Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai!
It is the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah, a term that I coined in the late 1980s-early 1990s to refer to the Muslims of North America, England, Europe, Caribbean, etc., that chose to debase and corrupt the title of Imam by using it cheaply and cavalierly for anyone who would supinely succumb to this monstrous intellectual corruption, mostly for unavailability, in their case, in full or in part, of other popular honorifics or prefixes such as Dr. or Shaikh.
While Muslims of the Caribbean were perhaps guilty of nothing more insidious than native naiveté born of a monumental lack of depth and sophistication about Islam and its lore, Muslims of America had no such excuse and happily presided over this unforgivable corruption and pollution of the springhead of a 1200-year-old Islamic cultural heritage.
How I am tempted to say “Islamic sanctity!”
I have maintained for long that such corruption of Islamic tradition and culture by seekers of recognition, popularity, power, prestige and position and their mindless, self-seeking and mercenary promoters and facilitators will not go unheeded and quite possibly unpunished by God Almighty.
They will be held to account. As God Almighty does with all transgressors of truth and justice who fail to repent.
MUSLIM BEHAVIOUR AND DIVINE RETRIBUTION
In fact, I attribute, and I hope I am completely mistaken in this, but I suspect I am not, some of the succession of disasters to have hit the Muslims, and the world in general, over the past some time, including the mini-Dooms Day of September 11 and its terrible global aftermath, to violations of Islam, Haqq and truth on the part of the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah.
And in particular its American component, and their general failure to convey and communicate the message of Islam to non-Muslims both in America and around the world.
For nearly five decades, Muslims of America did a lot of things except seriously and systematically reach out to non-Muslim Americans around them with the most beautiful and life-giving message of Islam – and the Qur’an..
Especially, White, middle-class, educated Americans.
As if they, White Americans I mean, were children of a lesser God who had no right to drink from the fountain of love and mercy, peace and justice that Islam is, and which God Almighty made the common heritage of all humanity. For decades, Muslims of America more or less stood at Islam’s gates and kept the rest of the wonderful American people from it.
So were the Muslims of UK and Europe unable to convey the message of Islam to their non-Muslim British and European brothers and sisters for the longest time.
Nor were the Muslims of the Caribbean by and large any better able or willing to convey the message of Islam to their own non-Muslim brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, even though there were organizations and individuals in the Caribbean that made some splashes in this pond.
Muslims had all kinds of opportunities and means to take the most glorious message of Islam and the Qur’an to every home and heart that needed it – in North America; in UK; in Europe; and in the Caribbean.
But they all, in their own different ways, mostly and in large measure, chose, as the Qur’an puts it, blindness over sight: fastahabbul ‘amaa ‘alalhudaa.
And thereafter it was but natural that Allah’s decision – Amrullah – should catch hold of them – and his world – Akhdha ‘Azeezim Muqtadir – in its most terrible and crushing grip.
JUDGMENT DAY – RIGHT HERE IN THIS WORLD
And they had been clearly forewarned in the Qur’an, like other people in other places, saying if you will not do what you must in the service of humanity and in defence of the noble and divine principles of truth, justice and peace, and if you will love yourselves and this world more than God and all the wonderful things that Islam stands for, then just wait as Allah’s decision finally arrives and gets hold of you.
Allah called it his Amr – his matter; his affair; his command; his judgment; his decision; his retribution; his punishment; his dispensation. Call it whatever you want. To the extent I can figure, the Qur’anic expression Amr does not have an exact English equivalent that would convey the totality of its meaning.
And it is all the more terrifying for being broad, unspecific and open-ended.
The Qur’an simply says: Fa-tarabbasoo hattaa ya’tiyallahu bi-amrihi – just wait till Allah’s decision arrives.
Assault on Islamic History, Culture and Tradition
Many of these worthies who have been parading themselves as “Imams” on the Muslim stage lately are no more Imams, except perhaps in the most narrowly technical sense of being on retainer to lead congregations in a neighbourhood mosque, or mosquette as a nice lady in America once put it, than you and I are Martians.
They and those promoting them as “Imam” commit an unforgivable assault on Islamic history, culture and tradition every time they use the title of “Imam” in the reckless way they do.
Allah, however, seems to have in general protected the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah, until now at least, from such corruptions of Muslim cultural heritage as the use of expressions like “His Eminence,” as that abomination has already landed like the Rock of Gibraltar on some other parts of the poor, benighted Muslim Ummah.
I am calling this expression an abomination purely in the context of its use by and for my Muslim brothers and sisters and not in relation to its use by my Christian brothers and sisters.
Who am I to tell the Christians what expressions to use or not to use to honor their priests? What Muslims forgot is that they have priests. We don’t. The fact that Muslims are mostly clueless about things of this kind – among a lot of other things – is what makes Muslims who they are.
So is the expression “His Grace” is an abomination when used by Muslims for Muslims – as distinct from its use by the Christians. All Grace belongs to God Almighty, even though individual human beings can and should act graciously whenever they can.
Some Other Abominations of Language and Culture
There are other expressions that I dare not speak about. No, I do not fear non-Muslims. It is the Muslims that I do not wish to offend.
Like for example the expression Jalaalatul Malik, not for God Almighty, but for ordinary human beings who dropped out of the wombs of their mothers butt-naked in this world. Just the thought of uttering it frightens, as they say, the daylight out of me. And I don’t think I ever did it before this day, except for educational and illustrative purposes.
If I were not scared, I would have said something like this: Muslims! What face will you show – that is (Pre-partition, pre-1947) Indian English for you – to the real Al-Malikul Quddoos? To the Al-Jaleel Al-Mutakabbir?
Those of you who coined that abomination – Jalaalatul Malik? Those of you who use it? Those of you who give it currency? Those of you who condone and facilitate it? Those of you who accept and embrace it and bask under its false and hellish glory? And those of you who fail to reject, condemn and criticize it in any form or fashion?
That is some of what I would have said if fear did not stop my pen or hold my tongue. Also, I have tried, for so long, not to make trouble for Muslims, if I could help it.
Time to Repent
I would perhaps also have said something to the effect: Remember Muslims, no matter what terrible things you may have done in the past, there is always the door of repentance that lies open before you until death slams it shut in your face.
So, Muslims, did you ever think of repenting? Making Taubah that is? Individually as well as collectively, for some of the havoc you have caused in the world, through your various acts of commission as well as omission? Things you did and the things you failed to do?
It is your Qur’an telling you to do so, you know: Wa tooboo ilallahi jamee’an, ayyuhal mu’minoon.
Paraphrase: All of you turn to God Almighty in collective repentance!
Don’t look at me Muslims, if no one told you to do so before. That is the kind of leadership – of all kinds – you have foisted on yourselves. Don’t blame everyone else, blame yourself.
Falaa taloomoonee wa loomoo anfusakum.
So, it is time to repent Muslims, it is time to repent.
Both individually and collectively.