Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Should we follow humanity or God?
These are both different issues. We believe in God because He is the Creator. Humanity is not a creator; it is a social phenomenon. It is a known fact that nature is an enormous reservoir of facts and knowledge and according to science, man—in his limited lifetime—can acquire only a partial knowledge of reality. If science has a limited scope, then the question arises as to how should one attain wisdom?
Let me take an example from the life of the Prophet Muhammad. He was dealing with a grave situation in Makkah where the Kabah, the most sacred place for Muslims built by the Prophet Abraham as the House of the One God had become, after a period of about two thousand years, a house where more than three hundred idols were placed. The mission of the Prophet Muhammad was to revive the religion of the Prophet Abraham, and the first course to follow should have been cleansing of the Kabah from the hundreds of idols. But the Prophet did not do so. It was divine wisdom due to which he did not react for many years. This was because he had realized that it was the idols that brought people from the whole of Arabia to the Kabah for pilgrimage. The Prophet Muhammad was able to de-link the presence of idols from the gathering at the Kabah. The Prophet would utilize this gathering as an audience and would preach the message of Islam to them in the most peaceful way. As a result of following this wisdom, the crème-de-lacrème of Arabia became a part of the prophetic mission within a span of thirteen years. Khalid ibn al-Walid who accepted Islam after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah said before embracing Islam:
The best people have entered the fold of Islam, now we do not find any man of taste in Makkah. (Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, vol. 4, p. 237)
In the entire history of mankind, no thinker ever made mention of the policy of de-linking. This was because people undoubtedly had only limited knowledge of things. It must be understood that problems of this world are sometimes so many and so grave that support in the form of wisdom and guidance comes from God. The Quran says that
It gives man divine wisdom. (Quran 2:269)
In the above case, a conflict would have ensued between the people of Makkah and the Prophet had the Prophet made efforts to remove the idols in the initial period of his preaching in Makkah. Moreover, for obtaining the audience that he was getting in Makkah due to the presence of the Kabah, the Prophet would have had to travel across Arabia to meet those people and convey the message to them. This wisdom of the Prophet is nowhere mentioned in words and can be derived by inferring from the method adopted by the Prophet during his years in Makkah.
So belief in God is essential because there are many times we require wisdom to deal with the situations in our life. This wisdom can be procured from the Book of God and the life of the Prophet who lived under divine guidance. Belief in humanity is only one aspect of belief in God. It is because of our belief in God that we can inculcate human values in ourselves.