Some people think that since the Muslims have got the perfect book – the Holy Quran – to guide them no reformer is needed by them; they can get guidance from the Holy Quran by themselves.
The idea is very erroneous and the facts of history do not lend support to it.
- In the first place, we observe that despite the fact that they have the Holy Quran with them they are detoriorating day by day. Discussions among them resulting in vast differences of opinion even about the interpretation of the Holy Quran are on the increase. No doubt they are conscious of the fact that they are going down, they do not find enough of strength to rise up and stand on their feet. This is exactly what we find in the history of previous religions; whenever their followers have deteriorated they have not risen by themselves.
- In the second place, the practice of God repudiates this idea, whenever darkness has enveloped the spiritual realm, God has been raising a Reformer for the guidance of the people. Look at the followers of Moses; they had a perfect book (according to the need of their time) which contained guidance for them. But whenever darkness enveloped them, they were given another guide in the form of a Reformer who reformed the followers of Moses. So much so that the Holy Quran says: We sent Messengers when he had passed away.
- In the third place what is actually meant by the perfection of a teaching is that God has mentioned all the ways of spiritual achievement in that specific book and all the needs (religious and spiritual) have been laid down with the ways they can be fulfilled. But if the human mind distorts it with its self-suiting interpretations, the book would lose its meaning for them and they would not be reformed by it unless the truth is unveiled by removing the curtain of selfstyled interpretations. The perfect teaching is no doubt like a sharpcutting sword which cuts the sin asunder but there must be somebody who knows how to wield it.
- In the fourth place, however perfect and effective a teaching might be, unless an example of its implementation is shown to the people they cannot benefit from it. It is through the people of various spiritual ranks that God gives the people models for them to look at and follow them to their personal advantage.
- In the fifth place the Belief in God is such a tree that unless it is watered with the fresh signs, it dries up. It loses the certainty in the existence of God and comes down to the level of mere philosophical conclusion that “He ought to exist”.This situation is full of doubts and poisonous winds blow here to the detriment of the tree; the tree dries up. But the faith that is obtained through the Prophets and the saintly people, is a living faith and it is a living reality which, as it, shows God to the people and creates a relationship between God and His servants and thus grants a new life.
That shows very clearly that even when a perfect teaching is there, such people are needed who are the manifestation of the various attributes of God and through whom a river of the fresh signs of God begin to flow. Moreover the Reformers who are raised by God and are vouchsafed the living word of God have a special kind of attraction for those who are good natured. In fact it is this very attraction that wakes up the sleeping people.
- In the sixth place it can be said with the least fear of refutation that unless reformation is real and complete it cannot do any good, rather it proves harmful. But so far as the reformation in the spiritual realm is concerned it is not possible by any person other than the one who is sent by God and receives the knowledge from Him. This person gets the living word of God and he lives through it. The worldly ulema can try to reform the people with the worldly knowledge which might be authentic in a few aspects and unauthentic in many others. The differences of the Muslim world of today have their origin in the worldly knowledge of the ulema. There differences cannot be removed unless a Hakam and Adl gives his decisions about them.
- In the seventh place, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has told his Umma that the Reformers would be raised among them. This is positive proof of the fact that although the Shariat is perfect, the Reformers are needed.
- In the eighth place the Reformers have already been appearing among Muslims and that is a practical proof that the Reformers are needed, though the Shariat of Islam is quite perfect.