A Powerpack of Muslim Languages

Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai,/ Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai!? (Iqbal)

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Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai,/ Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai!? (Iqbal)
Earlier I was talking about Muslim languages. Indeed, what a powerpack of language tools the Muslims have been given by God Almighty: Arabic, Farsi and then Urdu. And then so many other languages everywhere: Turkish, Swahili, Malay and everything else.
Each one of these language is richer and better than the other, except that Allah has chosen Arabic as the language of his book, the Qur’an, and as the language of Eternity – Paradise.
So, there is no competing there.
And how will you get over the fact that Arabic is the language which Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, spoke. And it is that glorious language that holds the vast storehouse of Hadith.
So, Muslims need to re-embrace their languages and rearticulate their cultures, in their depth as well as in their breadth, even though theirs – Islam’s – is not a culture of linguistic jingoism or chauvinism.
Having said that, what I have been trying to make clear to the native English-speaking generations of Muslims in the West is, when and how do they plan to make the English language their own, and to take it to greater heights of glory and achievement under their Islamic watch, beyond where Shakespeare, Shaw, Johnson, Whitman, Hemmingway, Byron and Keats left it.

A Quick Fact about Hadith and a Theory of History
I don’t know how you like to look at the Hadith. To me Hadith is the greatest treasury of the most authentic, valid, reliable and trustworthy historic information that there is in the world – about an individual, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam; about an entire people – the several generations of companions that the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, trained and nurtured and educated, mentored, purified and shaped and molded into a people; about an entire culture that the Qur’an and the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, spawned; and about the times when the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and Islam and the Qur’an made their appearance in the world.
In fact let me go one step further and say that Hadith is the only authentic history that there is in the world today – of any individual, time, culture, place, set of events or people. Everything else is conjecture, guesswork, approximation, reconstruction and speculation on the part of experts, much of it patchwork of hearsay from a wide variety of sources, many of them of dubious validity and flawed character.
And then Hadith is something which no historian can even imagine he or she can have: an imponderable mass of primary historic data of mostly eyewitness accounts from 1400 years ago – the only one of its kind anywhere, in any culture, with regard to any time, place, people or set of events or happenings.
That is right. You heard me – read me I mean – right.
Hadith is all primary material – bits and pieces of raw, unprocessed, primary historic data. Eyewitness accounts. Simple, elegant, neat and easy of access. The rest of history is other people’s interpretations and analysis of what they thought transpired.
Thus, history is mostly speculation, Hadith is mostly reality. History is Zann, as the Qur’an calls it, and Hadith is Haqq, as the Qur’an puts it.
Wa innaz-zanna laa yughnee minal haqqi shai-aa. Paraphrase: How can speculation then be a replacement for reality?
A Quick Word about the Qur’an
Subhaanallah! What an amazing book this Qur’an! In fact, “That Book” that Allah sent: Dhaalikal kitaab, as Allah puts it.
What clarity of concepts! What precision of diction! What profundity of meaning! What elegant models! What simple arguments! What easy explanations! What compelling logic!
And what powerful impact!
What discourse of any kind will anyone believe in if they will not believe in this Qur’an!
Fa-bi-ayyi hadeethin ba’dahoo yu’minoon?

Where Was Your Hand Last Night?
Don’t forget how the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) got away with the so-called discovery of the importance and merits of the miracle of Handwashing – more than 1400 years after Islam had made a gift of it to humanity at large and made it the compulsory duty of all Muslims to do so.
Listen to the most graphic and effective manner in which the following Hadith describes it – my paraphrase except the part in Italics, which I have tried to render as literally as I can: When someone gets up in the morning, the first thing that person should do is wash his hands. For, he doesn’t know “where his hand spent the night.”
Aina baatat yaduhoo!
I am not asking you to give me a Ph.D. for making the concept of Salaam a central issue in defining the identity of the Muslim people in the 21st Century. All I am asking you to do is to recognize this wonderful fact about Islam and Muslims, and the Islamic way of life in general, have tons of fun with it and then get out and share this information with the rest of the world.

Sharing Islam with the American People
I am so tempted to say if the American Muslims had done that over the past five decades or so that they have been here – I mean gotten out and shared the truth of Islam with the non-Muslims of America in a concerted, focused and single-minded manner – maybe, Allah knows best, but just maybe, God Almighty would have spared them, America and the world the terrible tragedy of 9-11 and its even worse aftermath.

Maybe this most horrendous crime of New York would not have happened. And its disastrous consequences would not have swept America, Muslims and the world the way they did.
So, Muslims, don’t run around now stuttering “Islam is a peaceful religion,” whatever you mean by that, just because people want to hear you say things like that. Instead, proclaim from every rooftop in the world that Muslims are the ones – and quite probably the only ones in the world – who run around like chicken with their heads cut off wildly and vociferously telling everyone and everything in sight: “God Bless! God Bless! God Bless! God Bless!”
Salaam! Salaam! Salaam! Salaam!
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
No one else on this planet does that.
And if you won’t know this Muslims, no one else would care. And if you won’t tell the world this Muslims, no one would know.

Taking the Qur’an to Every Home
What are the Muslims of India doing – as a people that is – to reach out to the great majority of the non-Muslims of India with the message of Islam and the Qur’an? To take the Qur’an – and Islam – to every home and heart that needs it – in India and all over the world?
If you ask me, which heart does not need the Qur’an or Islam? And which home does not?
Isn’t it time we Muslims totally and wholeheartedly committed ourselves to this noblest and most glorious of all projects: the project of taking the Qur’an – and Islam – to every home and heart that needs it?
In India, in the Americas, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in Australia and everywhere else?
Let us do it for five full years and then see what happens. Let us then await the wonders of Allah’s mercy unfold in our lives – and in the lives of others all over the world. Even more than ever before!
What a glorious future that would be!