Contents of the ‘K.K. Aziz Collection Vol I & II (book)’ category in chronological order.

The final reconciliation between the Shia and Sunni doctrines

We Ismailis now in the same spirit [as Hazrat Ali had done] accept the Khalifat of the first Khalifs and such other Khalifs as during the last thirteen centuries helped the cause of Islam, politically, socially and from a worldly point of view. On the other hand the Spiritual Imamat remained with Hazrat Ali and remains with his direct descendants always alive till the Day of Judgement. That a spiritual succession to the Imamat makes the Imam the ‘Ulu’l-amr Menkom always according to the Qur’an and though he has his moral claim to the Khalifat as well, always he can, like Hazrat Ali himself owing to the conditions of the world, accept and support such worldly authorities as the Imam believes help the cause of Islam. Thus a final reconciliation without upsetting either Sunni or Shia doctrine has been proclaimed always by me as the faith of all the Ismailis.

Read more »

Platinum Jubilee Ceremony, ‘Material Intelligence and Spiritual Enlightenment’ (Cairo, Egypt) ·· incomplete

The world of spiritual enlightenment is fundamentally different from the world of material intellectualism and it is the pride of the Ismailis that we firmly believe that the world of spiritual enlightenment has come as a truth from the inception of Islam to this day with the Imamat and carries with it as one of its necessary consequences love, tenderness, kindliness and gentleness towards first, our brother and sister Muslims of all sects and, secondly, to those who live in righteousness, conscience and justice towards their fellow men. These religious principles of Ismailism are well known to you for you have heard them from me and through your fathers and grandfathers and from my father and grandfather until I fear that by long familiarity with these teachings some of you forget the necessity of re-examination of your heart and religious experience.

Read more »

‘My Philosophy of Happiness’, W. R. Titterton Interview (London, United Kingdom) ·· incomplete

I should, first of all, advise my heirs to learn to desire the thing that happens, and not try to mould events to their desires…. I say that you should endeavour to suit your desire to the event, and not the event to your desire….

I would counsel my heirs to seek satisfaction, not in the flux of circumstances, but within themselves; I would have them resolute, self-controlled, independent, but not rebellious. Let them seek communion with that Eternal Reality which I call Allah and you call God! For that is the twin problem of existence to be at once entirely yourself and altogether at one with the Eternal.

Read more »

‘This I have learned from life’ published in Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)

Society consists of individuals and when we find civil societies that were once upon a time vigorously their own and indeed with obvious superiority amongst other organised social bodies, and are then left behind while others progress far beyond even the imagination, leave alone the knowledge of their former supervisors, then indeed, unless we want to commit suicide, it is necessary to look deeper and to ask questions and find answers….

Alas, at the critical time in the Muslim East more and more thought and concentration was given to further study of the classical discoveries of the past. The “Allama” theory of knowledge in which the past was given complete wisdom and the future was to follow rather than go forward, put a stop to what was most important for political, economic and indeed cultural life.

Both East and West are agreed that the Grecco-Arab period produced some of the greatest intellectual giants of the human race. But while we were satisfied to look at the world through the eyes of our giants, the West insisted on more and more pygmies sitting one over the other on the top of the giants’ shoulders till their accumulated height was infinitely greater than that of the original giant on which they had built their foundations.

Read more »

Message to lsmailia Women’s Association, ‘The Status of Women’ (Karachi, Pakistan?)

Biologically the female is more important to the race than the male. While average women are capable of earning their own livelihood like men, they are the guardians of the life of the race, and only through their natural constitution are they able to bear the double burden. Experience shows the strong probability that the active influence of women on society, under free and equal conditions, is calculated not only to bring about practical improvement in the domestic realm, but also a higher and nobler idealism into the life of the state. Those who know Muslim society from within readily admit that its higher spiritual life owes a great debt to the example and influence of women.

Read more »

Letter to H.E. Dr. Zahid Husain, President of Arabiyyah Jamiyyat, ‘What have we forgotten in Islam?’ (Karachi, Pakistan)

Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Qur’an God’s signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of Divine power, Divine law and Divine order. Even in the Ayah of Nur, [the] Divine is referred to as the natural phenomenon of light and even references are made to the fruit of the earth. During the great period of Islam, Muslims did not forget these principles of their religion.

Read more »

Reply to The Times of London, ‘The Tolerance of Islam’ (London, United Kingdom)

[I]f there has been violent reaction against the West in some of the Muslim countries, the reason is to be found in the attitude and behaviour of the Westerners, their ignorance and want of respect for the faith and culture of Islam, of which the reference to that faith in your leading article is a typical and usual example…. [I]f the Atlantic nations and the West generally wants better relationship with the Muslims, the solution lies in their own hands, and this can be done only if they change their mental attitude and cultivate better understanding of the Muslims’ material needs and loyal recognition of the high quality of their national culture and the purity of their faith.

