Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Sunday Guardian | January 10, 2021
In the modern age we find a world of material advancement accompanied by human backwardness. It is true that man has taken great strides forward in recent times, but his progress has been in technological, scientific and industrial fields. Nothing has been done to improve the state of man as such.
The extraordinary paradox of the present world is that we have here the facilities for contentment, but we do not have contentment itself. There is outward laughter and frivolity, but inward peace is lacking. There are all sorts of amenities aimed at making people happy, but true happiness–that is something which seems to elude everyone.
What man desires more than anything is inner peace, and that is what modern man is bereft of. The material progress that has been made in the modern age has only served to deprive man of true contentment. Advances in civilization may have given man outward comfort, but they have done nothing to improve his inner well-being.
The reason for this is quite simple: the spirit cannot gain contentment from material things. It is inconceivable that an entity of such a sublime order as the human soul should be able to find fulfillment in ordinary, lowly, material things.
One can only agree with Julian of Norwich’s words: “Our soul may never rest in things that are beneath itself.”
If one looks at the world of creation, one finds nothing superior to man. He is, inherently, the most noble of God’s creatures. There is only one being that surpasses man in excellence, and that is his Creator. There can only be one way, then, for man to achieve inner peace and contentment: he must discover his Creator, come to know Him, and live in remembrance of Him. Nothing less than the Lord most High can provide man with the peace of mind that he seeks more than anything.
The Quran has put this truth in the following succinct words:
“Say, ‘God lets go astray those whom He wills and guides to Himself those who turn to Him, those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of God—surely in the remembrance of God hearts can find comfort.’” (The Quran, 13:27-28).