Theories of Shah Waliullah. Theory of evolution of society & Theory of collective life


Shah Waliullah was a social thinker. He presented his own theory of evolution of society. He suggested that society is not static. Rather it is moving, and its move is of evolutionary nature. In fact, he believed that everything, whether animal or human being, passes through evolution from birth till death.

Shah Waliullah’s Theories

Shah Waliullah presented following two theories:

  • (1) Theory of evolution of society
  • (2) Theory of collective life

(1) Theory Of Evolution Of Society

Shah waliullah’s theory of evolution of society can be explained in the following words:

  • (a) Human society & animal life
  • (b) Four stages of evolution of human society

(a) Human Society & Animal Life

Human society in its beginning was not much different from animal life. The only difference is that human beings have sense and understanding.”

(b) Four Stages Of Evolution Of Human Society

Followings are four stages of evolution of human society:

  • (b-i) First stage of evolution
  • (b-ii) Second stage of evolution
  • (b-iii) Third stage of evolution
  • (b-iv) Fourth stage of evolution

(b-i) First Stage Of Evolution

Shah Waliullah called this stage as first evolution in society:

  • (u) Small groups
  • (w) Simplicity
  • (x) Helplessness
  • (y) Four class
  • (z) Marriage

(u) Small Groups

Individuals live in small groups and change their residence due to change in weather.

(w) Simplicity

Individuals live very simple life, Their residence, dresses. way of cooking and utensil are simple. They live on fruit, vegetables, hunted animals and grain. They learn much of their work from the animals.

(x) Helplessness

Human beings live in stage of helplessness. They have to work hard to satisfy their desires, but achieve very less.

(y) Four Class

Society is divided into four classes:

  • (y-i) The wise
  • (y-ii) The wealthy
  • (y-iii) The brave
  • (y-iv) The cunning

(y-i) The Wise

The wise are the people, who suggest for social benefits.

(y-ii) The Wealthy

The wealthy own cattle, sheep, land etc.

(y-iii) The Brave

The brave are to defend the society from attacks and dacoits.

(y-iv) The Cunning

The cunning are the people, who are desirous of authority. fame and business activities.

(z) Marriage

There are collective customs for marriage. Men’s will is usually given importance. Marriage is not only to satisfy sexual desire, but is also a source of survival.

(b-ii) Second Stage Of Evolution

In the second stage of evolution of society, the wise guide the people:

  • (w) Desires
  • (x) Means & principles
  • (y) Status & collective cultural morals
  • (z) Three parts of approved morals

(w) Desires

They guide the people how to fulfill their desires.

(x) Means & Principles

They guide the people which means and principles are to be adopted.

(y) Status & Collective Cultural Morals

They guide the people how to achieve status and collective cultural morals.

(z) Three Parts Of Approved Morals

In the second stage, approved morals are divided into three parts:

  • (z-i) Guiding principles
  • (z-ii) Mutual cooperation
  • (z-iii) Mutual exchange

(z-i) Guiding Principles

These are the principles that are adopted in daily collective social life. These principles include principles to eat, drink and dress. These principles describe living manners and festival rituals.

 (z-ii) Mutual Cooperation

These are the morals by which relations within families are established. These morals train individual to establish and maintain his relations with other members of his family.

 (z-iii) Mutual Exchange

These are the morals through which individuals fulfill their economic necessities. Each individual joins some profession, and uses his experience and skills to produce different things. These things are exchanged with other individuals. In this way, individuals’ economic necessities are fulfilled.

(b-iii) Third Stage Of Evolution

Third stage of evolution of society can be explained in the following words:

  • (x) Organization
  • (y) Political system

(x) Organization

People fulfill one another’s necessities due to different professions: people require mutual help and cooperation for fulfillment of their needs. And it is due to this situation that organization emerges in the society.

(y) Political System

People need political system to maintain organization in the society:

  • (y-i) Aims of political system
  • (y-ii) Leadership

(y-i) Aims Of Political System

This political system prevents the people from becoming tyrant, from committing terror or coercion, from violating rights of others and from committing negligence in performance of their duties. If the political system succeeds in achieving its aims, the society remains peaceful.

(y-ii) Leadership

Imam or Khilafa is the leader of this political system. In some cases, a party can also be the leader.

(b-iv) Fourth Stage Of Evolution

Fourth stage of evolution of society can be explained in the following words:

  • (x) Conflict
  • (y) Settlement of conflict
  • (z) Still to pass

(x) Conflict

After political organization of society, small political parties begin to conflict with one another.

(y) Settlement Of Conflict

The society moves towards this fourth stage to end differences between the political parties and to maintain organization among them.

(z) Still To Pass

The world is still to pass through the fourth stage: one day the world will succeed in establishing political system of the fourth stage where the political units (states or nations) will not conflict with one another and there will be international system.

(2) Theory Of Collective Life

Shah Waliullah’s theory of collective life can be explained in the following words:

  • (a) Basic philosophy
  • (b) Group-life
  • (c) Reasons for group-life
  • (d) Common desires

(a) Basic Philosophy

The basic philosophy, which is behind this theory, is that collective life is essential for both human beings and animals. However, collective life in animals is not as strong as it is in human beings.

(b) Group-Life

Collective life is natural demand and it creates groups in the society.

(c) Reasons For Group-Life

Followings are the reasons due to which group-life comes into existence:

  • (c-i) Protection of life & body
  • (c-ii) Survival of generation

(c-i) Protection Of Life & Body

Every living thing wants to protect its life and body, and it is possible only in the society.

(c-ii) Survival Of Generation

Every living thing desires for survival of its generation, and it is also possible only in the society.

(d) Common Desires

There are some common desires between human beings and animals:

  • (d-i) Examples
  • (d-ii) Means to fulfill common desires

(d-i) Examples

Hunger, thirst, heat, cold, survival, sexual desire, male-female relations, parents-kids relations etc. are present in both the human beings and animals.

(d-ii) Means To Fulfill Desires

In human beings and animals, means to fulfill the common desires are different: the reason is that morality, social routines and geographic limits influence the human beings, but do not influence the animals.


It can be finally stated that Shah Waliullah believed that human society in the beginning did not have strong organization and collective life. With the passage of time, human society passed through different stages of evolution and received strong sense of organization and collective life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

B i l a l - T a h i r