By: Allamah Syed Muhammad Husain Tabataba’i
The holy religion of Islam is the last divine religion, and for this reason it is the most perfect of them all. With the advent of this religion, the former religions were abolished, for by having a perfect religion, there is no need for an imperfect one.

The religion of Islam was sent down to man through our Honorable Prophet, Muhammad (S). This door of salvation and prosperity was opened to mankind at a time when human societies had passed through the periods of immaturity and mental incapacity and had become prepared to gain their ideal perfection and acquired the capability to gain knowledge in divine and sublime matters along with their application.

Therefore, Islam has introduced facts and teachings suitable to the understanding of a realistic man as well as praiseworthy ethics that distinguish men, has provided instructions that reform individual and social aspects of man’s life, and has also recommended the observance of these factors.

For this reason, the religion of Islam is a universal and eternal religion. It consists of a series of religious tenets and practical and moral provisions, the application of which ensures man’s welfare and happiness in this world and the Akhirah (the world Hereafter). The regulations of Islam are such as to bring about the best conditions of life and the most progressive human transcendence for individuals and societies observing them.

Islam grants its excellent advantages to all people and societies equally. Adults and children, the wise and the ignorant, men and women, the white and the black, easterners and westerners can, without exception, enjoy the benefits and advantages of this holy religion to attain their needs in the best and the most perfect manner possible.

This is due to the fact that Islam has established its teachings and regulations on the basis of creation and has considered man’s needs and tries to settle them. The nature and structure of all men are identical even if they belong to different races and generations. It is evident that human society, from east to west, is regarded as a typical family, that is to say, the members of society are all human.

The adults and children, men and women, the wise and the ignorant, the white and the black, are members of this family. They all share the same principles and foundations of human characteristics. The needs of various individuals and different races are the same. Posterities are also descendants of this very family and will definitely inherit their requirements.

Consequently, Islam is the religion which fulfils the actual and natural needs of man. Islam is adequate for everyone and will survive for ever.

Thus, the Almighty Allah calls Islam a human nature-inspired religion and invites people to keep human nature alive. Theologians have stated that Islam is an easy religion which does not treat man with severity.


The Importance that Islam Attributes to Man’s Comfort

Just as religion possesses an excellent position in regard to other social policies, Islam, too, enjoys an excellent position among other religions. Thus, Islam is more advantageous than other policies for human societies. This fact is clarified by comparing Islam with other religions and social policies.


Comparison of Islam with Other Religions

Among all religions, Islam is the only one that is entirely social. The teachings of Islam are not similar to those of the present-day Christianity which only takes into consideration people’s happiness in the world Hereafter and ignores their worldly happiness.

The teachings of Islam are neither like the present religion of Judaism that only endeavors to educate a particular nation. The teachings of Islam, unlike the instructions set forth by Magus and some other religions, have not focused on only a few limited subjects relating to ethics and actions.

Islam has considered education and prosperity necessary for this world and the world Hereafter for everybody and forever at any time and place. Evidently, except Islam, there is no other means for reforming societies and providing the people with happiness in this world and the world Hereafter.

First, since the global relations are getting closer and stronger day by day, the reformation of one society or nation from among all human societies will be fruitless and, in fact, it resembles the purification of a drop of water in a contaminated large pool or a river.

Second, only the rectification of a particular society at the expense of neglecting other societies is contrary to the fact of seeking reformation. All ideas and thoughts about the creation of the world and man that may be reflected in man’s mind, all ethics that can be implanted in the souls of people and all actions and endeavors that may appear in man’s environment have been examined in the teachings of Islam.

However, in Islam, realistic thoughts, on top of which is the Oneness of the Almighty Allah, have been selected and considered as the basis and foundation of religion.

In the ethics of Islam, that which is in fact approved by sound judgment has been chosen and based on the principle of monotheism.

Then, on the basis and principle of ethics, a series of provisions and practical laws that examine the details of man’s life have been explained and, as a result, individual and social duties of black and white, urban and nomadic, man and woman, young and old, servant and master, king and the subject, rich and poor, have been clarified under ordinary or exceptional circumstances.

