IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
“ISLAM IS PERFECT” - WHAT DOES IT CONNOTE?
[Shamim A Siddiqi,
It was the declaration of Allah (SWT): “This day I have perfected your Deen [System of life] for you and completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your Deen. [Al-Maida: 3] This is the concluding agenda of Allah that He revealed to Rasulullah (S) on the Day of Arafat during his last and final Hajj in the tenth year of Hijrah. It was the last revelation and after that, Rasulullah (S) lived in this world just for 83 days only. Here the question arises: what it connotes. Does it mean that Islam is perfect in all respects and for all times to come? Will Islam, as a system of life, meet all the human needs until the last Day of Judgment? If the case is so, how Islam deals or will deal with various issues, problems and challenges that are cropping up every now and then with the growth of human civilization? Was any thing left for human ingenuity to add or subtract later on for the benefit of mankind? Along with this probe, it is equally important to find out: Are the basic human needs eternal or do they change with the change of time, requiring change in the system? These are very pertinent questions to deal with the captioned subject that in what respects the Deen Al-Islam is perfect. It needs elaboration within these parameters.
Another fundamental question that
can be put against these questions: Is the man the same what he was or will
remain the same as he is today? Are his habits of greed, anger, thirst, hunger,
sex, possessiveness, lust for power, fame and name the
same as they were in the most primitive human being or say in Adam and Eve? His
weaknesses and strength, mood and temperament, likes and dislikes, criterion of
loss and gains are the same or lying in a melting pot, ever changing like
shifting sand in the
In fact, we should try to understand what connotation the concept of “perfection” the verse quoted above from the Qur’an carries. Allah (SWT) has spelled out the fundamentals of each department of human life – religious, social, economic and political, at individual, family and collective spheres from personal Ebadah (worshipping) to war and peace, trade and commerce and human relationship at personal, family, national and international or global levels through ordaining the comprehensive Islamic code of conduct [the Shariah]. These principles are perfect and final and no human being can undo anything in this Divine guidance. But the Creator and Sustainer has intentionally left a big field or domain for man to exercise his talents to the extent it does not disturb the equilibrium set up by His guidance towards building a balanced and harmonious society on earth. Let us consider this aspect of human life in a broader spectrum.
Man, utilizing the bounties of the Creator that are scattered throughout this cosmos, builds different means of transportation and communication as propounded by Allah in Verse 8 of Chapter XVI of the Qur’an: “He will create [means of transportation and communication] that you know not.” It envelopes the entire spectrum of human endeavors in the fields of transportation and communication until the doomsday that man invents for the comfort and benefits of his specie and to satisfy his efforts to control and conquer the distance of time and gap of space. These are the open fields where man is free to exercise his talents and energies to the extent humanly possible. This field is wide open for humans to explore and exploit and now he is trying to inhabit a colony in the space and perhaps beyond in distant future. The Creator is watching meticulously all his efforts and activities both at individual and collective levels as to whether he makes this abode of man a hell or an abode of peace for the human society. There lies the test of man and he is accountable for all what he does on earth.
The other sphere that is free for man is to struggle for the satisfaction of his God-given urges – rest, hunger/thirst and sex, by dint of his labor/efforts and free will through exploring, and utilizing the sources that the Creator has provided in this cosmos for their fulfillment. This is again his test in a very broad spectrum as how he uses his talents and the bounties of nature. If he fulfills these urges through wrong and fraudulent means and creates disorder, bloodshed and destruction all around, he will disturb the existence of man and its consequences are enormous as we see around us and for that man is accountable to his Lord, facing punishment of gravest nature. If he fulfills these urges with honest means and without resorting to fraud and exploitation and in the way the Creator has ordained in the Qur’an and Prophet’s traditions, man will fill the earth with justice and fair play. In such situation, the Creator and Sustainer will reward man on the last Day of Judgment with eternal bliss.
The third, the most important and the most comprehensive field for man to exercise his talents, capacities and resources is to establish the will and authority of his Creator and Sustainer and struggle for the whole of his or her life for the Kingdom of God on earth. This is the surest way to deliver justice to mankind and the fairest way to fulfill his needs and urges on earth in a balanced and harmonious manner.
It shows that the Deen of Allah is perfect so for the fundamentals of human life are concerned. They are fixed, eternal and beyond the scope of man to make any mend in them. It mostly pertains to the fundamentals of human’s socio-religious-economic-political spheres. They are to create an equilibrium and balance in human society at personal, family, national and international levels. No encroachment is permitted in these fields at all. For the rest, human ingenuity is free to explore and exploit this cosmos and resources for the benefit of man and not for exploitation that creates only disorder and bloodshed. Man can use his talents in the spheres where the Creator Himself in His infinite mercy has left the field open for man. However, unfortunately man thinks that he is the master of his own destiny and as such, he is “poking” his nose everywhere and in each “black hole”, whether on earth or in the cosmos. In net result, he is only creating frustration, oppression [Zulm] and chaos all around.
Allah’s Deen is just “perfect” with a lot of freedom for man to exercise his talents to make this world an abode of peace and tranquility. In case, he disturbs the boundaries of “perfection”, his existence will become a “burden” on earth. The Creator is just and He has justly maintained an equilibrium in fixing the limits that are prohibited to man to cross and the limits of freedom to try his luck are unlimited but in no way he can transgress the limits of his Creator and interfere in His domain as usurpers. Human’s job is to implement the Divine laws on earth with mutual consent and consultation [Mashwrah] and enjoy the permissible freedom for a balanced growth of human society where the will of the Creator and Sustainer prevails in both the situation: where the divine guidance is given and where it is silent.
Shamim A Siddiqi
April 2, 2004