The International Association for Religious Freedom [IARF] are to be felicitated upon their project of calling for contributions from the representatives of five great faiths on the solution of world’s problems today. The problems with which the world is faced today are many and varied and have complicated aspects. They may be approached from various directions and may be discussed at different planes. It will be agreed that one of the most important approaches that can be made to these problems is on the basis of religion. Indeed it is essential that these problems should be studied on that basis and that the results of that study should be availed of towards working out their solutions. It is a matter of great satisfaction, therefore, that the I.A.R.F. should have provided this opportunity for all of us to get together and to pool our thinking on these problems, on the basis of our respective faiths in an effort to discover factors that might help towards a solution of these problems.
I feel greatly honoured that I have been invited to address the Congress of the I.A.R.F. on the subject under discussion as a representative of Islam. I am fully conscious of my shortcomings and inadequacies with respect to the purpose that I am called upon to fulfil this evening. I desire, however, to assure you that what I am about to submit to you is inspired by a sincere desire to advance the object which the Congress has set itself and is offered in a spirit of humble service.
All the great faiths whose representatives have to participate in these discussions base themselves Divine revelation. The scriptures of Judaism, Christ and Islam are well known; in the case of Hinduism, Buddhism also, the revealed basis of the faiths is well recognised. The Vedas are generally accepted in Hinduism as containing revealed guidance, and Buddhism upholds the teachings of the divinely inspired Buddha, as the code should regulate various aspects of human activity.
In appraising contribution of each of these towards the solution of the world’s problems today, it be of the utmost help and benefit if each of us who honour to speak on behalf of one of these great faith to base his presentation on the revelation which is the of the principles and teachings inculcating by the faith he represents. For, in respect of a faith that claims to be based on revelation, all fundamental guidance must be found in or derived from the revelation on which it bases itself. Guidance derived from other sources, however beneficial, cannot, in reason, be attributed to that faith. For my part, therefore I shall endeavour to make my submission in conformity with this requirement, and shall base myself in all that I have to say on the Holy Qur’an and the sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (on whom be peace and the blessings of God). If I did not do that I would not be speaking on behalf of Islam.
The Qur’an is the record of the direct verbal revelation vouchsafed by God to Muhammad (the Prophet of Islam), over a period of 23 years. The Holy Prophet’s(sa) interpretation and illustration of the revelation is contained in separate records, So that, when one cites the Qur’an, one quotes the very words of the revelation itself. It is God speaking. When reference is made to what the Holy Prophet(sa) said or did the context will make this clear.