The Tawhīd, which Muhammad (sws) propagated, was distinct
from all other ideas because it was based on two principles: Tawhīd Rabūbiyyah,
which means that Allah, is One, without any partners or associates, and Tawhīd
‘Ulūhiyyah, which means that Allah must be worshipped alone in everything, and
total slavery must be to Allah alone in everything ranging from the spiritual to
It was this call for Tawhīd, which provoked the anger of
the Makkan political authority because they realised that Muhammad (sws) posed a
threat to their societal setup with this call. The response of Ja‘far Ibn Abī
Tālib (rta) also illustrates this understanding which the Makkan authorities
….He summoned us to worship the One True God and to reject
the stones and idols we and our fathers had been worshipping in addition to
Allah. He ordered us to be trustful in speech, to fulfill all the duties that
were entrusted to us, to care for our relatives, to be kind to our neighbours,
to refrain from unlawful food and consumption of blood. He forbade us to engage
in lewdness and lying, the devouring of the money of the orphan and the
defamation of married women. He commanded us to worship the One God and to
assign no partners unto Him, to pray, to pay the purifying tax and to fast. We
deemed him truthful and we believed him, and we accepted the Message he brought
This understanding of the spiritual-political nature of
the Message of Islam can also be found in many verses of the Qur’ān.
Neal Armstrong walked on the surface of the moon on July
20, 1969. Why did it take thousands of years for man to land on the moon?
Non-Muslims ask: ‘If Islam had never come into existence, would there have been
anything seriously lacking in world history?’ The answer is in the affirmative.
Polytheism and superstition looked upon things and
creatures as deities, and encouraged their worship. Before the advent of Islam
polytheism dominated the entire world. Man considered the moon, the sun, other
planets, wind, rivers, snakes, cows, fire, mountains, etc. as deities. These
natural objects inspired man to bow before them rather than try to conquer them.
Holding the moon to be sacred was a major obstacle to even thinking of
conquering it. The supremacy of polytheism was brought to an end by the Islamic
revolution, which replaced it with monotheism, making it the dominant creed of
What is a revolution? It is defined as a sudden, radical
or complete change; especially the overthrow or renunciation of one ruler or
government and substitution of another by the governed. To change fundamentally
or completely. To turn over in the mind: reflect upon: ponder.
In the Muslim world, this revolution was brought about
through the influence of religion. The western world began its revolution by
separating the secular sciences from religion culminating in the landing of man
on the moon. Modern science is a part of the Islamic revolution. Because of the
polytheistic view natural sciences had become forbidden territory and natural
phenomena were given sanctity. The Islamic revolution of monotheism opened the
doors of research and investigation by displacing nature from its sacred
pedestal. Modern science is wholly the gift of the Islamic revolution – directly
in its initial stages, and indirectly in its later stages. Modern scientific
revolution was set in motion by Islam, which was sent by the Almighty for the
guidance of all mankind for all eternity. Henri Pirenne author of ‘History of
Western Europe’ says:
Islam changed the face of the globe. The traditional order
of history was overthrown.
Islam is complete truth. All-pervasiveness of superstition
served as a hurdle to all kinds of human development. The kings or rulers
exploited the masses through polytheism and superstition. The kings represented
God on earth. Some kings like Nimrod, Pharaoh claimed as gods.
Dr. George Sarton, a former Professor of History of
Science at Harvard University, stated in his book ‘The Life of Science’ that the
foundations of science were laid for us by the Mesopotamian civilisation
(present day Iraq) whose scholars and scientists were their priests. The second
development of science came through the Greeks. The third Stage of development,
however, is to be credited to the meteoric rise of Islam. For nearly four
hundred years Islam led the scientific world as from one end of Islam to the
other, from Spain to India, the great body of past knowledge was exchanged
between her scholars and the torch carried forward with the new discoveries.
Scholars of Christendom from about the eleventh century were mainly occupied for
over two hundred years in re-translating from Arabic into Latin. Thus Islam
paved the way for the Renaissance, which in turn led to science’s fourth great
development in the modern world.
