Part 2: Brief Knowledge about Islam
1. Islam is thus based on knowledge and action, to know the Supreme Being and His Laws, and to obey them to attain the goal on the path of progress. Again, knowledge is graded from the highest ‘and purest source, namely ‘Wah-yi’ or Revelation, down to ‘Fikr’ (self-thinking), ‘Khawz’ (vain discourse), and ‘Zan’ (conjecture), in their natural descending order. Intuition and Inspiration, which come, more or less within the experience of all, at the odd moments of their life, might just give an idea of Revelation, as a faint ray may represent the bright sun. But Revelation, as such is extremely spontaneous, natural, brilliant, sure and supreme, far above the effort of mind. Says the Holy Qur’aan: “ And it is not for any man that Allah should speak to him, except by Revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger, revealing by His permission what He pleases; surely He is High, Wise.’ Vide 51:42, 164:4, 65:18, 163:4, and 113:4.
2. Next to “Wah-yi” comes ‘Fikr’ or self-thinking, which is highly commended, even urged by the Holy Qur’aan. But the sphere of thinking is distinctly confined to Nature and its working the basis of all our sciences.
“Do they not think within themselves that Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them but with Truth (to serve a serious purpose), and for a fixed term? But most people believe not in the meeting of their Lord.” Vide 8:30, 20:38, 13:45. “Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and (in) the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men of understanding-those who remember Allah standing and sitting, and lying their sides, and think about the creation of the heavens and the earth (till they admit_-Our Lord! Thou hast not created (all) this in vain. Glory be to Thee! Preserve us from the doom of Fire.” 189:3
It would appear from this passage that religious mentality is not at all averse to a scientific outlook; in fact the latter follows the former as a natural sequence. Ignorance is the source of all pain and misery amounting to Fire.
3. So Revelation and thinking are recognized as the two reliable sources of knowledge in their respective spheres. But when thought sets out to explore the remote regions of revelation, it loses its moorings, and wanders off to ‘Khawz’ or vain discourse which in the language of the Qur’aan is no better than mere play. Vide 68: 6, 83: 43, 7: 52.
4. Lastly ‘Zan’ is a mere guess or conjecture, right or wrong as the case may be. It is a very common tendency of human mind, and a great source of misjudgment, So it has been expressly deprecated in the Qur’aan.
“And most of those (unbelievers) do not follow (any truth) but conjecture; surely conjecture will not avail them aught against the Truth; surely Allah knoweth what they do.” 117: 6
5. Revelation, which is the purest form of knowledge, can be assimilated through ‘liman’ or Belief by other people. In fact belief is the shortest and surest way to attain revealed knowledge. Belief is equally necessary for our acquired knowledge. Our individual personal knowledge, even of the daily life is almost insignificant, as compared with the sum total of human knowledge. Every advance of science and civilization tends to multiply our beliefs in the knowledge and action of others. Therefore belief is by no means confined to the spiritual sphere; it pervades the whole of our temporal life as well. 258:2.
Copied by Muhammad Sharif from the HOLY QUR’AN transliterated in roman script with English translation by Marmaduke Pickthal, Published by Paak Company, 17-Urdu Bazaar Lahore Pakistan