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58. The Critical Period for the Musalmans of India



58. The Critical Period for the Musalmans of India
In so far as the evolution of religious ideas is concerned there are principally three stages in the development of a community:
1)  The Attitude of scepticism towards traditional religion – a revolt against dogma.
2)  But the need of religion as a social force of great value is at last felt and then begins the second stage – an attempt to reconcile religion with reason.
3)  This attempt leads necessarily to difference of opinion which may have awful consequences for the very existence of a community. Difference of opinion, if not honest (and unfortunately it is generally not honest), must lead to utter disintegration. The Musalmans of India are now in the third stage; or, perhaps, partly in the second partly in the third. This period in the life of our community appears to me to be extremely critical; but I am glad that there [are] forces of a different nature at work which have a tendency to preserve the solidarity of the community – though their influence, I fear, will be only temporary.



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