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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Firoz_Kamal
Full Name: Firoz Kamal
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Islamic Movement:

Option or Obligation

 

Firoz Mahoob Kamal

 

The Muslims' current failures are not mere in economy, education, science or technology; the most basic and devastating failure is in the understanding of Islam "“ the unique and the most valuable possession. Other failures are indeed the results of this basic failure. And all these failures have led to moral, cultural, behavioural and political failures. They have failed even to understand the very purpose of the worldly survival. So their vision, mission, life style and political priorities do not match with those of the early Muslims. Indeed, they are far away from that. Otherwise, like early Muslims, they would have been engaged again in building a civilisation force. But they are far away from that.

Islam assigns a clear goal to the believers. And to help reach that goal, shows a clear roadmap. The Divine roadmap of Islam is the only sure and proven road of success: it can lead only to great success in this world and in the hereafter. Failure has never been in its way. But Muslims' conspicuous failure is a proof that they have gone other way. Knowledge of the Divine roadmap comes only through proper understanding of Islam. But that is a missing element in Muslim societies. For such understanding, knowledge of Qur'an is indispensible. Learning Qur'an is not mere an academic need, is a binding religious obligation on every male and female. To be a Muslim, it is a fundamental pre-requisite. Ignorance is a great sin; indeed, mother of all sins. To free humans from its curse, unlike other religion, Islam made education a binding obligation. But Muslims have failed catastrophically to meet that obligation.

Only a conceptual clarity (aqeedah) can move people in the right path. Early Muslims spent so much time and wrote so many books to clear this point. So it gave them much needed moral strength to stand against social, moral and political wrongs. Bold commitment and sacrifices are indeed the outcome of such moral correctness. The implementation of Allah's guidance only then becomes a reality. Otherwise it is unthinkable. But today, most Muslims show little sense to achieve that goal. Hence, there prevails an awful ignorance or unawareness even about the aim of creation and their role here. The Qur'ran says, "Inni khalaktul jinnah wal isaana illa li yabudun". Meaning: "Certainly I have created the mankind and the jinn for no other purpose, but to worship Me." Ibadah is the prime reason of the human creation; and working as His khalifa (representative) on the earth is the assigned role. The humans' role as His khalifa has been expressed in the verse 30 of Sura Bakara. Here Allah "“ the Almighty disclose His wish to the angels, "Inni Jayelun fil arde khalifah": certainly I am appointing khalifa (the representative) in the earth. A player must have to know his role in the field, otherwise how can make a proper contribution? Here comes the binding obligation on every man and woman to understand the job-assignment; otherwise failure to do any justice to the role is quite natural. But Muslims have shown little success in this regard; hence failure is common.

 Ibadah is a Quranic vocabulary: simply means servitude. But it has a very inclusive connotation. Does it imply simply to offer five daily prayers, observe fasting in ramadhan and give some charity to the poor or performing haj in the life time? Are these all that Allah "“ the Creator wants from a believer? Ibadah means total submission to His authority, full surrender to His will, and a total commitment to the promotion of His cause. It in fact defines the more inclusive role of a Muslim. He has to fully resign to Allah, His prophet, and His religion. He should submit not only to the full guidance of Islam, but also do the best to implement the whole guidance for the mankind. For that, he has to invest not only the money, energy or intelligence, but also his life. And that has been the tradition of prophet and his companion. Islam not only aims at making good individuals, but also raising best families, societies and civilisation. Individual roles of the Muslims thus merge together to formulate a collective role: Islamic movement is indeed the expression of that shared mission.

