I now turn to the question, what do we mean by a perfect man? Every field of study has its central object. In medicine we seek a description and definition of the physically normal, healthy man, In the spiritual field we seek a description and definition of the spiritually perfect man.
As I said just now, the first essential quality of a spiritually perfect man is that his relationship should be correct and right both with God his Creator, and man, his fellow-creatures. Both relationships should be right and correct. This is the definition of a perfect man laid down by the Promised Messiah — on him be peace. Relationship with fellow-men bifurcates into two: (1) relationship with one’s own self. As the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace) clearly said: Thine own self has claims on thee. (2) Relationship with fellow-creatures.
Relationship with one’s own self further bifurcates into two aspects: (a) negative: safeguarding oneself against corrupt action and corrupt influences; and (b) positive: righteous conduct and seeking good influences.
Relationship with fellow beings — both positive and negative — is of two types: (a) With other individuals; (b) With groups of individuals, classes, nations. Then there is also relationship with creatures other than human. All of these have positive and negative expressions.
Relationship with God also has two sides, positive and negative. Negative means safeguarding oneself against conduct which is likely to harm this relationship; and positive means pursuit of conduct which is likely to help promote this relationship.
I now pass on to the important question: What is religious faith or a life of religious faith? This is a much misunderstood question. The division of ‘morals’ is to be found also in religious faith and in religious life. It is important, therefore, to be clear about religious faith and religious life. There are people who equate religious life with moral life and think they are the same. To them to be religious is to be moral and to be moral is to be religious. This is incorrect and confusing.
Religious life according to me has two parts: (i) Morality; (ii) Spirituality. A man of good moral character may be just moral and be not necessarily religious. He may be a good man but not a perfect man. His moral part is all right, but not his spiritual part.