As man progresses, he makes advancements in science through which he harnesses nature. By harnessing the laws of nature he gains tremendous power. Some centuries back in time, a man could hardly injure or kill someone with a wooden sword. But today man has the power to kill or injure multitudes by a gun, a cannon or a bomb. Man’s power gained tremendously with time but he did not use that power within any parameters. This is the reason why the world has become a lions den today. Whoever has more power, he is capable of unleashing it to destroy others. Patriotism  has also justified  the use of power either to defend one’s homeland or to exploit another.
It was this free for all approach towards power that resulted in two world wars in Europe, which jolted the entire world and caused millions to die. Today there is darkness everywhere. The Quran has said:
“Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of what men have earned.” 30:41
This is the result of a man made social order, one in which human thought does not follow any moral guidelines. About such a system it is said: “You reject (the Divine CODE) and follow a social order in which even children become old and frail.” (73:17).
Our present social set up is as such that in it a 40 year old has such a difficult life that he appears like a 60 year old. “Darkness, one upon another.” (24:40). “One to whom Allah does not grant light, he has no light.” (24:40)
The world is before us. In it their are believers in God as well as disbelievers. However darkness is all around. Every one seeks to exploit the other. In the cities residents fear their neighbours and live a life of distrust. In such an atmosphere wherein their is darkness all around us, Tolu Islam has arisen with its invitation to the illumination of Quran. “A light with which he walks among the people.” (6:122). This movement has apprised people of the pristine message of the Quran. Although it is difficult to cover all features of this movement, we discuss a few for the sake of brevity.
 After their golden age, Muslim civilisation started to decline. In this period Muslims had within their midst some very great scholars, thinkers, and reformers, all of whom attempted to rectify the condition of the Muslims but to no positive avail.
The prime reason for their failure was that they had not been able to make a sound diagnosis of the situation. They considered the causes of Muslim decline to be the remedy. It was a providential favour that Allama Iqbal appeared on the horizon who gave the correct assessment of Muslim downfall.
Iqbal distinguished  between Deen and Mazhab i.e. the Islamic social order in contrast with ritualistic religion and then informed the Muslims that the real cause of their downfall was that they had made Islam merely as a religion instead of a social system to govern their lives. Religion is a private affair between man and God and it finds fulfilment with the performance of certain rites and rituals or parastish. Man deludes himself into thinking that he has a relationship with God because of these rites and rituals. The relationship is purely internal to man’s thoughts and personal to him and has no connection with his public life. There is no need for a social order to practice one’s religion. In contrast, Deen is a social order and a collective system which is established on the basis of permanent and immutable laws which impact all aspects of the lives of believers. In Deen the laws originate from God and His Messenger and their obedience is by a central authority which enforces these laws. Thus Ebadut of Allah and Etaat of Rasul Allah is through the central authority which establishes the Deen. Therefore there is no scope for parastish or personal and private ritualistic religion. In Deen, a living authority is present. That authority does law making in the light of God’s revealed laws and after due consultation issues orders.
Thus obedience to the laws enforced by that authority which are in conformance with and within the parameters of Quranic laws will be obedience to Allah and His Messenger. It is through this social order that promises of Allah are fulfilled. Sustenance is superfluous in this social system. (17:31, 6:151, 11:6). Muslims find power and rule through this social order (47:35, 3:139, 4:141). In the social order of Deen, every individual finds his true potential.
As the foundation of this social order is based on the attributes of Allah, that is why these attributes are continuously manifest in this system. The real cause of Muslim downfall is to leave this social order. If Muslims are desirous of renaissance then it is expedient that they jettison man made social systems and establish the Deen of Allah. It is a crime to spend life in a godless society (6:123). Those who do so live a life in hell (4:97). It is through this social order that prayers are answered. All affairs in this social order are Ebadut of Allah as obedience to every Quranic order is Ebadut. The biggest hurdle between this social order and Muslims is their prevailing belief in Roohaniat or spirituality. In Roohaniat, there is no notion of societal living except a life in seclusion. The Quran does not even contain the term Roohaniat. The word Rooh has occurred for revelation and its recipient. Our Sufis and scholars have made Rooh an antithesis of matter and because of this started hating the world and this resulted in the Muslim communities down fall. Under Roohaniat, the importance of worldly knowledge is lessened. To such scholars and advocates there is no importance of learning. There concern is only with esoteric knowledge. When any nation starts hating the world, shuns and abandons it then the result is its evident downfall.
