cause them to progress and to govern, are religion and the heart. As for philosophy, it should assist religion and the heart, not take its place.
S e c o n d l y : It is a grievous error to compare the religions of Islam and Christianity and to be indifferent towards religion like Europe. Firstly, Europe has its religion. The fact that such European leaders as Wilson, Lloyd George, and Venizelos were as bigoted in their religion as priests, testifies that Europe has its religion, and is even bigoted in one respect.
T h i r d l y : To compare Islam with Christianity is a false comparison and wrong. For when it was bigoted in its religion, Europe was not civilized; it became civilized on giving up its bigotry.
Furthermore, religion caused three hundred years of war between them. And since it was the means of despotic tyrants crushing the common people, the poor, and thinkers who were in their power, they all felt a temporary disgust at religion. However, in Islam, history testifies that apart from one occasion, religion has not been the cause of internal war.
Also, whenever the people of Islam have adhered in earnest to their religion, they have advanced proportionately, achieving significant progress. Witness to this is the greatest master of Europe, the Islamic state of Andalusia. But whenever the Islamic community has been slack in religion, it has sunk into wretchedness, and declined.
Furthermore, Islam has protected the poor and the common people with compassionate measures such as enjoining the payment of zakat and prohibiting usury and interest. And in accordance with phrases like, “So will they not think,”(36:68) * “So will they not reason,”(6:50) * “So will they not ponder on it,”(4:82) it has called on the intelligence and encouraged reason and knowledge and protected scholars. Islam has therefore always been the stronghold and place of recourse of the poor and the people of learning. They have no reason to be vexed at Islam. The underlying reason Islam differs in various respects from Christianity and other religions is this:
The basis of Islam is the pure affirmation of divine unity; it attributes no actual effect to causes and intermediaries, and affords them no value in respect of creation and position. Christianity, however, since it has accepted the idea of Jesus being the Son of God, it gives some value to causes and intermediaries; it cannot break egotism. It quite simply ascribes a manifestation of divine dominicality to its saints and great ones, thus confirming the verse:
They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of God.(9:31)
It is because of this that, together with maintaining their pride and egotism,