Page 39 - Islam In Focus

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establish order and justice. If Islam were to demand absolute forgiveness as some
other creeds do in theory, many undisciplined people would be tempted to do wrong
and exceed all limits. Likewise, if Islam were to demand only retaliation, as some
other creeds ruthlessly teach, there would be no room for mercy and patience nor for
spiritual reform and moral maturity, in which case many fine qualities of man would
subside and many moral potentials may never be actualized.
It is common knowledge that the people who are taught to forgive under all
circumstances do not, and probably cannot, practice their teachings, because it is not
the interest of humanity in the long run, nor is it in the interest of morality itself.
Likewise, the people who are taught to practice stern retaliation have little or no
respect for human virtues and care less for moral values as universal rules. But Islam,
the Divine foster of human nature, has given the right answer to human problems. To
those wrong doers who are looking for a second chance, who may improve or benefit
by granting them pardon, forgiveness is recommended and preferable. But against
those who might misunderstand the motives of forgiveness or be tempted to pursue
the wrong course, equal retaliation is authorized. Thus, the attitude of the Muslim in
either case is sound and beneficial. When he forgives, he pleases God, retains the
upper hand and contributes to the reformation of the delinquent. And when he
retaliates, he defends the right, establishes order and justice, and helps to arrest evil.
Now, which is sound morality? The attitude of the person who is a ruthless avenger
indiscriminately? Or the attitude of a Muslim who makes room for mercy and
forgiveness, and who allows for extraordinary circumstances? And who is normally
sound? The person who forgives because he knows that he is not allowed to retaliate?
Or a Muslim who forgives while he is fully aware that he can lawfully retaliate?
Which is real forgiveness? The one resulting from external compulsion and
prohibition not to act otherwise? Or the one resulting from freedom of choice and
freedom of action? It is no wonder that the moral principles of Islam are sound,
unique, and adaptive. They are the instructions of God, the Source of all goodness and
The Concept of the Universe
In the foreword, we briefly discussed the position of the Muslims and the future of
Islam in Western Hemisphere. In this part, we shall discuss the position of man in the
contemporary world, the general human situation, and the Islamic concept of the
universe or world view. This will reaffirm the concepts that have already been
discussed, add some new ideas, and tie together the various dimensions of the subject
in a summary recapitulatory fashion.
The present human situation is alarming, to say the least. It demands concern and
active response on the part of all people of good will and God – mindedness. But this
does not, and should not, lead to despair or resignation. The spirit of hope is, and has
always been, an integral part of Islam (see, e. g., Qur,an 12:87; 65:3)
The problems and crises of modern times are not entirely unique or peculiar. It is true
that they are difficult, complex, and agonizing. Perhaps this is even more so now than
ever before. But the difference, however, between this age and those of yester
centuries is basically a difference of degree rather than of kind. The ever – increasing