The Qur’ān says:
We have revealed to you this book so that, by the will of
their Lord, you may lead men from darkness to light. (14:1)
The Nile Goddess
In Egypt, it was an ancient and pagan custom that sometime
in July a virgin decorated with bridal clothes was thrown in the Nile river as
an offering to propitiate (to do something to get favours) the Goddess of the
river Nile. After the advent of Christianity, the Egyptians became Christians;
however they continued to follow the ancient custom of sacrificing a virgin to
the Goddess of the river Nile.
During the time of ‘Umar (rta), Egypt came under the
Muslim rule and ‘Amar Ibn al-Aās was appointed the governor of Egypt. The
Egyptian elders waited on the governor in July, and wanted his permission for
continuing the old custom of throwing a virgin in the river to seek the pleasure
and favours of the Nile Goddess.
The governor said that such a practice was offensive and
revolting to Islam and hence he disallowed it. He further argued that Islam knew
of no Goddess of the Nile and the question of any expiation did not arise. Islam
knew of only One God: Allah, and Allah did not stand in need of any
After listening to this argument, the Egyptian elders were
not satisfied. They warned the governor ‘Amar Ibn al-Aās that unless the
sacrifice was made, the Nile River would not rise in flood and the entire
countryside would get dry. The governor was however, unyielding and inflexible
that floods or no floods human sacrifice could not be permitted. The Egyptian
leaders returned home in a gloomy mood. The month of July came and passed away.
No sacrifice was offered, and there was also no rise in the level of the river
Nile. The month of August came and still the river did not rise. The Egyptians
were trembling at what would happen if the river did not rise. The month of
August passed away and still there was no flood in the river. The Egyptian
leaders grieved and said: ‘That is all due to Islam. The Muslims have brought
this fate on us.’ The month of August passed and September came, and still there
was no sign of any rise in the level of the river Nile. The Egyptians lost hope
and most of them were thinking of migrating elsewhere. That made the governor
worried. He reported the facts of the case to ‘Umar (rta) and wanted his
instructions. ‘Umar approved of the action of ‘Amr in not permitting the human
sacrifice. Along with the letter, ‘Umar (rta) sent a card on which it was
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From
the slave of Allah, Umar the Commander of the faithful to the Nile of Egypt.
Everything in the Universe is subject to the will of
Allah. The rise in your level is subject to the will of Allah, and we pray to
Allah to command you to rise in level.
‘Umar asked ‘Amr that the card should be thrown in the
middle of the river. On the eve of the Feast of the Christian Day of the Cross,
‘Amr had the Christians assemble on the river bank and after reciting some
verses from the Noble Qur’ān and taking the name of Allah, he threw the card in
the middle of the river. Then the Muslims assembled on the riverbank lifted
their hands in prayers seeking the blessings of Allah in making the river rise
in level. The card floated on the surface of the Nile for some distance and then
The next morning the river rose to its full flood height.
Verily Allah had commanded the river to flow, and that was the end of the evil
custom of sacrificing a virgin to secure a rise in the level of the river. This
was the vindication of Islam. Many Egyptians now came to believe that Islam was
a blessing and a true religion. They hastened to the Muslim camp and were
converted to Islam.
Before the time of the Prophet of Islam, the ancient
civilisations such as Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Persian – all were polytheistic
(shirk) in their beliefs. That is they worshipped natural phenomena such as the
earth (Goddess Gaiga now in the west), rivers, mountains, sun, moon or stars.
Only Islam was able to displace them from the pedestal of worship and created
the intellectual frame of mind, which is known as the scientific revolution.
The polytheists believed the river to possess divine
attributes. They believed the goddess of the river caused the water to move and
made it useful or harmful. In Islam, the river is a creation of Allah and not a
creator and it was a servant of Allah and not the Lord. Thus the Muslims found
ways and means to exploit the rivers on a large scale. The history books tell us
that there is no precedent in any nation to the large-scale irrigation system
developed by the Spanish Muslims. The Spanish Muslims developed agriculture and
created Departments of agriculture science and irrigation in the universities.