Read more »

Address to Motamer al-Alam-al-Islamiyya, ‘Arabic Universal Language of the Muslim World’ (Karachi, Pakistan)

Every Muslim child of a certain economic standard learns the Qur’an in Arabic, whether he is from Dacca or Quetta. He learns his Alif-Bey to read the Qur’an. Arabic is the language of Islam. The Qur’an is in Arabic. The Prophet’s hadith are in Arabic. The highest form of Islamic culture in Spain was in Arabic. Your children must learn Arabic to a certain extent always. The same is true of your West whether Sind, Baluchistan or the North.

From the practical and worldly point of view, Arabic will give you, as a national language, immediate contact not only with the 40 million Arabic-speaking people of independent nations on your West, but the other 60 million more or less Arabic-speaking people who are not independent but who exist in Africa…. If we turn to the Far East, Arabic has prospered throughout the region inhabited by 80 million Muslims of Indonesia, Malaya and Philippines….

Is it not right and proper that this powerful Muslim State of Pakistan, with its central geographical position, its bridges between the nearly 100 million Muslims of the East and 100 million Muslims of the West — its position of the East from Philippines and the Great State of Indonesia and Malaya and Burma and then westward with the hundred millions in Africa, right up to the Atlantic, should make Arabic its national language and not isolate itself from all its neighbours and from the world of Islam with a language that was associated with the period of downfall of Muslim States. And finally, while Arabic, as a universal language of the Muslim world will unite, Urdu will divide and isolate.

Read more »

A Broadcast Message on Radio Pakistan, ‘Build up that free Islamic state mentality’ (Karachi, Pakistan)

[The] Qur’an and the Tradition [have both insisted] that nature is the great daily book of God whose secrets must be found and used for the well being of humanity. Islam is essentially a natural religion, the miracles quoted in the Qur’an are the great phenomena surrounding us and we are often told that all these manifestations can be used and should be, with intelligence, for the service of man. Let us never forget that in the struggle for existence of the future only those will survive who control the forces of nature to the greatest extent.

Read more »

Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, ‘Future of Muslim States in the Background of History’ (Karachi, Pakistan)

Ladies and Gentlemen, believe me, true Islam was and is dynamic and not static. It was dynamic, simple, clear during the glorious Ommaiad period when the foundations of Islam were laid wide and deep — so wide and deep that in spite of all its later weaknesses it survived the terrible Mongolian invasions and the far more terrible enemy of Europe later. Ladies and Gentlemen, ask your historians, ask your thinkers to concentrate on that glorious 100 years of Ommaiad rule and take that for example with its simple faith and open mind, with its dynamic qualities without scholasticism and its legal servitudes. Muslim histories were mostly written by their enemies under the Abbasids and yet with all its bitter prejudices, they cannot help glorifying not in words but by facts that period of simple faith and activity. Some of the very greatest of Muslim saints like the Khalifa Umar Ibne Abdul Aziz, the greater Hassan Basri, the Spanish ruler Hisham Ibne Abdulrehman, brilliant saints of Islam, were the children of that period. Unfortunately it fell and with it the certainty of the Islamisation of Europe and with it of the world.

Read more »

‘Can we stop the next war?’ published in The Sunday Post (Kenya), Egyptian Mail (Egypt), The Tanganyika Tribune (Tanzania)

As the first World War drew to its close and Allied victory seemed inevitable, leading thinkers and the governing classes among the victorious powers, led by Wilson, saw that only a world government, overshadowing all states and guarding peace, could prevent future risks of wholesale destruction. For this, many eminent men, headed by Wilson, Smuts, and others, set to work. The chief outcome of their deliberations was the League of Nations …

The League Covenant was a perfect instrument — for angels. Human beings, with their passions and weaknesses, with their loves and hatreds, with the long traditions of autonomy, national sovereignties, of former wars and jealousies, could never have worked the Covenant successfully over long periods….

Now we have the present Charter [of the United Nations]. And once more there is disappointment, for in all real activity it seems to be as powerless as its defunct predecessor. Excellent on paper, ideally perfect in its fine adjustment of regulations, it is impotent the moment it touches the fundamental rights of any State that has the power and energy to challenge its decisions….

It has shown itself to be a wonderful platform for airing opposite views. If it is left as at present, sooner or later we will find the Great Powers settling things among themselves, either at the cost of the small fry, or with such bitterness after each so called pacific settlement of a thorny question as to make future warfare a probability first, a certainty later. So drift will replace the grandiose objectives of the founders of the United Nations, and the disillusions of the League be repeated.

