82- Do they not travel through the earth and see what was
the end of those before them? They were greater in number
than these and superior in strength and in the traces in the
land: Yet all that they accomplished was of no profit to
40-The Believer, 82
There are verses in the Quran that speak of certain communities in the
past who had reached a level of civilization higher than the community in which the Prophet lived. These communities had been the
authors of works far superior to those produced by the latter.
Especially at the beginning of the 19th century, the “historical
point of view” occupied an important place. Hegel (1770-1831)
spoke of reality as a historical process that could be understood by the
categories of historical explanation. His giving meaning to history,
understanding and evaluating it were remarkable indeed. But Hegel
interpreted history as a linear and evolutionary system that involved
continuous and unilinear development. His approach was progressionist. His interpretation of history may be acclaimed, but a viewpoint that conceives every historical period superior to the one preceding it is untenable.
The Quran, an infallible book, proves once again that it is in the
right. It acknowledges that past civilizations sometimes produced
superior works and proved to be more powerful, thus refuting the linear concept of history. Linear development may have taken place in a
given period of history. As a matter of fact, the advancement of science, whose origins went back to the 16th century, have followed a
positive trend up until the 21st century. However, to generalize this
progressive advancement to cover all of history and every domain
would be a great mistake. While formulating his thesis, Hegel seems
to have been bewitched by the advancement of sciences from the 16th
century up until his own times.
There are more disastrous effects of this concept of history than the
uninitiated may conceive. A glaring example is communism. Marx’
materialistic interpretation of Hegel led to massacres in which millions
of people succumbed and gave rise to both cold and hot wars. As a
matter of fact, the share of this Hegelian concept of history in Marx’s
ideology is great. While Hegel evaluated history through metaphysics,
Marx preferred to view history materialistically, calling his school
“Historical Materialism.”
Marx had a progressionist-linear-historical view (Marx’s emphases on
the means of production and economics had had a great impact). This
conception contended that a given community had to pass through
stages, namely through feudalism, capitalism and socialism, before
reaching communism. According to this conception, each of these
stages would mark a higher degree of development than the previous
one. Thus, the communist stage would be superior even to the modern one. The communists assumed that communism would be
supreme bliss and the ultimate perfection in history. Moreover, this
was a “scientifically established” view! Those who were against it were
considered unscientific. The eventual collapse of communism discredited the Marxist conception of a scientific interpretation of history.
According to them, history’s progressive course could not be forestalled, so that communism was the ultimate stage.
Yet most of the school textbooks of today are under the influence
of that concept of history whose fundamental logic is that of linear
progress. There are no scientific data to justify the opinions that assert
that man’s ancestors were primitive hairy creatures as described in the
books on anthropology. Engels himself, founder of modern communism along with Karl Marx, acknowledged this. On the assumption
that men are fortuitous, he claims that the historical stages must be
accepted. Describing the primitives as deprived of language, not even
knowing how to kindle a fire, similar to hairy monkeys, would be an
illusory account devoid of all scientific justification. There is no corroborative evidence to justify that men were first hunter-gatherers
before they came to be acquainted with farming. The idea, which took
for granted the fact that history was of a linear and progressionist
makeup, led necessarily to the adoption of the new conviction that
man’s initial stage had been hunting and gathering, the simplest
means of supplying food. The distinct periods of the past qualified as
Stone Age, Bronze Age, etc., are also devoid of all scientific evidence.
Whenever such classifications are made, there come moments when
gadgets are unearthed, which, in principle should not be dating from
the age to which they are supposed to belong. Yet, writers of textbooks are loath to make any corrections therein.
According to the progressionist linear history conception, every one of
the stages that human history has gone through is superior to the preceding one. This erroneous conception is inculcated into the brains of
the majority of mankind. The supporters of this conception of history
were nonplussed in the face of the superior characteristics of pyramids.
The question has cropped up, inquiring into the mystery of the designers of pyramids, whether their authors might not have been Martians!
The great Cheops pyramid at Giza, whose volume is about
2.515.000m3, is 147m high, the base measuring 230m. This structure
required the quarrying of six million stones, their transportation, amassment and laying in a fashion likely to challenge long centuries to come.
The power coupled with skill of the Egyptians leaves us astounded.
Mentalities shaped according to the erroneous conception of history fail
somehow to conclude that architecture in ancient Egypt was at a very
advanced stage. For those familiar with the Quranic verses, there is
nothing to wonder at in this, since the Quran mentions of works of
superior quality that were accomplished long ago.
9- Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the
end of those before them? They were superior to them in
strength, furrowed the earth and dwelt in it more than they…
30-The Romans, 9
Acupuncture, practiced in China for more than 4,500 years, shows
that at a given spot on the earth, people were in possession of anatomic knowledge more precise than we can believe. Acupuncture was the
result of a thorough knowledge of the nervous system of the human
body and of the distribution of electricity in the body. Someone convinced of history’s linear; evolutionist and developmentalist structure
cannot come forth claiming that it appears that the Chinese were
more versed in the anatomy of the human body than the following
generations. Otherwise this would lead people to attribute the discovery of such facts to the Martians, like certain writers! To try to
understand history and give it meaning is certainly commendable. But
to dare interpret all the periods of history in every geographical corner of the earth within a unilinear and progressionist concept of history is a great error frequently committed.
