Real Threats Facing Muslims

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

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SYED HUSAIN PASHA

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

From that point of view, among the real internal threats Muslims would face in the world would be the following:

Muslims’ own problems of faith or Iman in its broadest sense and with all its theoretical and practical implications and underpinnings.

That includes the kind of beliefs Muslims hold with regard to God, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Day of Judgment, the angels, heaven, hell and everything else of that kind. At the same time, it also includes their beliefs with regard to this world as well as with regard to their own role in this world.

Muslims’ own problems of character or ‘Amal in all its various individual and collective dimensions.

By this I not only mean their Siyaam and Salaah, Hajj and Zakaat, but also the full gamut of their Akhlaq and Mu’aamalaat. That means how Muslims view and treat everything and everyone in this world: Muslim, non-Muslim, human, animal, plant, water, environment, everything.

Muslims’ own lack of education in its most comprehensive sense looked at from a worldly (Dunya) as well as from other-worldly (Aakhirah) point of view.

On the one hand, that means Muslims’ knowledge of the Qur’an; the Hadith; and all else of that nature. On the other hand, it means the educational level of Muslims in the sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, engineering and technology and in all other branches of knowledge and expertise as currently understood and available and as the future brings.

Education in Islam means all of the above and more. And to talk of “Islamic” knowledge and education without reference to a full formal or informal understanding the world in which Islam is supposed to work and operate is to utter empty words that have no meaning. That means, those of us who make claims of expertise on Islam, must at the same time also be experts on the world.

One of the major reasons for the decline of Muslims – and for the troubles of the world in general – is the fact that we separated the knowledge of “Islam” from the knowledge of the real world.

 

MISSING ORGANISATION

Muslims’ own lack of organisation and management at different levels from their own personal and family affairs to the affairs of their Mohallahs, Masaajid, schools, colleges, universities, other organizations, communities, governments, institutions, businesses and societies.

Muslims’ own lack of honest, competent, enlightened and genuinely elected and truly accountable leadership in all walks and at all levels of life and society.

Islam recognises only one kind of leadership: the one that Muslims themselves put in place by their own free will and choice. In other words a duly and properly elected leadership that is fully and continually accountable to the electorate. Muslims of course said goodbye to that kind of leadership a long time ago and replaced it with various forms of personal, military, feudal and dynastic tyrannies and dictatorships.

Muslims’ own lack of proper knowledge, understanding and skills in all worldly and other-worldly matters at a number of different levels. A people whose mother’s milk was “Read!” have now become a people in whose midst literacy, knowledge and education are serious problems.

Muslims’ own lack of proper understanding of Islam on the one hand as well as of the world on the other hand and their lack of ability to fuse the two together correctly and intelligently in a fully successful and functional whole.

 

MUSLIMS FORGOT QUR’AN

Thus, from this point of view, the biggest enemy of Muslims, and the surest formula for their downfall, was going to be Muslims themselves and their turning their back on the Qur’an, as they have done for quite some time now. It was going to be the theoretical as well as practical separation of Muslims from the Qur’an and their inability to understand it and to translate its divine precepts into dynamic models of everyday individual and collective living and practice on earth.

It goes without saying that the Qur’an will not be of much use to you if you fail to fully and thoroughly understand the world in which you live. That is why the Qur’an itself made reading – education in the broadest sense of that term – the very first requirement of our affiliation with it. That means people with the best and most education in the world would be at the top and those with the least or deficient education will be at the bottom.

The state of the world today speaks to the truth of the Qur’an as it did in the past.

In other words, in terms of the unfolding of human affairs on earth, the greatest danger for Muslims was going to be Muslims themselves: the atrophy and decay of their Iman – their entire internal belief system. And, thereafter, of their Islam – the external manifestation of that belief system in the form of the daily practices that Allah mandated to train them into successful living on earth as Allah’s Khalifah or representative.

 

EMPTY SHELLS

I don’t mean just in terms of the Namaz or the Roza – Salaah or Siyaam – as Muslims have come to know them, mostly as empty shells of what they are really supposed to be, but as divine mechanisms that are designed to be powerfully and totally transformative of human bodies, minds, souls, families, communities, institutions, cultures and societies on earth, not just for Muslims but also for non-Muslims.

And not just for humans either, but also for all life-forms. And not just for living beings but also for the entire planet earth with all its component parts both animate and inanimate.

That was going to be the greatest threat or danger facing Muslims after Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, left this earth: Muslims’ own internal state of mind in the form of increasingly deficient Iman in terms of their understanding of and belief in God and his world as well as of the external manifestation of that Iman in the form of their increasingly flawed Islam in all aspects of daily individual and collective living. And that is exactly how it turned out to be.

Within a few decades of the departure of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, from earth, Muslims fell prey to all sorts of divisions, dissensions and internecine quarrels and warfare that weakened, debilitated and decimated them, exactly as the Qur’an had warned them not to, and never looked back.

 

IMAGINING A DIFFERENT WORLD

I often find myself wondering what would have happened, and how would the world have been different, if Muslims had not taken to quarrelling and fighting among themselves and instead kept steadfastly on the path on which the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, had put them – the path of taking the Qur’an to every home and heart that needed it in every nook and corner of the world.

I ask myself, what the world would have been like if Muslims had, as individuals and societies, steadfastly adhered to the path of putting Aakhirah before the worldly perks of power and wealth, the Dunya.

How the world would have been a very different place to live if Muslims had made research and education their main priorities, as they were supposed to do, rather than the building of monuments or the pursuit of an opulent lifestyle.

Maybe then this earth itself would have turned into a piece of paradise for everyone everywhere. Both Muslims and non-Muslims would then have known first hand what it was like to live in God’s Kingdom on earth.

But Muslims allowed their all-too-human weaknesses and proclivities to overcome their better judgment and instincts and the result is the kind of world in which we live today.

Other than all the terrible things that have happened to our world since then, one of the greatest tragedies to strike the world is the deep alienation of Muslims from their Islamic roots and moorings both in terms of theory and practice. So much so that today we have all too many professed Muslims without Islam, just as we have all too many self-proclaimed Mu’mins without Iman.

And the result also is that Islam and Iman are increasingly used as clichés and crutches without their being translated into ideas and actions applicable to the times and circumstances in which the Muslims happen to be living today. Islam, rather than being a panacea for the many ills of the modern world has ended up as a grievance sheet in the hands of many modern-day Muslims today.