- Category: Occidentalogy
- Written by Ayatullah Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari
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Conurbations where machines do so much of the work have banished the ancient warmth and joy of heartfelt affection in family and neighborly relations. Townspeople forget what tenderness, unselfish¬ness, fellow-feeling and sympathy are; and come to count those they call "friend" on the fingers of one hand. Civilized living has dried out the wellsprings of humanity with its "new order". On the assembly-line, cooperation is enforced by legal and financial sanctions. But the team-work of heart, by which one person voluntarily helps another who is in difficulties, vanishes amongst the depersonalized crowds of un-neighbourly neighbors. "Bear ye one another's burdens", which for our tribal forefathers was normal living, has nowadays become something which few people will do unless they are paid for it.
While I was a patient in that German hospital, my visitors, though few, were more numerous than those who visited native German patients, much to the hospital staffs surprise.
Let me add a true story from my own experience. Some years ago a German university professor accepted Islam under the tutelage of the Hamburg Islamic community. Later the new Muslim fell ill and was hospitalized. When the Islamic leader heard of this, he straightaway went to visit the professor in hospital. He found him unexpectedly dejected and downcast. After a long silence the professor broke out with a sad tale : "Today my wife and son visited me. They had learned that I had an incurable cancer, and said they had come to say 'goodbye' for the last time as they understood I have only a few days more to live. It's not the fact that I am dying that gets me down, but my wife and my son's heartlessness."
"Never mind!" said the Imam, "Islam's your family now. And we believers will come and sit around you here and see to your every need until the end and after. To do this is for us a winning of merit in heaven, a sacred duty, a divine command and sincere expression of our brotherly love." This news made the patient's face light up. Thereafter he gradually weakened and died.
The Muslim community undertook his funeral and escorted his body to their cemetery. Whilst the cortege was proceeding with due solemnity, a youth rushed up and angrily demanded the professor's corpse. They asked "Why?" He said: "That's my father you are burying—illegally, for I sold the hospital his body for 30 marks some days before he died!"
The scandalized Muslims stood firm. After some heated altercation the young man had to withdraw his demand. Asked later what his job was, he replied: "I work days in a factory and evenings in a dog-beauty-parlor." To such depths can family love, human feeling and a sense of proportionate values sink in a society that is "civilized"!
Mankind's downhill rush from moral levels plunges into a materialist flood of social unrest and sedition. The greatest thinkers realize that some way must be found to end the avalanche if the world is not to collapse from its own depravity. Thinkers, as one man, declare that only in a revival of faith and morality can there be found a safe ground on which to build the new society, A change of heart in countless individuals must precede, and lay the foundation for, family, community, financial, national and international renewal. It is a hopeful sign that the masses of ordinary people submerged in the sea of troubles caused by materialist, heartless, machine-made living are beginning to realize the inhumanity and hopelessness of such a way of life and type of society.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, as U.S. President, voiced this realization in powerful words: "Our affluent society rests on shaky moral grounds. We reach the moon and pollute the earth. We long for peace and go to war. An age that has split the atom must heal the splits in humanity. Empty hands must be filled with work, empty stomachs with food, and empty hearts with satisfaction. To cure the moral crisis that blights our world, each of us need only look to ourselves. If we each listen to the still small voice of conscience we shall soon perceive that simple basic things, like goodness, purity, unselfishness, love, integrity, are our greatest and most priceless treasure. Seek affluence in these, and the tragedies of misused material affluence will end in happiness for all."
Dr. Alexis Carrel in his "Way and Rule of Life" (pp.15 and 34): "We need a world in which every person can develop their innate talents to the full, with no separation between material and spiritual. We have learnt that life cannot be lived right without a guide and a compass. But too few are alert to the grave perils which await human life if we do not follow that guide's directions. Too many are guided by their fleeting passions, intoxicated by the materialist ease which technology provides, unwilling to renounce even a small portion of those comforts, pursuing pleasure, bobbing like corks on the flood of lust for gain and fun which will soon drop us all over the falls.
Instead of letting the assumptions of an orderly universe, on which science bases its work, shape our human institutions, and bear us upward towards supreme truth, we have poured them into the molds of ideologies which can never satisfy our real need. Putting the material first, modern man sacrifices spiritual to economic affluence, and abandons peace of heart for hedonism. We think 'freedom' includes independence of nature's laws. Liberalism and Marxism preach doctrines which neglect the fact that man was not made only for 'production and consumption'.
He was designed for pure love, religious feeling, intellectual treasures, creative imagination, self-sacrifice and heroic living. To live solely for economics is to amputate a vital part of his personality, and this is why both liberalism and Marxism not merely neglect but actually destroy and cast away the basic elements which nature itself included in man's composition."
To eradicate the causes of these tragedies and miseries, the modern world's sole hope is a return to Divine Truth as revealed by God's inspiration through His Prophets. The next sphere for exploration must be that interior space which is within the mind of man. For this we must first disperse the storm-clouds of passion which darken it : we must lose the fetters of lust which bind the human spirit : we must expel the corruption and filth which confine him in the valley of the shadow by means of a cleansing revolution which refines both thinking and living. Only so can man regain true humanity and enter into his rightful heritage of those spiritual values which should be his distinguishing characteristic, by means of which alone the deep inward happiness Man was made for can grow and expand to all his fellow humans everywhere.
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