Islamic identity of a Muslim is not his private or personal matter; it must have a public expression and impact too. Even shahada "“ the first declaration of acceptance of faith should be announced in public. With such spirit, Islamic movement turns to a collective enterprise of the Muslim mass. It is a duty of every Muslim that he should make best contribution to take the Qur'anic guidance far beyond. Faith in Allah shouldn't be hidden inside, rather should come out as visible changes in behaviour, economy, culture, politics and warfare. The daily prayers (Salah), the fasting in the month of Ramadhan (Siam), the charity to the poor (zakah), and the pilgrimage to the House of Allah (Hajj), are the training courses of the Qur'anic curriculum. These rituals do not end in themselves; rather aims to meet a far-reaching consequence. That is to bring an Islamic mould to Muslims' lives as well as to their societies and states. But this is not happening. Instead of influencing others, they have failed to make any discernable impact on their own. Syed Jamaluddin Afghani did not miss this point. He told, "Clouds put shades in front of the sun, and the Muslims have put shades in front of Islam." Thus, the Muslims gave a great disservice to Islam. By corrupt deed and decadence, they have made real Islam almost invisible to others.

But the Muslims of the early days were different. They were the living symbols, - the radiant lighthouse of Islamic faith. Such light could remove the darkness of ancient ignorance: not only from the Arabs but also from people of many far-reaching countries. Their character and behaviour spoke louder about Islam. The Prophet was the best example. Once Hazrat Ayesha (R), the wife of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was asked about the Prophet's character. She replied, "Have you not read the Qur'an? You can see the true expression of the Qur'an in him." The Qur'anic guidance was truly embodied in his life. The companions of the Prophet tried to shadow him; so they too become role-model per excellence for others. Millions converted to Islam; not by learning this religion from schools, mosques or universities but from the behaviour, attitudes and actions of these early Muslims. Each one of them was a living page of the Qur'an. Their faith enlightened not only their own lives and families, but also vast part of the known world. From a tiny population of Hijaz, Islam spread to distant corners of Asia, Africa and Europe. That too happened within only hundred and fifty years. In next 13 hundred years, the Muslims increased only in numbers; could not take the massage much beyond to the other people.

Humans are on a short transition in this world. The ultimate goal of the journey is to please Allah; and to achieve His mercy. Those who receive His mercy, get the real success. Only the Qur'anic road-map can help attain that success. The success of the early Muslims lies in the fact that they strictly followed the roadmap. They were very careful to avoid even the slightest deviation. To drive into a disastrous ditch, does it not need a big deviation? Even a slight departure from the road can do the job. So the early Muslims were very meticulous to ensure one hundred percent correctness in their deed: whether social, cultural, political, legal or economic. But today's Muslims have taken not a narrow deviation, in many areas a full opposite turn. Hence many forbidden deeds like interest-based transaction, prostitution, selling wine and gambling no more forbidden in Muslim lands. And Islamic law "“ sharia is non-existent. 

The Muslims' current decline owes to a single cause: they do not follow the Quranic road-map. They have deviated a long way from siratul mustaqeem. Man-made legal, political and economic road-maps have taken the place of Qur'anic guidance. Hence, tribalism, nationalism, capitalism, socialism, autocracy and western culture could easily make an overwhelming dominance.

The regular acts of worship like salah, fasting, pilgrimage, and zakah, are prescribed to train believers to achieve the physical, intellectual and monetary fitness to fully surrender to Allah. And the superb illustration comes from Prophet Ibrahim (AS) superb. His surrender was so impressive that it brought a special mention from Allah in the holy Qur'an, which made him distinctive in whole human history. The Qur'an records Ibrahim's (AS) declaration as follows: 

"Say: Certainly my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are all for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him)". (6: 163, 164)

 

Such surrender is the assigned mission of a true Muslim. He should worship Allah, and should live for His cause. He should sacrifice his wish; spend his wealth and even life for an overwhelming triumph of His religion. He should take Ibrahim (AS) as his role model. 'Muslim' as a word was firstly introduced by him. It became an iconic word to explain the nature of a true believer. Whenever a command came from Allah, be it for migration from motherland Iraq to distant Egypt, leaving the baby son and the wife in the desert of Mecca, or sacrificing the son - he did not show the slightest hesitation to comply with. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) proclaims: "This am I commanded by Allah and I am of those who surrender unto Him."

