Rafed English

The Religious Message

Here, religion performs its great message whose burdens no one else can bear, nor its constructive goals and wise objectives can be achieved, except up on its bases and principles, joining the ethical criteria put by man with the egoistic instinct centered with- in his nature.

In other words, religion unites the instinctive criteria of working and living; that is, egoism, and the criterion which ought to be the basis for working and living, in order to guarantee (for mankind) happiness, prosperity and justice.

The instinctive criterion demands that man must give preference to his own personal interests over those of the society and the factors which maintain its unity; and the criterion which must preside and prevail is that in whose estimation all interests equate, and according to whose concepts all individual and social principles balance ... !

How is it possible, then, to co-ordinate both criteria and unite both balances so that the human nature might return in the individual to be a factor of goodness and happiness for everyone, after it had been for a long time a factor that caused tragedies which developed selfishness, as it pleases?!

The co-ordination and unification occur in a manner guaranteed by religion for the strayed hu- manity, and this has two styles:

The first style is to concentrate on the realistic interpretation of life, propagating its comprehension in its accurate hue, as introductory prelude to an everlasting life wherein man achieves an amount of happiness which depends on his endeavour during this limited life, hoping to achieve the Pleasure of Allah. The ethical criterion, that is, achieving Allah's Pleasure, while achieving its great social objectives, it spontaneously ensures achieving the individual interest! Religion, therefore, leads man to partici- pate in the construction of a happy society and the maintenance of its just issues which, all in all, achieve the Pleasure of Allah Almighty, for that is included in the estimation of his personal gain, so long as every deed and activity in this field will be very greatly rewarded.

The society's issue is also the individual's, according to the precepts and concepts of religion regarding life and its comprehension. Such a style of co-ordination cannot be achieved under the shade of a materialistic comprehension of life, for the ma- terialistic comprehension of life makes man naturally looking at none but his present scope and limited life-span, contrary to the realistic interpretation of life presented by Islam.

The latter expands man's scope, enforcing upon him a deeper outlook at his own interests and benefits, turning quick loss to a real gain within such deep sight, and the quick gain a real loss in the end W hoever does a good deed, it is f or his own self , and whoever does wrong, it is against his own self ... ( Qur'an, 41:46)

... A nd whoever, male or f emale, does a good deed, while truly believing, shall certainly en- ter Paradise wherein to be sustained without a limit. (Qur'an, 40:40)

On that Day (of Judgement) shall people be presented in numerous numbers in order to be shown their deeds; whoever does good even the weight of an atom shall receive its reward, and whoever does wrong even the weight of an atom shall receive its punishment. (Qur'an, 99:6-8)

... For they shall nev er suffer thirst, hard- ship, hunger in the w ay of A llah, go w here they w ould anger the unbeliev ers, or w in a v ictory ov er an enemy, but it shall be written as a good deed f or them , f or A llah does not suffer the good deed of a doer to loss. N or shall they spend a little or m uch, or cross a valley, but it w ill be w ritten to be rew arded by A llah with the rewards of their best deeds. ( Qur'an, 9:120-121)

These are but some magnificent portraits religion presents as an example for the first style, the one it follows for the purpose of co-ordinating both criteria and the unification of both balances, joining the per- sonal motifs with the ways of goodness in life and developing the indivdual's interest in a manner that would make him believe that his personal interests and the general matter-of-fact interest, outlined by Islam, are inter-related. 6

As regarding the other method followed by relig- ion to collaborate the personal motif with the prin- ciples or interests of the society, it is to guarantee to nourish man spiritually and help the growth of humane feelings and ethical inclinations within him. For within the human nature, as we have pointed out before, there are energies and capabilities of different inclinations. Some of them are materialistic, whose appetites open naturally, such as the appetite for food, drink and sex, while others are intellectual inclinations which blossom and grow through culti- vation and care. Therefore, it is natural for man, if left for himself, to be controlled by the materialistic inclinations, for these blossom naturally, while the intellectual inclinations and their innate readiness remain veiled within the soul. Religion, believing in an infallible leadership supported by God, entrusts the task of cultivating humanity and nurturing the intellectual inclinations therein to this leadership and its branches, creating thereby a group of righteous emotions and feelings, and man starts loving the ethi- cal principles and ideals religion brings him up to respect and die for, and it removes from his path all obstacles composed of his own interests and benefits.

This does not mean that egoism is obliterated from the human nature. Rather, it means that the action geared towards the achievement of such principles and ideals is a complete execution of the will of ego- ism, for the principles, because of religious upbring- ing, become loved by man as means of depriving a "special" pleasure therefrom.

These, then, are the two ways from which results the joining of the ethical issue to the personal matter. One of them may be summarized thus: providing a realistic interpretation of an everlasting life not for the purpose of man turning away from this life, nor is it for his submission to injustice and acceptance of iniquity ... No! It is for the sake of checking man through the accurate ethical criterion provided by that interpretation with sufficient assurance.

