The Viewpoint of Islam in Regard to Nations and Races
Hojjat al-Islam Hashmi Rafsanjani
Former President of Islamic Republic of Iran
Friday Prayer Sermon 11: (December 14, 1984)
To the same extent that Islam feels for its followers in terms of ethical and humanitarian matters, it strives for the salvation of other human beings as well. Basically, Islam has been descended to root out corruption and safeguard the pious who need protection. The following Qur'anic ayah says:
"..And whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men... (5:32). "
And another ayah says:
"... Whoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the laud, it is as though he slew alt men...(5:32)"
Refer to spiritual revival and spiritual slaughter according to the interpretation of many of our exegetists and ahadith. To make a sound human being for a man from any race, generation, and religion is as though all the world people have been revived by him. This is the aim and programme of Islam. We have never seen Islam allowing a politico-Islamic movement to penetrate among its non-Muslim enemies to make them corrupt, and to degrade their society from within. Such an act is by no means permissible in Islam.
The world should pay heed to the point I am making. You Muslims are aware of the value of your religion but the world should pay heed to it. Only such a school of thought, i.e., Islam has the competence to be the standard-bearer of world civilization, and not that school of thought which determines the expediency on the basis of colour, skin, blood, borders, seas and lands, and flag. Mankind is the aim of Islam and I will present some examples.
In this regard, the Holy Qur'an contains numerous ayat. Numerous ayat insistently call on the Jews, Christians, and even the mushrikun (polytheists) to act according to their own ethics and aims, and not to deviate from their own religion. It is quite exceptional that Islam should put pressure on those who draw swords against it as to why they do not act according to their own religion to reach salvation. In some ayat of Suratul-Ma'idah, the Holy Qur'an complains of the Jews and Christians, saying that they go for debauchery and do not observe the commandments of the Tawrat (the Torah) and Injil (Holy Book of Christians). They have indulged in "eating of what is unlawfully acquired" and other things. The Holy Qur'an then complains of Christian and Jewish spiritual leaders as to why they do not fulfill the duty of enjoining good and forbidding evil and do not convince them to go for reformation. That is to say, why don't they prevent them from lying, coercing others, and eating what is unlawfully obtained or acquired, as it explicitly says:
"Why do not the rabbis and the priests prohibit them from their speaking of what is sinful and their eating of what is unlawfully acquired? Certainly evil is what they do (5: 63)."
Just compare this religion (Islam) with the school of thought which fans the flame of the `opium war' in China to stifle the people. See how the Qur'an calls on the Christian religious leaders and monks, and Jewish monks as to why they do not forbid their followers from lying and eating what is unlawfully acquired. Then the Holy Qur'an says:
And if they had kept up the Tawrat and the Injil and that which was revealed to them from their Lord, they would certainly have eaten from above them and from beneath their feet;... (5:66)."
Had they acted even according to Tawrat and Injil, Allah (SWT) would have showered blessings upon them from heaven and earth. This ayah calls on the Christians to observe the practical laws of Injil, and asks the Jews to practise the laws of Tawrat. In the manner the Holy Qur'an reproves the usurers among Muslims with regard to usury, it reproves in the same manner the Jews - in whose religion usury is actually forbidden - questioning them as to why they engage in usury and lying. This is how the Qur'an confronts them.
In the Surah of Ale`Imran, there are many ayat on the same subject matters that I have pointed out. At one place it states:
"And among the people of the Book there is one whore if you entrust with a heap of wealth, he will return it to you; and among them there is one whom if you entrust with a dinar, he will not pay it back to you...” (3: 75)
Finally, the Qur'an says:
"Yes, whoever fulfils his pledge and observes taqwa -then, Allah does love the muttaqun (pious, God fearing)” (3:76)
The Claimants of Western Civilization Mislead the Nations
The Qur'an demands for the Jewish and Christian communities the same taqwa that it wants for the Islamic community. This is quite nice. Tell the claimants of the modern Western civilization, who intend to mislead other peoples with wine and misleading pictures that they do not have the competence to be the standard-bearer of world civilization. They look at humanity as "a rival wife". They do not care for the prosperity of humanity. It is Islam that possesses the competence for this vital matter. When the Christians and Jews collaborated with the mushrikun against Islam, and were the enemies of the Muslims, the Holy Prophet (S), instead of finding infiltrating agents, and sending these agents among them to corrupt and destroy them from within, he found means to reform them and thought of bettering them.
