I have seen of America what could be seen during a brief stay, travelling from north to south, east to west. What has struck me most is the supremacy of machines. The flowering here is the flowering of commerce and technol- ogy: the physical sciences have reached the utmost point of their development and given whatever they could by way of progressively greater ease and luxury. But how would you answer if asked how many real men lived in this country, humming as it is with vigorous activity? Men whose hearts beat and eyes moisten for the sake of hu- manity? Men who hold the reins of life and carnal desires instead of being driven by them? Men who are aware of their Creator and whose hearts are filled with love for Him and respect for mankind? Who lead a simple life, in harmony with nature, and are conscious of true joy and genuine contentment? Who do not thrill to tension and conflicts in the world, who hate rather, the greed and selfishness of the politicians? Men who wish every country well and wish it prosperity, eager rather to give than grab? Who do not believe the aim of life to be eating, drink- ing and being merry, but discover the greater happiness of feeding another man and going hungry themselves? Men who dream of the reconstruction of the world and are not solely preoccupied with the growth and power of their own land? Who really want to see the world united – not on the transitory and artificial platform of the United Nations but on the real and natural basis of the oneness of mankind? Men who know the beginning and the end of existence and remain mindful of it; who understand that they would not, after completing their span of life, merely perish in the dust like insects, but would have to go somewhere and render account of how they used the tremendous capabilities with which God endowed them? And what capabilities – to impart energy to stones, to conquer the air and the oceans, to harness the rays of the sun, even to walk on the moon – but to feel that their glory does not lie in breathing life into inanimate matter and subjugating the world through it but in bringing life to themselves. I ask again, how many real men live in this country, capable of vicegerency of the world in the way God meant it? How many who do not see greatness in subjugating other peoples, but see it instead in selfless service to mankind, in putting an end to exploitation of country by another? How many in America aspire to free humanity from slavery to the inordinate acquisitiveness of power, wealth and even intellect?
Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi Eminent
scholar and historian from India
“Muslims in the West: the message and the mission”
a collection of his speeches and articles during his visit to Britain,
the U.S and Canada