Everyone knows that the Qur’an claims to provide guidance for the whole of mankind, but when one reads Qur’an; it is found that it is mainly addressed to the Arabs, who lived at the time of its revelation. Though at times it also addresses other people and mankind in general, it mainly discusses those things which appealed to the taste of the Arabs and were linked with their environment, history and customs. This naturally gives rise to the question:
Why does the Qur’an contain so many local and national sentiments of the period in which was revealed, when it was meant of the guidance of the whole mankind?
Those who don’t understand the wisdom of this, begin to argue that: The Qur’an was really meant for the reform of the Arabs of that period but later on somehow or other, the claim was made that it was guidance for the whole of mankind and for all ages.
If one does not raise this objection merely for the sake of objection but really wants to understand the matter, he is advised to:
1 Read the Qur’an and mark the parts which give rise to this doubt. He should then point out any tenet, idea or principle therein that might have been meant particularly for the Arabs of that period only.
2 He should lay his finger on any moral principle, practical rule or regulation that is not of universal application and was meant only for the Arabs of that period, time and place. The mere fact, that the Qur’an refutes the blasphemous creeds and condemns the evil customs of a particular people, living at a particular time and place and bases arguments for the unity of God on the material gathered from their environment, is not a sufficient proof to establish the allegation that its invitation and appeal was local and temporary.
3 One should examine the question closely and decide whether what it says regarding the blasphemous people of Arabia is or is not equally true of every period and every place, and whether we can or can not use every where, with minor changes, the same arguments that the Qur’an puts forward for the Unit of God. If the answer to these questions is in the affirmative, then there is no reason why such a universal revelation should be dubbed as local or temporary, simply because it was addressed to a particular community and during a particular period. There is no philosophy, no way of life and no religion in the world which expounds, from the beginning to the end, everything in the abstract without making any reference to particular cases or concrete examples, for it is simply impossible to build a pattern of life merely in the abstract. Even if we suppose, for the sake of argument, that it were possible to do so, most surely such a system will always remain merely a theory on paper and will never take a practical shape.
Moreover, it is neither necessary nor useful to start any ideological movement form the very outset on international lines that is meant to be ultimately international. The only right method of beginning this will be to start the movement in the country of its origin, present and practice its theories and fundamental principles which are to form the basis of the required system of life, with full force. Then its exponents should impress these things on the mind of their own country and prove their worth by evolving a happy and successful system of life. This will naturally attract other nations, and their intelligent people will themselves come forward to understand the movement and start it in their own countries. Thus a certain ideological system does not become national simply because it was at first presented to a particular nation and its arguments were a national from an international and a temporary from a permanent system is this:
1 A national system aims either to establish its own superiority over other nations or presents principles and theories which, by their very nature cannot be applied to other nations.
2 On the other hand, an international system grants equal status and equal rights to all human beings and puts forward principles of universal application.
3 Moreover, the principles of a temporary system become impracticable with the passage of time while the principle of a permanent system is applicable to all times.
If one studies the Qur’an in the light of the above, one will come to the conclusion that its teachings are of universal application.
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