In our Islamic jurisprudence, you may see the case for those kafirun converting to Islam. (Our Islamic jurisprudents note that if such people performed their deeds according to their own religion which they followed earlier, they are free from any additional binding duty. That is, we believe in the principle that those who believe in a religion or school of thought should observe taqwa and perform their duties according to their religion, and we emphasize this). The Qur'an also has laid emphasis on this matter with regard to the mushrikun as well. In regard to the-prohibition declared by the mushrikun in SuratulBaqarah (look gentlemen, the mushrikun had declared certain things haram and did not eat them, and had declared certain other things halal and used to eat them), the Holy Qur'an first asks them as to how they have declared such cases of haram and halal, and then it leads them not to eat useless things, nor to deprive themselves of what is halal, nor to do injustice to their own souls.
Taqwa -- The Basis of Prosperity
In principle, the basic programme of Islam for building the world is that the pure man observing taqwa (he might be the follower of any religion that we do not accept) is useful to the society. The sound person in a community is the main source of prosperity of people. On the other hand, the corrupt and the transgressor, be they Muslims, Christians, or otherwise, are harmful to the society. When such a humane logic is presented in this manner, it shows the value and universality of this school of thought as well as its concern for what is the way over and above carnal desires.
I want to mention a very interesting point for our own country. In my discussions on ethics, sexual issues, observing the hijab, and the like, I am not typically addressing the revolutionaries and the Muslims, for these people are themselves good by nature. In our society, the religious type of people are the supporters and defenders of the Revolution. They observe the hijab and follow the principles of ethics. They are what we want, and many of them are even better than us.
We are making so much effort and delivering khutab (sermons), our Islamic revolutionary guards are taking great pains on the streets; mobile units of our Islamic guards invite the ladies to practise chastity and modesty; we request so much the shops and boutiques to observe Islamic principles; we struggle so much against immoral affairs; etc. - the addressee for all these are mostly those who are not happy with our Revolution. Perhaps what we are doing might not be politically in conformity with the current world politics. This point is worth serious consideration. I request all friends and foes and revolutionaries and anti-revolutionaries, to pay heed and note where the human virtue lies.
The current policy of arrogant countries and corrupt governments is to fascinate their opponents towards corruption. From the worldly point of view this is correct also. They consider things on the basis of `two and two makes four'. They believe that if such and such a group of their opponents is, for instance, addicted to heroin or alcoholic drinks, or is engaged in merry-making in dancing halls or cabarets or other places of corruption, it will no longer go towards politics. This is a policy which is being followed by materialistic and worldly governments, as well as agents of arrogant powers. You remember very well the Shah's regime. At least all of us, who encountered it, remember it well. When the SAVAK agents arrested Muslim youths, and took them for inquiry, one of the statements which the investigators normally used to make was: “When we have arranged so many means of amusement for you, then why do you make yourselves imprisoned in these prisons? There are youth recreation centres, cabarets, sea beaches, streets, and classrooms. Go after your revelry and enjoy yourselves." When most of these youths were caught in corruption centres with a girl, the SAVAK agents used to let them go free, if they made the SAVAK agents believe that they had unlawful sexual relations. This was their type. They were determined to corrupt Muslim, and even communist youths. The policy of promoting means of debauchery and drinking and the policy of encouraging the use of smuggled goods and narcotics, etc., are based on this basis only.