The key to Muslims’ happiness in the life of Islamic society is the mutual consultation enjoined by the Shari‘a. The verse,
Whose rule is consultation among themselves(16) orders consultation as a fundamental principle. Just as the consultation of the ages and centuries that mankind has practised by means of history, a conjunction of ideas, formed the basis of man’s progress and sciences, so too one reason for the backwardness of Asia, the largest continent, was the failure to practise that true consultation. The key and discloser of the continent of Asia and its future is mutual consultation. That is to say, just as individuals should consult one another, so must nations and continents practise consultation. For it is the freedom that is in accordance with the Shari‘a, which is born of the consultation enjoined by the Shari‘a, and the noblemindedness and compassion of belief that will loosen and remove the fetters and chains of the various forms of tyranny fastened to the feet of three hundred, rather, four hundred, million strong Islam.
(16) Qur’an, 42:38.
It is that lawful freedom which, adorned with the customs and observances of the Shari‘a, will cast out the evils of dissolute Western civilization. The freedom born of the Shari‘a, which arises from belief, enjoins two principles:
Belief necessitates not humiliating others through oppression and despotism and not degrading them, and secondly, not abasing oneself before tyrants. Someone who is a true servant of God cannot be a slave to others. Do not make anyone other than God lord over yourselves. That is to say, someone who does not recognize God ascribes relative degrees of mastery to everything and everyone, and piles worries on his own head. For sure, the freedom born of the Shari‘a is a bounty of Almighty God through the manifestation of His Names of AllMerciful and AllCompassionate; it is a characteristic of belief.
Long live truthfulness! Death to despair! Let love endure! Let mutual consultation find strength! Let those who follow their own whims and desires be the object of blame, reproach and detestation! And on those who follow rightguidance be peace and wellbeing! AMEN.
If it is asked: Why do you attach this much importance to mutual consultation? And how may the life and progress of mankind, in particular Asia, and particularly Islam, be achieved through mutual consultation?
We would answer: As is explained in the TwentyFirst Flash of the Risale-i Nur, the Treatise on Sincerity, since just consultation results in sincerity and solidarity, three ‘alifs’(17) become one hundred and eleven. Thus, three men between whom there is true solidarity may benefit the nation as much as a hundred men. Many historical events inform us that as a result of true sincerity, solidarity, and consultation, ten men may perform the work of a thousand.
Man’s needs are endless and his enemies innumerable, his strength and capital insignificant, and the number of destructive, harmful humans who have become like monsters through lack of religion is increasing. In the face of those endless enemies and innumerable needs, man can continue his personal life only through the support and assistance proceeding from belief, and can maintain his social life only through the mutual consultation enjoined by the Shari‘a, that again proceeds from the truths of belief. It is only thus that he can halt his enemies and open up a way to secure his needs.
(17) Alif: the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, written with a single vertical stroke `elif`
The next parts of ‘Damascus Sermon’ will continue.