Before revelation of the Quran, clear concept of the Unity of Only One God
Alone, had been confused and corrupted. The mankind was divided. Human history
shows that in Babylonia, China and Egypt, patriarch could sell his children into
slavery. Women were treated as chattels. Arabs used to bury their daughters
alive, in shame. In Greece, society was divided into three classes – notables,
commoners and slaves. Rome was similarly divided into various classes. These
were Patricians (nobles) and Plebeians (commoners). They were divided poles
apart. Hindu society was also divided into classes- Brahmans, Kashtriyas,
Vaishyas and Sudras (untouchables). Religious teaching was limited to Brahmans,
and Untouchables were the out-caste. The caste system continues to prevail.
History has given strong verdict against barbaric people, period of ignorance
and Dark Ages.
Concepts about religions were not based on reason but they were mere beliefs
based on conjecture and custom. People were discouraged to reflect and think
about natural phenomena. Study of some facts of nature, mentioned in the Bible,
were declared Apocrypha (not meant for common man) as a sort of sinful taboo.
The Church and the Roman Empire, both persecuted people on these charges.
Galileo's case is one of many such regressive and retrogressive episodes of
history of science. He was forced to deny that the sun was the center of the
solar system and that earth turned on its axis or revolved round the sun. He was
compelled to kneel down before judges of the `Inquisition’. He had to say:
“I,Galileo Galilie, give assurance that I believe and always will believe, what
the church recognizes and teaches as true.” He was 36 when Bruno was burnt in
1600 C.E. Therefore he was quite cautious in making his `statement’, Although as
he stood up he `defiantly’ murmured `Ee pur si muove (And yet it moves)’. Good
luck for Galileo, these words were inaudible to the dogmatically deaf judges.
Philosophy had become mere conjecture. Hypothesis had no foundation because it
was not proved by scientific observation and experimentation, e.g., Aristotelian
and Ptolemian theories about planetary system, etc. Aristotle thought that earth
was stationary and that sun, moon, planets, and stars moved in circular orbits
about it. In Ptolemy's cosmological model, presented in second century A.C.,
earth was at the centre. Greek Philosophy, while it touched its zenith in logic,
discourse and dialogue, is an admitted example of complete neglect of scientific
verification of its own hypotheses. In spite of intellectual leadership, Greek
civilization decayed and state disappeared.
Superstition had dominated and subverted all chances of reflection into
phenomena of nature. Psyche of man was completely subjugated to celestial and
environmental events. There was no wholesome approach to universe because of
superstitions and unnatural and irrational beliefs. They attributed different
happenings and environmental changes to different gods and their consorts which
blocked course of mental exercise to consider cause and effect of each
separately and in a system as a whole. Man was serving idols and self-made gods
from all sorts of mud and materials. Fear of creatures and created objects had
overawed and overwhelmed human faculties and reasoning. All sorts of beliefs,
reflecting abject ignorance, in augurs, stars, stones and what not, had blocked
progress of human thought, research in the field of science and development of
Ritual had replaced the worship. All groups discredited religion of each other.
The earlier revelation was not available in its original word and form.
Misconception of terror, not love of God, and harshness of nature and its
unfriendly phenomena had terrified human mind. There was no coincidence and
concurrence in the word and deed of the priest and the rabi. Cruelty was cold,
crude and brute. Persecution and torture are remembered as ugly part of human
It was in these circumstances that the Quran gave the guideline to patronize and
put on the right path the effort for common good and welfare of society, along
with progress and development of individual personality as the basic building
block of durable social structure.
The Quran besides prohibiting subservience to superstition, provided
psychological protection and spiritual sense of security within its own fold,
e.g., in Surahs 113 & 114. It presented a revolutionary concept promoting
intellect to take stand on reason. Constantly and consistently, it appealed to
reason and invited all mankind, irrespective of any class, colour or creed, to
make use of faculty of reflection to study `creation’, their surroundings and
their own selves. In fact the first message starts with this invitation, which,
in essence, being in the form of imperative and instruction, makes
introspection, enquiry, reflection and research as religious duty.
"Read in the Name of your Lord-Master-Sustainer-Owner (Allah),
Who Himself created. (1)
He created the man from zygote." (2) (96-1 & 2 )
The Quran established that everything, though peculiar in many ways to itself,
as an element or entity, is linked to everything else in a definable system
serving the purpose of the supreme objective of existence, in its movement
forward to the final goal. It clearly asserted that everything in the universe
had been created, subjected and harmonized to sustain life, of which man was the
highest species and that it was open to exploration:
"O you, groups of jinn and mankind! If it be, you can pass
beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass you!
Not without force shall you be able to pass!" 55-33
It condemned all social evils as crimes, not only against individual(s) but also
against society, humanity and morality. It gave a blue print for establishment
of a just and progressive society, and in fact established a model. When
examined against concepts, which are projected as modern in different times, Al-Faatihah
stands as most advanced and modern in all times. Sir James Jeans’ following
statement may appear to be modern today: “In the deeper reality beyond space and
time, we may be all members of one body.” But when we look fourteen centuries
back, we find that the invocation in the plural form in verses 5 & 6 of Al-Faatihah,
even when recited by an individual, binds and blends man into the society for
the common good. The Quran and the Traditions stress not to detach from the
society. In fact, it infuses spirit to raise and sustain edifice of just and
progressive society. These Quranic concepts always stand out as most advanced
and modern in all times.
Failed Models and Geo-religious Scene at the Time of Revelation of the Quran:
Besides local brute force of pagans, following major religious groups existed in
respective geo-political settings, when the Quran was revealed:
Chinese: Besides being a major religious group, it was an empire, securing
itself within confines of the Great Wall.
Indian: It was a fractured melting pot of religions, dominated by Hinduism;
itself in disarray, with Harsha Vardhana Dynasty at Qanauj.
Magian: Iranian Empire was in constant conflict with Roman Empire - They were
softening bellies of each other.
Judaic and Christian: The Church was supported by Roman Empire with Jews
dispersed in the Peninsula with some fortifications of their own.
These and all the failed models on the high way of history should serve as
exemplary admonition to keep away from that route. The Quran mentions many
examples of empires (e.g. Roman and Persian), societies, (e.g. Jewish and
Christian), civilizations, (e.g. Egyptian, Babylonians, etc), particularly from
the ancients (e.g. Aad, Thamud, etc), and even individuals as examples of
Direction set by Al-Faatihah:
In this background, right at the earlier stages of revelation of the Quran, the
whole concept seems to be condensed in a capsule of one Surah (Al-Fatihaah)
which made it easy to understand and implement. It clarified that the revelation
upholds the truth enjoining the belief that The Only One Allah Alone is Himself
`The Rabb’ – The Ever-All Owner-Sustainer-Master-Lord. He is Ever
All-Beneficent, Ever All-Merciful and Sovereign-Owner of the Day of Recompense.
The belief in the Day of Recompense emerges from the belief in Resurrection. The
entire concept is translated in a practicable model (the concept based conduct)
called `Ad-diin’ (the religion, if it could be translated briefly). The
recompense is determinable on the basis of `Ad- diin’. Righteous living is
possible only in consonance with this belief and in obedience to the Laws based
on nature, for the good of humankind. Unity of mankind and progress of society,
along with development of individual personality are primary objectives of the
Message. Those who had deviated from the Truth (the Law) and had divided
themselves into sects, are invited to be back on the Right Path (which could be
only one single path in conformity with nature). Like the Unified Law of cosmos,
there is a Universal Law regulating human life – being one and the same for
every one. Deviation and division do not find favours and do not lead to