evolutionary humanist and a prophet of world order"-says
There is only one way which leads upwards; the one
which through greater Organisation, leads to greater synthesis and unity. (The
human consciousness must expand beyond) the broadening, but still far too
restricted, circles of family, country and race. The Age of Nations is past. The
task before us now, if we would not perish, is to shake off our ancient
prejudices, and to build the Earth. 12
Arnold Toynbee, the great historian, also
visualises a world order "in which the whole of mankind will be able to live
together in harmony, as members of a single all inclusive family."13
He elaborates this point in his small, yet very
elucidating book, The Present Day Experiment in Western Civilisation
(1962), saying :
If we avoid committing mass-suicide, there is no
reason why we should not eventually be able to have a world-state with a
democratic parliamentary constitution. But if we are to avoid
mass-suicide, we must have our world-state quickly, and this probably means that
we must have it in a non-democratic constitutional form to begin with.
Parliamentary government—and, a fortiori, democratic parliamentary
government is practicable only in a community whose members have a number of
things in common-common political principles deriving from a common outlook that
derives, in turn, from a common way of life. The different races, nations,
civilisations, and religions of the present-day world are still far indeed from
having even approached this degree of homogeneity and solidarity (p. 67).
And this is exactly what the Quran emphasised
fourteen hundred years ago when it said :
Mankind is but one single community (2 : 213; 10 :
The social order laid down by the Quran is the
practical means to integrate mankind into one harmonious community. Such is the
religion which Erich Fromm looks forward to appear within the next few hundred
years, a religion which corresponds to the development of the human race ; the
most important feature of such a religion would be its universalistic character,
corresponding to the unification of mankind which is taking place in this epoch
; it would embrace the humanistic teachings common to all great religions of the
East and the West.
. . . .It will be the first fully human religion
in History. 14
According to Wagar:
A rational, ethical, practical faith, in harmony
with science and enabling man at last to live in harmony with himself and the
The world need not wait for hundred years for such
a religion" to appear : it is already there preserved in the words of the Quran.
The difficulty is that it has not been presented to the world in its true colour.
And for this, we confess, the blame lies on us—the custodians of that Book.
1. M. Iqbal, Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 140.
2. J. M. Murray, Adam And Eve, p. 66.
3. Emery Reves, The Anatomy of Peace, p. 164.
4. Ibid, p. 233.
5. F. Hertz, Nationality in History and Politics, p. 413.
6. Alfred Cobban, op. cit., p. 225.
7. Harold Laski, Human Rights, p. 91.
8. W. A. Gould, Man, Nature and Time, p. 281.
9. Ibid, P. 284.
10. Pitirim Sorokin, The Reconstruction of Humanity, p. 18.
11. Hugh Miller, The Community of Man, pp. 131; 140.
12. Teilhard de Chardin, Building of the Earth, pp. 13; 16; 30.
13. Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, Vol. XII, p. 279.
14. Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, p. 352.
15. Warren Wagar,
The City of Man, p. 168.