its aims. It considers ‘the principle of mutual assistance’ to be fundamental in life, rather than conflict. In the ties between communities it accepts ‘the bonds of religion, class, and country,’ in place of racialism and nationalism. Its aims are to place a barrier before the illicit assaults of the soul’s base appetites and to urge the spirit to sublime matters, to satisfy man’s elevated emotions and encourage him towards the human perfections. And as for the truth, its mark is concord, the mark of virtue is mutual support, and the mark of mutual assistance, hastening to help one another. The mark of religion is brotherhood and attraction. And the result of reining in and tethering the evil-commanding soul and leaving the spirit free and urging it towards perfection is happiness in this world and the next. Thus, despite the virtues present-day civilization has acquired from the guidance of the Qur’an in particular, and from the preceding revealed religions, in point of fact it has thus suffered defeat before the Qur’an.
Third Degree: Of thousands of matters, we shall point out only three or four by way of example. Since the Qur’an’s principles and laws have come from pre-eternity, they shall go to post-eternity. They are not condemned to grow old and die like civilization’s laws. They are always young and strong. For example, despite all its societies for good works, all its establishments for the teaching of ethics, all its severe discipline and regulations, civilization has been unable to contest the All-Wise Qur’an on two of its matters, and has been defeated by them. These two matters are:
Be steadfast in performing the prayers, and give zakat,1
God has permitted trade and forbidden usury.2
We shall describe them, this miraculous victory, by means of an introduction. It is like this:
As is proved in Isharat al-I’jaz, just as the source of mankind’s revolutions is one phrase, so another phrase is the origin of all immorality.
First Phrase: “So long as I’m full, what is it to me if others die of hunger.”
Second Phrase: “You work so that I can eat.”
Yes, the upper and lower classes in human society, that is, the rich and the poor, live at peace when in equilibrium. The basis of that equilibrium is compassion and kindness in the upper classes, and respect and obedience in the lower classes. Now, the first phrase has incited the upper classes to practise oppression, immorality, and mercilessness. And just as the second has driven the lower classes to hatred, envy, and to contend the upper classes, and has negated man’s tranquillity for several centuries, so too this century,
Qur’an, 2:43, etc.