This understanding of history has been the source of views that
denied the personalities of individuals. These views that idealize the
“state” led the right-minded to fascism and leftist persons to communism. The cause of a great many disasters, this viewpoint favored the
oppression of the individual by the state, refused to see the state at the
service of its nationals as a superstructure created by man, and preferred to consider man as a servant of the state, in which he had an
insignificant presence. For those who are not familiar with the philosophy of history, these considerations may seem overstatements. If we
look closer at the process initiated by Hegel, we may observe that it
played a role, on the one hand, in the emergence of Hitler, and at the
same time, of Marx. According to this view, the direction of history
cannot be diverted. According to this mentality, whether laudable or
execrable, the acts people indulge in have no effect on the retrogressive or progressive courses in history. It is the “state” that plays the
historical role, and the course of history cannot change its direction.
The human element is absent here as well. The Quran contends that
human acts have their consequences in the future development of
communities and that many communities have perished because of
the evil doings of their members. This view of life is one that saves
man from being swept by the storms that have raged in history.
It is true that at certain periods of history mankind has marked significant progress by following a unilinear and progressive course. But
it is simply wrong to generalize this movement to cover the entire
past. To view a period of two or three millennia from a similar angle
would be incorrect. To call a given century before Christ the “Stone
Age,” thus generalizing it to cover the entirety of humanity would be
improper. Great divergences between communities at a given age, lack
of proper communication, and reasons that thwarted the political and
cultural development of societies the world over made a simultaneous
development of peoples around the earth impossible. Let us assume
that one thousand years hence, archaeological excavations conducted
with a view to having an insight into our level of civilization will give
different results according to whether these excavations are made in
New York or in a remote corner of Africa. While the one that generalizes his findings will conclude that there had been a progression in
the history of mankind, the other, having recourse to the same
method of ratiocination, will conclude that there had been retrogression.
Another error generally committed is the assumption that products
of different domains like communications, arts, medicine, engineering, architecture, morals, farming are put hotchpotch in the same basket. The idea of progression in a given field must not be stretched to
include other areas as well. Therefore, while history advances in certain fields, it may recede in others.
The correct thing to do would be to adopt an analytical approach
and pick up every single product separately and evaluate it accordingly, thus getting rid of the generalizations and facile deductions of the
unilinear progressive and evolutionist concepts of history.
Religion has been the field exposed to misconceptions to which the
unilinear progressive conception of history led. Auguste Comte (1798-
1857) was the prominent representative of this movement. Comte
divided history into separate phases. He was confident that mankind
would go through three phases before ending up in the system of philosophy to which he gave the name of positivism. In his historical study
of the progress of the human mind, he discerned three phases: the theological, the metaphysical and the positive. Comte contended that the
origins of the theological phase went as far back as fetishism, and that
it was followed by polytheism, ending up with monotheism.
In the ultimate phase, qualified “positive,” he stated that science
had taken the place of religion. He made use of this argument to con￾demn all religious orders and philosophical systems prior to his own
positive system. While the other systems are “a series of primitive his￾torical phases,” his own system was “the most perfect ultimate phase.”
In the whirlwind of his passion, he dared set up a positivistic religion.
This pseudo-Christianity would have a large clerical organization with
positivistic temples and positivistic clergy.
Comte’s efforts to show the monotheistic religions as but an inter￾im phase in the series of historical periods are devoid of all scientific
evidence and findings. Quite the reverse had been the case, since the
Ebla tablets of ancient history discovered in 1975 bore monotheistic
traces. Comte’s views, utterly devoid of all tangible and convincing
evidence, are taken for granted in many school textbooks. In every
stage of history there has existed the idea of one God. Monotheism
was opposed by the idolaters of the moon or the sun, or communists
or positivists at different periods of history. All other beliefs have
become calendar pages of history to be torn off, while the belief in
one God abides forever.
Those who fail to make a historical classification of religions having archeological findings have suggested the following train of
thought: “Let us find the most primitive community on earth, for the
oldest religion should be theirs, since it must have preserved its traditions.” Some of the supporters of this line of thought, devoid of all
scientific foundation, took the tribe that worshipped natural phenomena as the most primitive of the communities on earth, and its religion, the most ancient. Those who considered the pygmies of
monotheistic outlook contended that the primeval religion was
monotheistic (Such a line of thought led naturally to different conclusions).
This theory on religion, whose proponents have been Andrew
Lang and P.W. Schmidt, has been very interesting. According to this
theory, most of the religions of the world are but corrupted versions
of monotheism. According to Schmidt, idolization of powers of
nature is irrelevant, since in order that the powers of nature may be
made into gods, one should already have the notion of “God.”
According to this view, the reason for the corruption of monotheistic
religions and the emergence of polytheism is man’s transforming, in
time, of metaphors into identifications. The line of thought ran something like this. “God is Creator, He is like my mother.” “God is the
source of everything, He is like the earth.” These metaphors have in
time replaced the original conceptualization that came to be identified
with a concrete image. Schmidt contended that one of the evidences
of the fact that polytheistic religions’ origins lay in monotheism was
the fact that the idea of a primeval and all powerful divinity still survived. The common characteristics of the Eble tablets, Egyptian
mythology, and monotheistic religions of differing configurations
support the idea that they originated from a single source, but underwent corruption for various reasons.
The logical reasoning of Schmidt is more convincing. As a matter
of fact, there is hardly anything in Comte deducible or defensible on
the grounds of consistency to support the theory of a positivistic phase
being the ultimate phase of human evolution. Anyway, based merely
on written evidence, it is impossible to arrive at an identification of the
primeval religion. But as I have pointed out, both the Ebla tablets dating from 3000 B.C. and the evidence provided by the historical times
prove that the faith in one God has always existed. These tablets, in
which the names Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Michael,
David are mentioned as they figure in the Quran, and the Old and
New Testaments, prove that monotheistic religions always existed.
47- Each community has a messenger …
10-Jonah, 47