The Tolu Islam movement refuted the wrong concept of Roohaniat and gave its correct understanding. Quran has cited the same evolutionary stages for man that animals go through. But man is made distinct as “Allah breathed into him of His spirit.” (32:9)
The result of this was that man received the faculties of hearing, sight and discernment (32:9). The Quran mentions Rooh of Allah but it does not mention Rooh of man. This is because when Rooh is given to man then the word Nafs is used for it. This is also known as the human self. To grow and develop the human self is the aim of life. As the Quran does not mention the word Roohaniat it has not cited means of its attainment. Our Sufis concocted the methods of attaining Roohaniat. As the Quran lays great emphasis on Nafs it has given principles for its growth and development. By clinging to Roohaniat society deteriorates but by developing the Nafs it flourishes. In such a society caring for others results in caring for one’s own person. “He who gives his wealth to grow.” (92:18). “Whoever grows, he grows for his own self.” (35:18).
By rejecting the concept of Rooh and embracing the concept of Nafs society evolves to the better. The human self has all divine attributes within itself (in the boundaries of human limitations). It is obligatory on man to inculcate divine attributes within himself to the best of his ability. Among the duties of the messenger of Allah was Tazkiya tun Nafs or growth and development of the self (2:129, 2:151). This was not done by prayer or religious rites but by establishing a society in which the character of everyone was developed and his potential was fully realized.
To refute the notion of Rooh and to introduce the Quranic concept of Nafs is a unique achievement of Tolu Islam. It has laid the foundation of Deen as Nafs is the basis of a society in which Deen is established.
The third major achievement of Tolu Islam is that although Allah had declared that His guidance is preserved in Quran (15:9), and it is sufficient a guide (29:51), some people claimed that there are numerous other ways of acquiring divine knowledge such as Wahy khafy, Ilham, Ilqa, Kashf, Ruiya, Istikhara etc. As these views are against Quran and undermine its importance they are totally false. According to such beliefs man can directly communicate with God anywhere and at anytime. It is amazing how such views are continuously prevailing among Muslims and no Aalim has raised his voice against them. Although the reality is that after the finality of Prophet hood no room exists for anyone to gain direct knowledge from Allah. This is so because finality of prophethood implies that after the messenger of Allah, no individual will receive revelation from Allah. And anyone who claims to receive revelation by any means e.g. Kashf, Ilham etc then essentially he has made a claim for Prophethood. To refute all such un-Quranic beliefs only one verse is sufficient.
“And it is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise.” 42:51
The solid principle derived from this verse is that Allah’s link with man is that of communication. Apart from this no other kind of relationship can be established between Allah and man. The knowledge that man received from Allah was through His kalaam or speech. This verse cites three modes of speech and all three indicate the manner of communication with words. Prophet Musa also received revelation by words (27:82, 20:13). For kalaam, words are necessary. This has been stated Raghib Isphahani. For wahy khafy, Ruyiya, etc words are not given only signs are made or meaning implied. But this is invalid as without words knowledge is not exchanged. We must remember this principle that all knowledge that was given by Allah to man it was given by words. This point is clarified by Tolu Islam and it is important to understand it. The importance of Quran is realised in this way and the credit goes to Tolu Islam. It is amazing why such high calibre Ulema failed to appreciate this vital concept and its lot came to Tolu Islam.