They studied trees and carried out research on the properties of soil. The
infertile lands were converted into orchards and lush green fields, in today’s
terms -- a green revolution. Before this, people treated rivers, springs and sea
as gods. But the Muslims brought the green revolution because of their
Polytheism (shirk) was prevalent until the 7th century. It
was replaced with monotheism (Tawhīd) by the Islamic Revolution. This in turn
opened the doors of research and investigation by abolishing the practice of
worshipping the natural phenomena. Modern industrial progress owes its existence
to the Arab Muslims due to their creed of monotheism, which instilled in them a
mental and practical revolution. Islam changed the thinking of the Muslims and
contributed to the modern scientific revolution. Historians acknowledge that
Islam changed the face of the globe. Polytheism and superstition blocked the
progress and advancement of human development. Islam encouraged the
investigation of nature and destroyed the sanctity of nature.
Islam also destroyed the concept of intermediaries between
God and man, such as the kings and priests who claimed as God’s representatives
on earth or even the incarnations of God on earth. Polytheism (shirk) curbed
freedom of thought. Polytheism and superstition were the major obstacles to all
kinds of progress. Superstitious beliefs were an obstruction in the path of free
enquiry. The search for new truths and discovery of nature’s secrets remained
forbidden areas for them for centuries. Before the Islamic revolution, the world
had been swept by superstitious beliefs and idolatry. The revolution based on
monotheism of Islam put an almost complete end to polytheism (shirk) The Greeks
excelled in the fields of art and philosophy. Their contribution to the field of
science (except Archimedes’ hydrostatics) was actually quite negligible. Plato’s
teacher, Socrates (may be construed as a Hanīf) never worshipped the pagan gods
which were worshipped by the Athenians in Greece and instilled free enquiry
among the youth of Athens, and for that he was forced to drink hemlock as a
punishment in 399 BC.
Islam with its foundation of monotheism created an
atmosphere and environment, which stimulated scientific research that led to the
conquest of natural phenomena. The modern age which is the age of science and
industry, of freedom and equality is the direct consequence of the Islamic
revolution rooted in the Qur’ān.
From the sixth century to the 10th century Europe was in
dark ages while the Islamic civilisation attained the pinnacles of science and
technology. After the crusades, the Europeans came in contact with the Islamic
civilisation. They went to Muslim universities in Spain, Sicily, Cairo, and
Baghdad. They translated the Arabic works into Latin for over two hundred years.
The European Renaissance started in the 15th century and culminated in the
emergence of the modern industrial civilisation. The Islamic revolution is
responsible for the emancipation of the human thought.
During the Abbasid era, paper was being manufactured on a
large scale and so books could be produced without the dearth of paper. There
were more than 400,000 books in the library of Cordova (Spain) in the tenth
century, whereas in Europe at that time, the library of Canterbury – the top of
the list of the Christian libraries – contained only 1800 books in the
In many countries, scholars were born with creative minds
who could think independently of the their fellow citizens. But due to the
unfavourable atmosphere and hostile environment of times, their efforts could be
brought to fruition. Their knowledge withered away before they could flower. On
the other hand, the Islamic revolution produced a favourable atmosphere; it
unleashed a mighty flood of knowledge which had been kept pent up for thousands
of years by the dam of polytheism (shirk) and superstition. For the progress of
science and technology, an atmosphere of free investigation is essential. One
may be surprised to know that even today there are some people and societies who
believe that the earth is flat. Even today the Hindus with MD and Ph.D. degrees
worship the Sun as god and believe that the lunar and solar eclipses are caused
when the snakes Rahu and Ketu swallow them. One thousand years ago, Al-Bayrūnī
explained how the solar and lunar eclipses are caused by the shadows of moon and
earth falling on the sun and moon respectively. The Hindus believe in 320
million gods and goddesses. Even if one spends one minute in reciting the name
of a god, the whole life is not enough to recite the names of 320 million gods