Shah Wali Ullah

Topic: Contribution of Shah Wali Ullah in Sociological theory- Origin, Evolution, Stages of Society & Ailments.



          Shah wali Ullah is great Muslim thinker of 18th century. He took his topics of philosophy from falling period of Mughal Empire. He realized the disease of society and disordering conditions of politics. His contribution in sociological theory was to discuss origin, evolution, stages and diseases of society.

Origin of Society:

Shah wali ullah said that present society didn’t come in existence automatically or by its own. Man started his life from forest and animals but his ability to differentiate him from animals was his power to think, use of his abilities and his feelings towards other. Due to his abilities, he formed a different society which is growing now.

Motives of Collective life of Humans:

  1. Self defense
  2. Security of generations
  3. Social interaction
  4. Mutual cooperation

Evolution of Society:

          According to Shah Wali Ullah, nothing remains still, and society is changing every day. By cooperation, man is going t better tomorrow. And evolution of man is a stage wise action and it is completed by stages. In his concept of evolution, he discussed four stages of society.

Stages of Society:

  1. First stage of society:

This is the primary stage which has following characteristics:

  1. People live in small groups and change their place because of change in climate.
    1. Everything is simple; cooking, living, dressing etc..
    1. Marriage is a way to satisfy natural desires and source of generations.\
    1. This stage has four classes:
      1. Wise people: Suggestions of benefits
      1. Wealthy people: owner of land and domestic animals
      1. Brave people: defenders of society
      1. Cunning people: desire of fame-business activities
  2. Second Stage:

First stage was stage of helplessness and in second stage, wise class suggest the ways and principles for fulling the desires. The collective and cultural moral given are transferred generation to generation.

The morals of second stage are:

  1. Guiding principles for daily collective social life; eating, drinking, living manners.
  2. Morals on which families are established, respect of relations, customs etc.
  3. Mutual exchange of emotions, skills, material things which give birth to different professions.
  4. Third stage of society:

The first two stages of society transferred the goods only for sake of completion of desires and lacked intensity. This stage brought intensity and to reduce the danger of deviation of morals, a political system is setup which fulfils following:

  1. Safety of morals:

To settle quarrels and enforce morals with force.

  • Penalties:

Political system sets up norms and sanctions to check the activities of individuals and restraining them from violating the laws.

  • Jehad:

Shah wali ullah gave policy of Jehad to avoid internal disorder of society and to face external attackers. Brave people should be prepared for this purpose.

  • Public welfare:

To achieve the public welfare, aim of collective life is determined by wise of first stage.

  • Fourth stage:

Shah wali ullah said that world is passing through above three conditions to reach fourth stage which can have following characteristics:

  1. Collective life being divided into small classes should attach itself to larger political systems to save itself from external conflicts.
    1. Different political unities should create such mutual cooperation to avoid conflict with each other.

Ailments of society:

          The serious dangers for collective life given by Shah Wali Ullah are:

  1. Bad Customs:

Customs are important part for the proper functioning of society but bad customs tend to ill society. Some types of bad customs given by Shah Walli Ullah are:

  1. The customs which became hindrance to god actions and depress good virtues.
  2. The customs which take away religious acts and makes spiritual relations with God weak.
  3. The customs which achieve basic needs through wrong deeds.
  4. Economic imbalance:

It is the greater evil to society. It is a condition when rich become more rich and poor becomes more poor. This causes destruction to morality of collective life and such society fells a prey to moral and economic depression.

  • Crimes:

Social and economic bad actions are called crimes. These bad acts are divided into six:

  1. Physical actions: which involves bodily harm and fear for people i.e. murder, beating.
  2. Social actions: which harms economic condition of men; theft, usury
  3. Moral actions: which effects rights and produces restlessness; blaming, mischief
  4. Unnatural acts: which damages unity of society and are against human nature; adultery, drinking
  5. Secret acts: these are done to damage society; magic and gambling
  6. Ethnocentric acts: which damages unity and cooperation of society which also destroys peace in society are caste systems, religious sects, language superiority.

Other links:

Allama Iqbal Law College Website

Other Notes

Alternative Dispute Resolution

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