One achievement of Tolu Islam is its distinction between Parastish and Etaat. It highlighted that the cause of Muslim downfall has been the abandonment of Etaat in favour of Parastish. E.g. you performed parastish in a mosque for an hour, then got out and drove home. On the way a policeman signalled you to stop, so you stopped. In the mosque was your parastish but obeying the policeman was your etaat. Etaat is never individual but is collective. The main emphasis of Muslims is on parastish. Nawafil, Tasbeeh, Chilla etc are all forms of Parastish not Etaat. Maulana Ameen Ahsan Islahi maintains that it is a contradiction to do Ebadut of someone else and Etaat of someone else. Only those devoid of reasoning will fail to comprehend this. After Khilafat Rashida Muslims fell into the trap of parastish and has been suffering since then. It is mazhab or religion which makes the distinction between worship and obedience. It makes prayer restricted to the boundary walls of the mosque. Quranic guidance on the other hand applies to life’s practical problems. It’s obedience in this life is thus mandatory as by it results are manifest. Parastish does not produce any results in this world. It is only claimed in the hereafter.
Parastish does not impact society while Etaat has results which are visible. Allah says:
And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if you ordered them, they would go forth [in Allah ‘s cause]. Say, “Do not swear. [Such] obedience is known. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with that which you do.” (24:53)
The verse cites that obedience is known. There is no need to make claims for it. The word Maroof along with Etaat makes it clear that it is not something theoretical but is visible and practical. Etaat is an act which is discernable and recognised. In contrast parastish does not have concrete results.
I am conversing with you. During the course of our conversation I frequently use pronouns I, me, mine. This possessive individuality of mine is separate from my body but is a part of me. The Quran refers to this individual self as Nafs. It is an energy that separates man from animal. When referring to Allah it is termed as Rooh while in relation to man it is called Nafs. A newborn has all the potentiality in undeveloped form. The purpose of Life is to develop the self so that all his talents are actualized. The Quran calls this Tazkiya Nafs and Qurb of Allah.
The human body operates under physical laws however the human self or Nafs as it is not a physical entity does not develop by observing physical laws. Its growth and development is by virtue of working under permanent values which are given by God’s divine revelation which is contained only in the Quran. This is the juncture at which man is in need of divine revelation. The foundation of an Islamic government is based on the notion “Whoever commits wrong, commits it to the detriment of his own self.” (4:111)
If we were to really have firm conviction on this verse then we would never commit wrong. In an Islamic government, citizens do not commit crimes as they understand that doing so harms their personality, hence the rate of crime is low. Deen is linked with belief in the human self.
It is the duty of every person to spend his life according to permanent values. In this way in this state every person’s innate potential will become actualized. This is Tazkiya-E-Nafs according to Quran. The Tolu-E-Islam movement refuted the idea of Rooh or spirit and instead advocated the concept of Nafs or human self. This way it laid the foundation of an Islamic state. By upholding Rooh and Roohaniyat the belief in establishment of Deen is undermined. This is the cause of Muslim downfall. Sectarianism emerged among Muslims during the Abbasid era. It was in this period of turmoil that Islamic nomenclature was codified. This body of literature was under sectarian influences. Tafseer, Hadith, Tarikh etc were all written during the Abbasid era. Every sect introduced texts from its own perspective. Our scholars do not consider sectarianism wrong and openly associate themselves with a school of thought. All our mosques are affiliated with a sect.
In the constitution of Pakistan sectarianism has been recognised. But you will be amazed that in the light of Quran, sectarianism is shirk and unlawful. Allah states: “And be not from the Mushrikeen. From those who have divided their Deen and become sects. Each party rejoices in what it has.” (30:31-32)
In the above verse the Quran terms sectarianism as Shirk. Further detested in: “Surely as for those who have divided their Deen and become sects, you have no concern with them.” (6:159)
It is obvious from this verse that the messenger of Allah pbuh has got nothing to do with those who fall into sects.
At another point it is said: “And hold fast to the rope of Allah and be not divided.” (3:103)
The verse has an imperative in holding fast to the Quran and a prohibition of not falling into divisions. This makes it clear that we fall into sects when we do not hold on to the Quran. The above three sets of verses make it clear that sectarian groups have no affiliation with either the messenger of Allah pbuh or the Quran.
