• Q and A

    Questions and Answers from the Risale-i Nur Collection
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How can You Compare the Qur’an and Modern Civilization with Respect to Human Social Life?


According to modern civilization:

  • The point of support in social life is force or power. Force calls for aggression.
  • The aim of life is held to be the realization of self-interests. Seeking the gratification of self-interests causes fighting for material resources.
  • Conflict is the principle of relationship in life. Conflict brings strife.
  • The bond between communities is racism and negative nationalism. Racism feeds by swallowing others and therefore paves the way for aggression.
  • The fruits it produces are the gratification of carnal desires and multiplication of human needs.

It is because of those principles of modern civilization that despite all its advantages and positive aspects, only twenty percent of mankind are superficially contented while the other eighty percent are in hardship and misery.

As for the wisdom of the Qur’an,

  • It accepts right, not force, as the point of support in social life. Right calls for unity.
  • It holds, in place of the realization of self-interests, virtues, and God’s approval as the aim in life. Virtues bring mutual support and solidarity. The principle of mutual assistance means coming to the aid of one another.
  • Instead of conflict, it takes mutual assistance as the principle of relationship in life.
  • It accepts, not racism and negative nationalism, but the ties of religion, profession and citizenship, as the bonds between communities. Religion secures brotherhood and mutual attraction.
  • Its aim is to put a barrier against the illicit attacks of lusts, to urge the soul to ennoble and satisfy its lofty aspirations, to encourage man to human perfections and so make him truly human. Restraining the carnal self and urging the soul to perfections bring happiness in this world and the next.

Thus, despite its borrowings from the previous Divine religions and especially from the guidance of the Qur’an, which accounts for its agreeable aspects, modern civilization is the losing side in the view of the truth in its controversy against the Qur’an.


Another comparison

The laws and principles of the Qur’an are beyond time and space, therefore they never become out of date like those of modern civilization.


Despite all its charity foundations, institutions of intellectual and moral training, and severe disciplines and laws and regulations, modern civilization has not been able to contend with the Qur’an on the following two matters and has been defeated:

The Qur’an decrees:

  • Perform the prescribed prayer, and pay the zakat. (2:43)…
  • God has made trading lawful and usury unlawful. (2:275)

As was explained in Signs of (the Qur’an’s) Miraculousness, the cause of all revolutions and social upheavals, and the root of all moral failings, are these two attitudes or approaches.

  • I don’t care if others die of hunger so longer as my own stomach is full.
  • You must bear the costs of my ease—you must work so that I may eat.

A peaceful social life depends on the balance between the elite and common people or the rich and the poor. This balance is based on care and compassion on the part of the elite, and respect and obedience on the part of the latter. Nevertheless, the first attitude (Let others die of hunger so long as I am well-fed) has driven the rich to wrongdoing, usurpation, immorality and mercilessness, while the second one (You toil so that I may be at ease) has led the poor to hatred, grudges, envy and conflict with the rich. As this conflict has destroyed social peace of mankind for the last two or three centuries, so too, as the result of the century-old struggle between labor and capital, those famous upheavals have taken place in Europe. So, despite all its charitable societies, institutions of moral training and severe laws and regulations, modern civilization has succeeded in neither reconciling these two social classes nor healing those two severe wounds of human life, whereas the Qur’an eradicates the first attitude through the obligation of zakat and heals the wound caused by it, and eradicates the second through the prohibition of all interest-bearing transactions. Indeed, the relevant verses of the Qur’an stand at the door of the world and turn away interest. ‘In order to close the doors to social conflicts and struggles, close the doors of banks or houses of interest,’ it decrees to mankind, and orders its students not to enter through them.



This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.