The other way may be summarized thus: the ethical education resulting in various feelings and emotions within man which guarantee the imple mentation of the ethical criterion according to the inspiration of the soul. The spiritual comprehension and ethical edu- cation of the soul, according to the Message of Islam, are the co-ordinating factors in treating the deeper cause behind the human tragedy.

Let us describe the comprehension of life as a prelude for a perpetual one, according to the spiri- tual comprehension of life, and let us describe the emotions and feelings, nurtured by the ethical edu- cation, as "the ethical feelings of life". The spiritual comprehension of life and the ethical feeling thereof are the two bases where- upon stands the new ethical criterion put by Islam for humanity and that (criterion) is: achieving the Pleasure of Allah. This Pleasure, the one put forth by Islam as a general criterion for life, is the one which leads the barge towards the shores of right- eousness, goodness and justice.

The basic characteristic in the Islamic system is represented through its erection upon a spiritual comprehension of life and an ethical feeling thereof, and the wide line in this system is: the regard for both individual and society, and ensuring the equi- librium between the individual and the social life. For the individual is not the central base in the legis- lation and government, nor is the big social being the only thing the State looks at or for whose sake she legislates ... !

Every social system which does not spring out of this comprehension and feeling is either a system which follows the individual in his egoistic inclina tion, thus exposing the social life to the most severe consequences and dire dangers; or it is a system which suppresses the individual's instincts and paralyses in him his own nature for the sake of "protecting" the society and its interests, hence an everlasting bitter struggle starts between the system and its legislations, and the individuals and their inclinations! Nay! The social existence of the system will always be exposed to failure at the hands of its own promoters, as long as they, too, have their own personal inclinations and instincts, and so long as these instincts find, through suppressing the other "individualistic" instincts and taking charge of strict leadership, a wide scope and a field unmatchable for setting out and utilization.

Both spiritual comprehension of life and the ethical feeling thereof do not only result in a com- plete system of life wherein there is the estimation for each part of the society, each individual will be granted his liberty which has been cultivated by that comprehension and feeling and which the State re- stricts when there is any deviation therefrom ... I say:

Every doctrine which does not produce for mankind this sort of system can never be other than cooling the air off and alleviating woes rather than providing a remedy and a definite eradication of social desires and vices. The intact social structure is erected upon none but a spiritual comprehension of life and an ethical feeling thereof, from which both a system is set forth to fill life with the spirit of this feeling and the essence of that comprehension ...

This is Islam in the most precise and wonderful expression: a spiritual and ethical doctrine from which springs a perfect system for mankind which portrays the clearly marked scope, determining his goal to be even higher than that scope, acquainting him with his achievements therefrom.

As for its abolishment of the spiritual compre- hension of life, stripping man of his ethical feeling thereof, considering the ethical concepts as pure whims created by the materialistic interests, and that only the economic factor is the criterion for all values and ethics, hoping from all this to achieve man's happiness and social stability ... This, indeed, is but a hope which can never be achieved until man- kind is changed into a mechanical apparatus organ- ized by few technical engineers.

Basing man upon the basis of that spiritual comprehension of life and the ethical feeling thereof is not a hard or impossible task, for religions during man's history have performed their great message in this respect, and all what the world today contains of spiritual values, ethical awareness, virtuous feelings and emotions do not have an explanation more clear and logical in their pillars and bases other than the great endeavours undertaken by religions to culti- vate humanity and its natural motifs and whatever required for living and working.

Islam has borne the torch of bursting light after mankind had reached a certain degree of awareness. It preached the spiritual and ethical base on the widest scales and furthermost scopes, raising there- upon the banner of humanity. It established an intel- lectual State which ruled the world for quarter of a century, aiming at the unity of all mankind into one intellectual base which portrays the mode and man- ner of life. The Islamic State, therefore, has two functions: One to lift mankind through the intel- lectual base, stamping his inclination and feelings with its stamp. The other is watching him externally and bringing him back to the base if he practically deviates from it.

Therefore, the political awareness of Islam is not only an awareness of the structural aspect of the social life, but it also is a profound political aware ness which springs from an entirely complete out- look towards life, the cosmos, sociology, politics, economics and ethics. This inclusive outlook is the complete Islamic awareness ... !

Any other sort of political awareness can either be a superficial political awareness which does not look at the world except from a particular angle without basing its concepts except on one particular hinging point ... Or it may be a political aware- ness which studies the world from the purely materi- alistic angle which provides mankind with combating and suffering of all various shapes and hues ... !

Notes:

6. Refer to Iqtisaduna p.307.

Adopted from the book: "Contemporary Man and The Social Problem" by: "Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr"

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