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An interesting and important exposition on 19:73 of the Quran: Materialist vs Ethical development

Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
edited November 2016 in End Times
19:73

AS IT IS, whenever Our messages are conveyed to them in all their clarity, those who are bent on denying the truth are wont to say unto those who have attained to faith: "Which of the two kinds of man is in a stronger position and superior as a community?" (Footnote)

(Footnote) Lit., "better in assembly". This parabolic "saying" of the unbelievers implies, in the garb of a rhetorical question, a superficially plausible but intrinsically fallacious argument in favour of a society which refuses to submit to any absolute moral imperatives and is determined to obey the dictates of expediency alone. In such a social order, material success and power are usually seen as consequences of a more or less conscious rejection of all metaphysical considerations-and, in particular, of all that is comprised in the concept of God-willed standards of morality-on the assumption that they are but an obstacle in the path of man's free, unlimited "development".

It goes without saying that this attitude (which has reached its epitome in the modern statement that "religion is opium for the people") is diametrically opposed to the demand, voiced by every higher religion, that man's social life, if it is to be a truly "good" life, must be subordinated to definite ethical principles and restraints. By their very nature, these restraints inhibit the unprincipled power-drive which dominates the more materialistic societies and enables them to achieve - without regard to the damage done to others and, spiritually, to themselves-outward comforts and positions of strength in the shortest possible time: but precisely because they do act as a brake on man's selfishness and power-hunger, it is these moral considerations and restraints-and they alone-that can free a community from the interminable, self-destructive inner tensions and frustrations to which materialistic societies are subject, and thus bring about a more enduring, because more organic, state of social well-being.

This, in short, is the elliptically implied answer of the Qur'an to a rhetorical question placed in the mouths of "those who are bent on denying the truth".

- Muhammad Asad

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"...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
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