The Review of Religions [English], March, April & May, 1922
[Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra said]:
“Marriage is a very delicate and important matter. As a matter of fact, very few other matters are as important. Marriage entails a heavy responsibility on man and woman both; but I find very few people realise it and where it is attempted it is done on a very inadequate scale. It is indeed a very great responsibility.
“We see that some latent intelligence is at work in all that we find around us. An atheist will call it some form of energy. We do not mean to enter here into the discussion whether it is some Mighty Power or Intelligence, or something quite different. What we are concerned with here is the fact that some hidden motive is at work and this is a fact which even an atheist cannot deny. Man is here on this plane of existence for some purpose. Call it as you will as the Christians say that this human phenomenon had its beginning some six thousand years ago or assert it with the modern scientist that man was evolved out of animal form after an evolutionary process extending over millions of years or believe it with the Moslem Sufis, the chief repositories of Moslem faith, that the development is a gradual process running through countless aeons of time and that the periods mentioned in the Holy Quran are not to be confounded with the solar or lunar periods that form the basis of everyday computation, for we find it recorded in one of the apocalypses of Hazrat Muhey-ud-Din Ibni Arabi, one of the great Moslem seers that it took some three hundred thousand years to bring about one great transformation, not in an animal form it should be noted, but quite independent of it, to bring about one human phenomenon – we are face to face with the stupendous fact of man’s existence here on earth.
“There is another thing which strikes our imagination and it is this that in spite of the fact that man has been on this piano of existence for so long a time we find no great change in him so far as human nature and its workings are concerned, which is a clear proof of the fact that man is the summum genus of this earthly existence.
“It is a well-established fact that when you have attained an object you stop your efforts expended towards its realisation. You then try to consolidate your gains. If the evolutionary process has to go on and there had to be some higher genusus than man, those marked transformations should have continued even today, nay, every day there should have been some new change somewhere here on the face of the globe. But there has been none during the long period that has elapsed, hence we are forced to the conclusion that the object for which man was created has been achieved. One could say that a change was to occur but after a long period: to such a one we reply that because God has sent down his revelation, therefore we know that there is to be no such sudden and abrupt change that would completely transform human nature. It is apparent that God wills to continue the present system as it is, for the movements of the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies, the currents and direction of winds, the changes in the seasons of the year, terrestrial phenomena, the presence of the animal and vegetable and mineral kingdoms, all point in the same direction, the procreation, propagation and maintenance of the human species.
“Now there are two things, the perfection of divine law and the maintenance and sustenance of human species. The first has been perfected, for there is no human need that Islam has not provided for. As to the second, so long as it cannot be incontrovertibly established that human species is to go on, we must admit that in the divine plan of things humanity must stay, for it is the heart of man that has become the seat of divine manifestation.
“Now what is this marriage? It is simply a means to carry out the divine plan. God wishes that man must procreate, propagate and spread and thus maintain himself as the most wonderful and sublimest of the divine creation. We cannot affirm with any exactitude how long a period it took to bring about that great transformation in the universe the result of which was man. Perhaps billions of trillions of lives must have been lived before human life was evolved. Therefore, it is to sustain, maintain and perfect this summum genus that a marriage plan has been devised by the great Designer of the universe. In other words, it is a part of the universal plan. We need not enter into the controversial subject how the first man came into being. It is rather immaterial. Now marriage is the only means by which this process can be continued and by marriage, I mean the union of man and woman for this great purpose of procreation.
“The word marriage may sound an ordinary thing, but it is really a consecration of that great divine plan, and as such, it is of so great an importance that I would put it next only to our relation with God, and it is our bounden duty to see that it is duly respected and faithfully adhered to. The [shariah], Islamic Law has only distinguished between the two sets of rules, the one pertaining to God himself and the other to our fellow beings. Marriage, therefore, falls into the second category and may be considered to be its chiefest prop. The Islamic Law has made the most of it but there are many people who do not seem to understand it fully, neither do they try to benefit themselves from it. Their case is just like that of a baby who would be quite willing to barter a precious diamond for a base copper coin. I wish people could only realise its importance.”
(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original published in The Review of Religions, March, April & May, 1922)