Read more »

Lecture to the Dar es Salaam Cultural Society, ‘World Peace and Its Problems’ (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

[Peace and goodwill] were the dreams, the teachings of the outstanding figures of the past. Such have been the yearnings of most ordinary mortals from time immemorial, and yet what is history except on rare occasions one long, long story of war and warfare? In Islam during the greater part of the golden age of Omiyyas [Umayyads] in Syria and Spain [and] my own ancestors in Egypt [were] periods of peace, in all the odds and ends, made up together some hundred years of peace, but not in one extension. With those rare occasions, 30 to 40 years here and 30 to 40 years there, there has never been peace. In Rome there was a glorious period of some 60 years’ peace. But that is about all. The Middle Ages and the age thereafter consisted of minor and constant struggles. The horrors of the Mogul [sic Mongol] invasion of Western Asia of Genghis Khan and Tamerlaine are well-known facts, which leave us with something like the impression of a nightmare. The bloody battles of the Crusades, which in the name of the noblest, led to untold miseries for East and West are glaring fads.

Read more »

Guidelines for the Muslims of Transvaal (Johannesburg, South Africa) ·· incomplete

The greatest danger to every Muslim citizen — I have not the least hesitation in saying it — is alcohol. Time has shown that it is an injury to you; an injury to your person; an injury to your health. It is forbidden because it carries greater evil than good. Believe me, in a community like yours, alcohol is a very grave danger. Once you got into the alcohol habit, I do not know where it would lead you. A handful, here and there, of the weak, or of the unhappy, find their way to this terrible poison. Avoid it at all costs. Avoid it, I say, for in this country you cannot afford to lose one man….

Personally, if I had two children, and one was a boy and the other a girl, and if I could afford to educate only one, I would have no hesitation in giving the higher education to the girl. The male could bend his energies to manual effort for reward, but the girl’s function was the maintenance of home life and the bringing up of the children. Her influence in the family circle was enormous and the future of the generation depended upon her ability to lead the young along the right paths and instruct them in the rudiments of culture and civilisation.

Read more »

Chapter 4: Glimpses of Islam (The Religious Revival of Islam) (Pakistan) ·· incomplete

It must not be forgotten that, according to the principle of Ijma already mentioned, the interpretation of the precepts and laws which regulate the lives of the Faithful, as laid down in the Qur’an and in the Traditions of the Prophet, can be done at any time and for any generation. Such an interpretation, by means of the Ijtihad which is a personal and living research, can be made, within the general limits of the Qur’an and Traditions. The suppleness of Muslim Law enhances its value, and its broad lines leave room for vigorous growth and adaptation to the changing and unforeseeable circumstances of international life. Muslim Law must, therefore, be freed of the rigid character, given to it by ancient codifications. It would be erroneous to assume that the door to interpretation has been shut, because the four leading juridical schools of Muslim orthodoxy had already decided, for all time, as to the prescriptions of Muslim Law.

Even with regard to these four schools (Hanafite, Shafi’ite, Malikite and Hanbalite), an individual Muslim is free to choose among them the rules to follow on different points; and to do that, he may not be obliged to strictly adhere to a single school. The practical result of this universally admitted freedom is quite obvious; it simplifies the carrying on of law and more easily meets modern conditions of life.

As regards the Qur’an, we stress the fact, that to be better understood — without being blindly attached to the exegesis of ancient authorities — it would inspire Muslims to a revival of religious thought and action. The Traditions and Sayings of the Prophet are to be seriously and critically studied with a view to freeing them from posterior deviations and infiltrations. As regards the four juridical schools, we may point out that their divergences are of little importance, and there are no antagonisms between them.

Read more »

Adjournment of the Session Speech to the League of Nations, ‘The Task Before the League of Nations’ (Geneva, Switzerland)

Were I asked how I myself conceive the League’s mission in the world I should answer in the words of the great Saadi: “The children of Adam, created of the self-same clay, are members of one body. When one member suffers, all members suffer likewise. O thou who art indifferent to the sufferings of thy fellow, thou art unworthy to be called man.” Or I might borrow the words of a wise Hindu poet-philosopher: “All peoples in the world are to me even as my nearest kin and kith.” Or the final blessing at a Hindu service: “Let there be peace! Let there be prosperity!” The age-long experience of India had, indeed, taught its children that prosperity without peace was an impossibility; that war meant want, peace meant plenty. Even so may it be with the League of Nations.

