Faith, Schools of Thought and World Vision

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SHAFAQNA – Intellectual and philosophical definition, as well as faith are essential requirements of a

soundly conceived ideology.

It presupposes a universal perspective based on a particular logic and insight and supported

by a systematic reasoning concerning the world, as well as faith. Faith gives it the power of

creating attachment and love for objectives higher than the individualistic and private ones, a

fact recognised in some modern schools of thought like existentialism.

They intend to create an ideology minus faith. They wish to set up a system on pure

philosophy, without faith, as a kind of love for a higher objective, and that is not possible.

Sometimes they set up a remote shadow which is based on human fancy, and nothing more.

Yet, an ideology is based on faith that makes it sacred, If its foundation is not faith and is

merely an intellectual system, it cannot rouse love and affection, since it lacks a logical

basis, though it can be imposed by force or suggestion.

A school of thought is a single, practical system, and not only a theoretical one or something

related to theoretical sciences. This system means the idea about what exists. For example,

Aristotle’s or Newton’s physics each represents a theoretically conceived system.

A practical system is what it is. For the ancients too, knowledge was divided into theoretical

and practical. In an empirical system, an investigation aims at finding out the best way, such

as concerning how should man live, and how a society ought to be, One pillar of it is

organization, which consists of parts each of which has its own place, task and significance.

It cannot be a collection of scattered thoughts which cannot lead to a coherent system, A

school of thought is a collection of harmonious ideas related to real life, that is, what it

should be and what it should not be. Theoretical thoughts are its basis and spirit, That is why

we said every ideology is based on a universal perspective, which, in turn, means viewing

the world as it is, as distinct from viewing man as he should be. The spirit of a school of

thought must, on one hand, possess vision and evaluation of existence, and on the other,

create ideals, that is, not only a philosophical basis but a religious basis . It should offer

something to be loved, a moral, as well as a social ideal, Astronomy gives us some

knowledge about the celestial bodies that exist But it says nothing about how they should be

or should not be, since such matters do not concern human life.

A school of thought offers something in which an ideal is presented to man. Monotheism is

capable of providing a basis for philosophizing in an universal perspective, so as to obtain an

insight into existence. At the same time, it represents the uniqueness of God, as contained in

the Qur’anic expression: “There is no god, but God . “

The ancients divided monotheism into several kinds; Monotheism of Essence, of Attributes,

of Deeds, and of Worship.

Monotheism of Essence means a belief that God has no equal or partner. Monotheism of

Attributes means that His Essence is not contrary to His Attributes, which, in turn, are not

contrary to one another. In his unity and Wisdom He possesses all perfections. Monotheism

of Deeds means also the unity of acts, Monotheism of Worship means that He only is worthy

of worship and must be worshipped and this is inherent in the soul of man. The Qur’an (3:

83) says: “Do you seek other than God’s religion, while everything in heaven and on earth is

bound to obey Him?

Our worship is in fact a kind of voluntary surrender and obedience, as indicated in Genesis

[The Qur’an: 62: 1, 61: 1, and 13: 15] in which everything that is created sings His praises. In

Monotheism of worship, God’s Essence is the ideal of man. As He is unique, there is no

dualism for Him, and He is the origin of Universe, and the only object of worship, and

worthy of it. Thus, monotheism has two properties: it is firstly a kind of vision and

evaluation of existence, and secondly an ideal for man .

Marxism is entirely different, It is a materialistic vision, which accounts for living, but is not

an ideal, and can never offer an ideal, aside from an economic kind, It offers to safeguard the

interests of deprived classes as an objective and tells them to try and seize their rights. But

this is only a defective goal. and may be supposed to be an ideal until one attains it, and once

attained, what then? It is an end of ideology and goal.

A materialistic goal cannot be construed as a sacred goal, It is not above human objectives

and self-sacrifice in it is illogical, since it comprises the materialistic ideal. To secure

material gains through self-sacrifice is essentially self-contradictory, Can that be called an

ideal?

Marxism is in fact an absence of ideals and is a return to individual instincts. Its power lies

in breaking fetters. It cannot account for all aspects of life, including political, social,

economic, and moral ones, except indirectly, In such a case justice and ethics lose their real

meanings.

A school of thought may evidence a spirit determined by the relationships of cause and

effect, However, a school of thought must have a suitable idea so as to lend a world

perspective. The converse is not true, since a world vision without a suitable ideal does not

by itself provide an overall elan or spirit in a school of thought.

To be constructive, man looks to the future, not to the past and present. Therefore,

philosophy alone is not enough. World visions have also another difference with one

another; one of them creates an obligation, while another does not. In other words, one of

them gives man responsibility, while another does not.

Monotheistic world vision creates a divine obligation, Others like existentialism lack a

spiritual foundation. A man may say: “I am responsible for myself, because I am free,” But

this kind of freedom does not make sense, since it is unrelated to everything else, thus

causing many difficulties. Suppose I am free and ungoverned by any obligation, either

environmental or divine, So, as they say, I am responsible for myself, and none else is

responsible for me. Does that involve responsibility to others, too? Should I choose

something for myself which would be profitable for others also? If they put this

responsibility on me, where does it come from? Others are free, too, and that absolute

freedom has no harmony with responsibility before others.

In this kind of freedom they speak of, becoming a model for others is also meaningless. It

would mean giving generality to my choice and claim that that choice is not only good for

me, but also for others. But others are free, too, and no agent can be preferred to one’s own

will.

Moreover, we may agree so far that my choice may be so proper that it would affect and

encourage others in their choice, But this influence is different from a feeling of

responsibility in my conscience. Who would create an obligation in me to act in a particular

way or not, keeping in view its effect on others? Is there a God to call me to account? You

would say ‘no’. Is there a conscience? Again, you would say ‘no’, Who then?

Monotheistic world vision, because of its ability to create ideals, obligation and

responsibility, also serves as a guide. It shows the way to attain its goal, It gives joy and

encouragement, and promotes in us a spirit of self-sacrifice. Above all, as Tabatabai, the

great scholar, has said, it can be an element consisting of all the elements of teachings, The

principle of monotheism is like water which saturates the roots of all thoughts, or like blood

which carries the food to all parts of the body, or like a spirit which gives life and dynamism

to a school of thought,

Concerning an ideal, Sartre and others say that man should not stop at a boundary, but he

should go beyond it and change the previous plan for a new goal, and in this way advance

constantly, This means perpetual motion in a direction without having a definite goal and

destination from the beginning, like someone who walks as far as he can see until a new

horizon opens before him to go on, He does not wish to reach a definite point, for, he

considers it the point of death.

In monotheism, however the goal is always there from the very beginning, clear, and

unlimited, as well It always remains new and challenging. No other world vision constitutes

the source and spirit of a school of thought, as both an ideal and a motivating force. At the

same time, monotheism creates obligation, produces joy, provides guidance and encourages

self-sacrifice, It sustains comprehensive development of a community, so that all problems

may be solved, It is only monotheistic world vision which is comprehensive enough to

possess all the above qualities.

Source : Book of Mutada Mutahari

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