increase in strength as the centuries pass. Indeed, this present age and the People of the Book this age, who have more than any other relied on themselves and stopped up their ears to the words of the Qur’an, are so in need of its guiding address of,
O People of the Book! O People of the Book!
that it is as if it addresses this age directly, and the phrase O People of the Book! comprises also the meaning of O People of the Modern Science Books!1 It delivers its shout of,
O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you2
to the ends of the world with all its strength, all its freshness, all its youth.
For example, modern civilization, which is the product of the thought of all mankind and perhaps the jinn as well, has taken up a position opposed to the Qur’an, which individuals and communities have failed to dispute. With its sorcery it impugns the Qur’an’s miraculousness. Now, in order to prove the claim of the verse:
Say: if the whole of mankind and the jinns were to gather together,3
we shall compare the foundations and principles which civilization has laid in the form of dispute, with the principles of the Qur’an.
At the First Degree: The comparisons and balances which form all the Words from the First to the Twenty-Fifth, and the verses at their heads which form their truths, all prove with the certainty that two plus two equals four the Qur’an’s miraculousness and superiority in the face of civilization.
At the Second Degree: Like the proofs in the Twelfth Word, it is to summarize a number of principles. By reason of its philosophy, present-day civilization accepts ‘force’ as the point of support in the life of society. It takes as its aim ‘benefits,’ and considers the principle of its life to be ‘conflict.’ It considers the bond between communities to be ‘racialism and negative nationalism.’ While its aim is to provide ‘amusements’ for gratifying the appetites of the soul and increasing man’s needs. However, the mark of force is aggression. And since the benefits are insufficient to meet all needs, their mark is that everyone tussles and jostles over them. The mark of conflict is contention, and the mark of racialism, aggression, since it thrives on devouring others. Thus, it is because of these principles of civilization that despite all its virtues, it has provided a sort of superficial happiness for only twenty per cent of mankind and cast eighty per cent into distress and poverty.
The wisdom of the Qur’an, however, takes as its point of support ‘truth’ in stead of force, and in place of benefit has ‘virtue and God’s pleasure’ as
Ehl-i Mekteb, those educated in modern secular schools, as opposed to Ehl-i Kitab. [Tr.]