It Teaches How to Overcome Challenges
Abdul Bari Masoud talks to some Muslim scholars in India and abroad on how to overcome challenges Muslims have been facing the world over. The scholars say only the Book of Allah can help them overcome the challenges.
Muslims in India, as elsewhere, are going through a hard time in their lives. Indifference towards the Qur’ān has caused them immense harm.
It is somewhat ironic that despite having a number of internationally renowned Islamic seminaries and thousands of religious educational institutions, they have largely failed to instil genuine significance of the Qur’ān into the Muslim population of the subcontinent. Few Muslims in this region of the world study the Qur’ān for guidance and emancipation; for the majority, it is a book to be recited for Thawāb (Reward).
Because of this, Muslims are no longer aware of their obligations and the demands of the Deen have been forgotten.
The question is: Why have the Muslims been facing such a critical situation?
When Radiance asked this question, Professor Baseer Ahmad Khan, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi Open University and former Dean of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, said: Because of the propaganda of Islamophobia and bigotry by the media with the exception of a few and the ruling BJP, Indian Muslims are going through a difficult time. Their ultimate goal is to intimidate us and corrupt our Tawheed belief with Shirk. Now what shall we do? Allah directs us in the Qur’ān by saying, “It is only Satan who frightens you of his friends; you should not be afraid of them; but fear me…” (3:175)
Prof. Baseer says the Qur’ān further declares: “Allah very well knows your enemies; Allah is self-sufficient to be your friend and Allah is self-sufficient to be your helper.” (4:45) But there is one Condition to seek help and protection of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We must strive to tread on the right path and not despair.
Allah declares: “If you help Allah, Allah will help you and make your feet firm.” (22:40)
In the light of this ayat, Prof. Baseer says no sense of hopelessness should ever enter our minds.
We are the second majority segment of the population in our country and we should live and behave as good Muslims so that fellow countrymen should know that we are an asset and not a liability. They will evaluate our conduct and behaviour. We have to remove our educational backwardness and moral degeneration, he adds.
In 1857 and 1947, we encountered terrible circumstances and overcame them. In Sha Allah, we will also be able to get over the current challenges. India is a democracy, and in democracies, political parties are in charge. As such, we must develop our own political platform and form alliances with other parties in order to share power and obtain our fair portion of the country’s affairs. We were subservient to numerous parties up until this point, which caused us to regress and acquire second-class status. In Sha Allah, we will be successful, the learned professor concludes.
MUSLIMS AND DALITS
Muslims as a nation appear to have forgotten their obligation to defend and support oppressed and underprivileged groups. Every 10 minutes a Dalit is subjected to caste cruelty and in the last 75 years of Independence nothing has changed.
Please use the image of Dr Mohammad Ghitreef here:
Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef, Research Associate with the Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India, AMU Aligarh, says the Qur’ān ordains us to prevent repression on earth.
The Dalits or Shudras have suffered centuries of exploitation at the hands of Hindu higher castes that follow Brahminism. The Brahmin class established the inhuman Varna Ashram system, which included this miserable group.
Because Islam upholds human dignity and equality, the Muslim rulers tried to treat them decently while they were in charge of the country’s affairs. Sadly, they did not pay enough political attention to this duty throughout their rule.
Yes, these impoverished people found some respite for their profound wounds in Sufi shrines and monasteries. However, Muslim societies in India as a whole have mostly been affected by Brahminical social order.
According to the Qur’ān, Muslims are obligated to defend the underdog and the weakest segment of society.
It is unfortunate that a minority in India that makes up at least 20% of the population (20 crores) withdraws and shrinks to its shell, and does not actively participate in the development of the nation. Nor does it fulfil its responsibility to defend others or speak up for their rights. In terms of strategy, if Muslims step out to defend others, they will be also defending their own interests. The guidance of the Qur’ān (4:75) in this respect is very encouraging.
ISLAMOPHOBIA AND WESTERN MUSLIM SOCIETIES
After 9/11, Muslims living in the west have been experiencing Islamophobia at different levels.
When Radiance talked to Muhammad Tariq Ghazi, Director Umam Studies House, Toronto, Canada, on this issue, he said:
Please use the image of Muhammad Tariq Ghazi here:
Clinically, the west cannot survive without an enemy, imaginary if not real. This negative psyche was initiated by Alexander. Now it is scared of Islam. That was an objective of 1914-18 World War I, while the Soviet Union was still taking shape as the immediate enemy.
Foreigners working in the Gulf, not the local people, could see that scare coming in the 1970s. With relentless denouncement of the Soviet Union as a threat, the west was looking for its future scare. It was named “terrorism” which tactically degenerated into Palestinian terrorism, Arab terrorism, Islamic/Muslim terrorism, and finally Islamophobia. Heavily regimented western media is instrumental in globalising the west’s fright.
