2. Man And His Social Growth

When human society came into existence, it did not assume a perfect form to make growth and improvement also of all spiritual matters and of everything connected with man.

Human society, like other human intellectual and spiritual matters constantly moves towards perfection in step with his material and mental attainments.

In fact the peculiarity of man, i.e. his gregarious nature should not be considered an exception to his other peculiarities, so as to allow us to claim that it assumed a perfect form the moment it was created. Rather it should be said that this quality, like all other human qualities which are related to the will power and science, has gradually attained perfection.

Reflection about the condition of humanity makes us realize that the earliest form of human society has been the family which resulted from marriage. The basic factors in bringing about family living are the fact that a male cannot by himself ensure reproduction and upbringing of children, and that marriage ensures a lasting relationship based on the natural sexual necessity and compatibility of males and females.

This in turn leads to employment, that is, a human being engages another as a medium to meet his needs, and dominates him and imposes his will upon him.

This same employment gradually takes the form of the exercise of authority, thus creating the master of the house, head of the family, chief of a clan, and leader of a nation.

Naturally, at first a person who was stronger and braver had priority, and later those who were braver and excelled in wealth and numbers of children secured this advantage and so on until headship was won by one who was better versed with the art of governing and politics1.

Gregariousness has never been separated from man, except that at the beginning he did not pay full attention to it, and he lived and grew by following his other characteristics, such as employment, defense etc.

The Qur'an says:

And people are naught but a single nation, so they disagree; and had not a word already gone forth from your Lord, the matter would have certainly been decided between them in respect of that concerning which they disagree. (Yunus, 10:19)

First person, who made men fully aware of society, and turned independent attention to the maintenance of society, were the Prophets.

The Qur'an says:

(All) people are a single nation; so Allah raised prophets as bearers of good news and as warners, and He revealed with them the Book with truth, that it might judge between people in that in which they differed; and none but the very people who were given it differed about it after clear arguments had come to them, revolting among themselves; so Allah has guided by His will those who believe to the truth about which they differed and Allah guides whom He pleases to the right path. (Al-Baqarah 2:213)

In the earliest times, men lived simply and were free from differences. Later on differences appeared, leading to disputes. God appointed Prophets and sent them holy books in order to remove differences and bring men back to the social unity which would be safeguarded by the Prophets' laws.

The Qur'an says:

He has made plain to you of the religion what He enjoined upon Nuh and that which We have revealed to you and that which We enjoined upon Ibrahim and Musa and Isa that keep to obedience and be not divided therein; hard to the unbelievers is that which you call them to; Allah chooses for Himself whom He pleases, and guides to Himself him who turns (to Him), frequently. (Ash-Shura 42:13)

Removing differences between people and the establishment of unanimity of conviction has taken the form of an invitation to religiousness and the absence of deviation in religion. Therefore religion has been the guarantor of the appropriateness of human society.

According to the Qur'an (42:13): The invitation to unity and gregariousness was for the first time issued by Noah, who was the oldest Prophet who was given a book and divine laws. Later on Abraham, and then Moses, and after him Christ was entrusted with this task. In Noah's canon there were few injunctions, while tile most extensive of these four canons were those of Moses and Christ. This is what the Qur'an says, and what the Bible apparently states.

It is said that in Moses’ canon there have been no less than six hundred decrees.

Chapter 42: 13 has described them all and mastered them and has extended its decrees over all of them, then you will certainly observe something wonderful. Remember that Islam has poured all its injunctions in the mould of society, and has given them all a social spirit to the last possible limit. Then you can compare the result of your Islamic studies with the other religions to which the Holy Qur'an has paid attention, namely those of Noah, Abraham, Moses and Christ, to realize clearly the comparative importance of them, and the position that Islam occupies.

We conclude that the invitation to gregariousness in an independent and explicit manner had begun only by Prophets and in a religious framework. The Qur’an affirms this point, and as we shall see, it is confirmed by history.

  • 1. This was the cause of the appearance of Idolatry.