The Quran further states: “And be not like those who fall divisions and into disputes after clear Signs came to them. For such is a great penalty.” (3:105)
This verse is clear that if sectarian groups persists in their ways even after evidence to the contrary has reached them then they will receive divine retribution.
The Quran has itself identified the various forms of punishments. Ignominy and disgrace in this world (20:134). Fear and hunger (16:112). Sectarianism and schism (6:65). Cessation of natural gifts (7:96). Mutual strife (3:104). To remove differences is a sign of mercy (11:118).
In this present era it is not necessary to pinpoint these punishments as they are all manifest in our societies. Pakistan is witnessing turmoil. So is the Middle East. Terrorist acts are rampant. Those who commit such are backed up by their respective sects!
In a speech, the late Dr. Israr Ahmad stated that why would the clergy speak against sectarianism when it was their own invention.
Quran was revealed in the ordinary daily speech of the Arabs. “By the Lord of heaven and earth, this is the truth in the manner of their logical speech.” (51:23)
Just like ordinary speech has literalism, metaphor, similitude, and analogy, in the same manner the Quran also has these modes of expression. Quran has also it’s own terminology whose meaning are apparent by inflection of its ayaat.
But it is unfortunate that we Muslims changed Deen into mazhab and lost touch with these vital Quranic vocabulary. Now that we are unable to distinguish between Deen and mazhab we are unable to gain insight into the true meaning of these Quranic terms. In the history of Muslims, Tolu Islam is the only movement that realised this vital distinction and elaborated on the true meaning of Quranic words. The truth is that Muslims didn’t conquer the Persians rather the the later influenced the former. Our commentators under the influence of Persians interpreted Quranic themes and did this consciously and at times unconsciously. In this computerised age, all one has to do is to Google Persian religious terms such as Majoosi worship on Internet and see what comes up. They will see that Namaz was the term for their prayer and Salat became Namaz because of that. According to our Ulema and traditions Namaz became obligatory during the ascension of the Prophet pbuh and it is said to be the gift of Miraj.  However it is reported that the said incident occurred few months before Hijra to Medina while the Prophet pbuh spent about thirteen years before this time in Mecca and during that time many verses related to Salat were revealed. If indeed Salat was made obligatory during Miraj then why do we find Meccan verses on its obligation? Secondly the order is for Iqamat e Salat i.e. establishment of Salat not its reading. It is stated in Sura Hajj:
“[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.” (22:41)
It is obvious from the above verse that for Iqamat Salat authority in the land is a prerequisite. Without power, Salat cannot be established. Jalalayn is an acclaimed Tafsir. Almost all students of Darse Nizami are required to read it as part of their curriculum. It maintains that the above verse has laid a condition of rule on land to establish Salat and cites this in accordance with principles of Arabic grammar. From Jalalayn we can infer that Quranic Salat is not Namaz and vice versa.
We have given a brief introduction of Tolu Islam and mentioned its activities. As far as its high and noble status is concerned it should be reflected that the Quran does not use the word Sahabi or companion as physical presence then becomes mandatory. Quran did not restrict matters like Iqamat Deen, Jihad, Hijrah etc to the lifetime of the Prophet pbuh. That is why it has used the word MAAHU (with him) instead of Sahabi (companion). This will apply to all people’s till day of judgement.
“And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.” (9:100)
In connection with the commentary of “…and those who followed them with good conduct…” Tafsir Mazhari maintains all people who follow in the footsteps of Sabiqoon al Awaloon till the day of judgement. i.e. all who migrate in Imaan and who support the Deen of Allah. Whoever starts the movement for Iqaam ad Deen he will be among these followers. By this verse the high status of members of Tolu Islam can be observed. I pray to Allah that He accepts the hard work and service of the members of Tolu Islam and makes this movement a success. As Allah has promised that His Deen will always be victorious (61:9, 58:28, 9:32).
Posted in Articles.