This scar is etched in the psyche of the United States, Canada and Europe, although its violent expression is controlled. A major reason, in the US, for the caution is the energetic proactive role played by American Muslim intelligentsia and evolving political action. This intelligentsia is different from South Asia’s conventional Ulama. In the US these Muslim men and women are highly qualified professionals like medical doctors, psychologists, sociologists, engineers, social and applied scientists, Islamic researchers holding PhDs in these disciplines from prestigious US universities, while at the same time being licensed experts in sciences of the Qur’ān, Hadith, Fiqh from seminaries of Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Sudan. These scholars have founded many religious, academic, social, educational, research organisations and Sufi orders which engage in mutual support rather than polemic rivalry.
The American Muslim intelligentsia and political activists encourage Muslims to assert their identity by playing meaningful roles in general society. To educate the youth, they organise two major annual events: a four-day ISNA convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Chicago, attracting about 40,000 attendees from the Americas and Europe, and a three-day annual RIS Convention (Reviving Islamic Spirit) in Toronto, Canada, which is attended by more than 20,000 people from Canada, the US and Europe. These and several other smaller conventions are addressed by scores of well-known Muslim intellectuals from the West. The organisers focus on vital issues, including Islamophobia.
Self-confident organisers and speakers of the conventions do not invite any political leader. However, popular gatherings compel politicians and parties – including the prime minister of Canada – to seek space on these unique platforms. In their brief speeches, politicians assure Muslims of a rightful place in society while appreciating their contribution to the progress of the country and combating Islamophobia.
Local media ignores these conventions, but society is nevertheless impacted. That is the dividend.
When Radiance interacted with Dr. Khutb M. Uddin Abu Shuja, former president of AFMI (American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin) and a psychiatrist in the USA, he opined:
Please use the image of Dr. Khutb M. Uddin Abu Shuja here:
The world we live in is incredibly chaotic and in crisis. The entire planet appears to be on fire. This is an unsettled, anxious, or apathetic time. The search for some hope, illumination, or direction is universal. Muslims and non-Muslims alike are searching in the same boat of bewilderment and annoyance for a Guru, Guide, or Messiah.
Disorder is not a coincidence. It has been planned and thought out. In this day and age, deception, exploitation, and false information are all commonplace. Capitalism, hedonism, selfishness, populism, nationalism, and atheism are the current trends in the world. Additionally, Behaviourism is a modern psychology that places man almost in the animal kingdom, where he seeks pleasure, avoids pain, and has no concern for the truth or lie.
In this circumstance, how to know the truth and make correct decisions is almost impossible except for few. However, where there is darkness, there is a light. The Qur’ān comes in the background of darkness, as a beacon of light, as a Guide, as Murshid, as a Guru, as a Therapist and Psychiatrist ready to pull us from chaos and confusion to tranquillity, peace and success. As the Qur’ān is delivered by One who created us, He knows the psychology, intellect and mischiefs of all the creations. So, He wants us to be steadfast in faith and practice. He commands us to preach truth with love and sincerity and to tolerate hardship and difficulties with patience. (Surah Asr).
The Qur’ān is a chronicle of the history of mankind where the previous rise and fall of nations had been mentioned. For example: People of Aad, People of Thamud, and People of Bani Israel, etc. How they prospered and how they perished. The Qur’ān challenges us to think and learn from history so that we don’t have to repeat it. Even Muslim Ummah has also suffered due to falling in line with lavish/arrogant life and forgot the message of the Qur’ān. Because of this Negligence and Crime Muslims all around the world are in this situation and decline.
Naturally, we must now assess what went wrong and determine how to take back our proper role in this society. To do this, we must take the following actions:
- Renewal of faith (Tajdid-e-Imaan): Resolve to be a practising Muslim, not a lip service Muslim.
- Pledge Loyalty to the commands of ALLAH Subhana hu Ta’ala and Muhammad ﷺ.
- Stop being a narcissistic, hedonistic, capitalistic slave or creature.
- Start personal as well as family with community programmes to ignite and unite the faith with the spirit of Islam.
- We have lost nothing; let us follow the courage and wisdom of Muhammad ﷺ.
- Stop social media addiction, porn addiction, drugs addiction and other addictions right now.
- Start physical training/exercise programmes. Muhammad ﷺ was not only brave but a very strong and sturdy person.
- Don’t be suspicious of other Muslims. We should have good view towards each Muslim as they are Ummah of Muhammad ﷺ. Don’t give shaitan to ride you for the division of Muslims.
- Have a daily schedule, respect time, learn good communication skills, think big, work hard and surely, we will succeed.
- Remember that truth has come and falsehood will disappear as the Qur’ān has been revealed and Muhammad ﷺ has come as our guide for this world and worlds to come.
- If we follow the guidance of the Qur’ān and Muhammad ﷺ, we will surely be victorious.