Read more »

Iran Society Inaugural Lecture, ‘Hafiz and the Place of Iranian Culture in the World’ (London, United Kingdom)

Anwari, Nizami, Mawlana Rumi, Saadi, Qa‘ani and a host of others … each in his own way gave a message to mankind. But the fundamental point of each message if carefully studied is that man’s greatest of all treasures, the greatest of all his possessions, was the inherent, ineffaceable, everlasting nobility of his own soul. In it there was for ever a spark of true divinity which could conquer all the antagonistic and debasing elements in nature.

And let me once more stress that this faith in the soul of man expressed in a great variety of ways — in prose and verse, in art and architecture — was not simply a religious or mystic faith but an all-embracing and immediate contact with a fact which, in every human being, is the central fact of existence. Then came Hafiz — by far the greatest singer of the soul of man.

Read more »

All India Muhammadan Educational Conference Presidential Address (2nd), ‘The Educational Needs of Muslim India’ (Rampur, India) ·· incomplete

Is religion different from Science or Philosophy? Is the former so interpreted and understood? No, there is possibility of bringing about the greatest intellectual reconciliation not only with modern philosophy and science but even with other subjects. Gentlemen, only a few months ago, or a couple of years ago, a well-known English paper, “Spectator,” asked some leading persons to give a short and brief expression of their idea of Religion. My friend here, Mr. Abdulla Yusuf Ali, F.R.S.L., gave a short “tafsir” of the “Aetal-Kursi”. I was then at Geneva, but Mr. Yusuf’s “tafsir” was so beautiful, rational and soul-inspiring that for weeks all kinds of people, even some of the most distinguished figures of Europe, came up to me and said “Is it real Islam?” Once upon a time I said somewhere that other religions have taken in formalities, but Muslims have outformalised the formal. Both Christians and Hindus have made progress in Scientific education but Muslims have lagged far behind. What has happened in a country that is looked upon as the capital of Islam has inevitably happened in every Muslim country. This does not mean that the faith of Islam is not true. Nay Islam is the most rational, most social, of all faiths.

It only means that our substitution and interpretation of Islam totally fails us. To this work gentlemen, however unpleasant and offensive it may be to the conservatives, thought is necessary if we are to keep alive the name of Muslim University and Muslim Educational Conference…. Howsoever unpleasant it may be, this task of reinterpreting Islam will have to be done. The work which Christianity has done, we must do for Islam. In fact without serious effort on these lines, we should not be able to hold up our own in face of the stress and strife of modern life.

A faith that can be believed in sincerely by philosophers, of whom any country can be proud, can never be in contradiction with the best thought of the present. As I have once said before, whatever its objective truth, it will not maintain subjective truth if it is interpreted in this old way.

Read more »

Foreword to ‘Muhammad: A Mercy to All Nations’ by Al-Hajj Qassim Ali Jairazbhoy (London, United Kingdom)

Men and women should marry freely with their own choice, and that free choice is the highest and holiest of all blessings. The witnesses come only to insure the legal consequences of the marriage. And if it fails — as it must fail in some cases, given the essential nature of the instincts on which the attraction is founded — a healthy, wholesome, unashamed divorce with stain on neither man nor woman but leaving each free to seek new and happy union is the only solution.

If, rightly, the Muslims have kept till now to the forms of prayer and fasting as practised at the time of the Prophet, it should not be forgotten that it is not the forms of prayer and fasting that have been commanded, but the facts, and we are entitled to adjust the forms to the facts of life as circumstances changed. It is the same Prophet who advises his followers ever to remain Ibnu ‘l-Waqt (i.e. children of the time and period in which they were on earth), and it must be the natural ambition of every Muslim to practise and represent his Faith according to the standard of the Waqt or space-time.

Read more »

A Call to the Islamic World, ‘Muslims Awake!’ (London, United Kingdom; Calcutta, India)

The world of Islam today is at a turning point of its history. The middle-ages are over and either Islam must now go forward or be added to the other might-have-beens of history….

Formalism and verbal interpretation of the teaching of the great Arabian are in absolute contradiction with the whole history of the Prophet. We must accept his Divine Message as the channel of our union with the Absolute and the Infinite, and once our spiritual faith is firmly established, fearlessly go forward by self-sacrifice, by courage, and by application to raise the scientific, the economic, the political, and social position of the Muslims to a place of equality with Christian Europe and America.

Read more »

A radio broadcast: ‘If I Were Dictator’ (London, United Kingdom)

You will see that the broad general principles of the exercise of my dictatorship would be to secure the prevention of war, to break down the animosities and barriers to goodwill, to provide scope for both national and individual self-expression, and to seek to give each citizen capacity and opportunity to share in the rich heritage which the human race as a whole and not merely some portions of it, should receive, by reason of the toil, the teaching and the sacrifice of the past generations.

Read more »