“… Of a good word (being) like a good tree, the root of which is firm and the branches of which are in heaven (14:24).”

Anyone, who enquires into the basic principles of intuitive knowledge and ethical teachings of Islam and Islamic jurisprudence, will find them like a boundless sea which renders the wisdom helpless for comprehending and thought for reaching its depth.

Nevertheless, every part of Islam is linked with other parts and all parts constitute an organized unit of theism and human fostering, revealed by the Almighty Allah to His honorable Prophet.


Comparison of Islam with Other Social Systems

By careful examination of the policies of the developed societies of the world, we realize that although the scientific and industrial development of these societies has dazzled man’s wisdom, even though their power and strength has reached the moon and Mars, and in spite of the fact that the illuminating institutions of their countries have astonished man, these advanced policies, with their praiseworthy progress, have opened up the gates of misery to the world of humanity.

They have also devastated the world twice in less than a quarter of a century and have annihilated millions of innocent people. At present, too, the third world war, which carries the message of man’s annihilation, threatens the inhabitants of the earth.

From the first day of their development, these very policies have put other nations under the yoke of servitude by the name of philanthropy and freedom. They have tied down the four huge continents of the world with colonization and have surrendered them unconditionally to Europe, thus providing the small minority of Europe with absolute ruling over the property, life, and dignity of millions of innocent people.

It cannot be denied that the advanced countries enjoy the material pleasures and blessings of their milieu and have attained most of their humanitarian goals such as social justice and cultural and industrial progress, but they have been entangled with misery and wretchedness, the most important of which are international conflicts and universal bloodshed. They also expose the world to more sinister and bitter calamities than before.

It is self-evident that all these are the bitter and sweet fruits of the tree of civilization and the direct results of the way of living of these nations and societies that are superficially on the path of progress.

But it must be realized that the sweet fruits, from which man and society have benefited, originated from a series of praiseworthy ethics such as truthfulness, honesty, conscientiousness, benevolence, and self-sacrifice of these nations and not of their laws only. This is because although the same laws exist in undeveloped nations of Asia and Africa, their misery and humility augments day by day.

The bitter fruits of this tree, however, which have unpleasantly given their acrid flavor to man and have caused misery and wretchedness and have led the advanced nations, like others, to total destruction, originate from indecent behaviors such as greed, injustice, atrocity, selfishness, vanity, and stubbornness.

If we consider the instructions of the holy religion of Islam, we come to the realization that Islam orders the performance of the first part of these attributes and prohibits the second part. As a whole, Islam has invited man to perform any righteous and correct act suitable to man’s interests and has placed this policy as the basis of its education.

On the other hand, Islam warns man of committing any unrighteous and incorrect act which disrupt man’s tranquility (although it may benefit a particular nation or people).

From what has been expressed, the following conclusion can be drawn:

(1) The policies set forth by Islam are more praiseworthy and beneficial for man than any other social policy.

“…That is the right religion, but most people do not know (30:30).”

(2) The clear points and sweet fruits of the present civilized world are entirely due to the blessings of the immaculate religion of Islam and the living examples of its holy principles and tenets and living signs that have fallen into the hands of westerners.

Centuries before the signs of western civilization appeared, Islam had invited people to follow the same ethics by the application of which westerners outpaced us.

Before his martyrdom, the Leader of the Faithful, ‘Ali (as), stated to the people: “Do not act in such a way that others may outpace you in practicing the decrees of the Qur’an.”

(3) According to the instructions of Islam, ethics must be considered as man’s essential objective and the cornerstone of laws. Disregarding decent ethics and establishing laws only to meet the materialistic interests of people will only focus their attention on materialism and will deprive them of spiritualism which is the only mark of distinction of man over animals. It will replace spiritualism with brutality, as in wolves and tigers, and with docility as in cows and sheep.

Therefore, the Holy Prophet (S) stated: “My main objective is the moral education of people.”


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