 

Allah - the Wise liked this phrase "˜Muslim' so much that He assigns this term as a title for the believers. This great man of history thus gets a high appreciation from the Almighty.  He is glorified as a model character for all believes to come. The Qur'an reveals:

"And strive for Allah with the endeavour which is His right. He has chosen you and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Ibrahim (is yours). He has named you Muslims of old time." (22: 78)

Neither the word 'Muslim' nor the concept of striving in Allah's way (jihad) is new. Both are old, as old is the human history. When there were only two persons, even then there were two opposing prototypes "“ as were Habil and Kabil: the two sons of Adam (AS). There exists a clear divide between the followers of Allah and the followers of devil since very early days of the history. The aim of survival and the way of survival of these two people are also different. The conflict between these two people is also inevitable. Hence, the question of making a winning strategy is crucial. The Muslims need to prepare themselves as the dominant force in history. In such context, mere proclamation of faith in Allah is not enough. A believer must go far beyond, his faith must reflect through full submission to Allah's Will of bringing an overwhelming victory for His religion. If there appears a mismatch or inconsistency between his words and deeds, he falls in another category. He is labelled as a munafiq - a hypocrite. In this context, prayers must play a change making and habit forming role. It should cause constant submission to Allah and bring lifelong consistency in words and deeds. Prayers must transform people's vision, mission and life style. Only then, sacrificing time, wealth and even life for victory of Islam become a distinctive part of a Muslim's culture. Hence, prayers must not turn to mere rituals. These must generate and sustain a dynamic movement to serve Allah's cause. Muslim ummah then gets a propulsive dynamism. In such social and conceptual milieu, Islamic movement becomes a natural outcome. Existence of such movement in a Muslim community is indeed an indicator of its spiritual health. In its absence, the ummah not only loses its progression, goes straight downhill. Then it rapidly degenerates. Indeed, that is now happening in almost all Muslim countries. It does not mean that Qur'an does not exist in these countries. Rather there exist serious impediments in its understanding.

For practising Muslims, it is unthinkable not to help grow a mass-based Divine movement to fight the cause of Allah. Muslims' unity here plays a crucial role. Unity implies believers' collective adherence to an Islamic cause. Any dissociation from it means dissociation from Islam, as was the case of hypocrites (muniafiqs) of Medina at the time of the Prophet (pbuh). It was not the case that these hypocrites did not offer  prayers. They were called hypocrites because they dissociated themselves from Muslims' collective mission to bring victory to Allah's cause. While Muslims are attacked, silence or inaction is incompatible with faith. Their crime: they did not join the Muslim army to fight the Meccan infidels in Uhud. Such inaction in a war time was enough to earn for them the cursed title - munafiq.  It is not true that faith in Allah is invisible. It is visible like a flame in darkness. It generates such a powerful emotional, behavioural and attitudinal expression that no one can miss it. Faith manifests not only through prayers; but also through deeds and struggle (jihad) in the way of Allah.

The munafiqs of madina and their leader Abdullah bin Ubai, could not display such behaviour or fighting mood. Instead of engaging in jihad at Uhud, they were waiting for the Muslims' defeat. The same brand of people is still abundant; but there is a big difference. In prophet's (pbuh) time, the munafiqs did not join the attacking army to kill Muslims. But now, the Muslims are taking arms from enemies to kill the Muslims. The recent history is full of such events. In 1971, the Bengali Muslims took arms from Hindus. And now, the Afghan, the Iraqis, the Kurds and the Palestinians are taking arms from the Christians and the Jews. Their job is the same: to kill fellow Muslims. When Palestine was occupied by the British in 1919, thousands of Muslims fought with the invading British army to kill Muslims and occupy their land. British General Allenby celebrated it as victory, as if for another crusade. And that was won by the Muslim blood. Palestine was thus occupied; and Israel was thus built. Islam was not an issue for these mercenary Muslims. Their only issue was to earn bread and butter. They failed to understand that sustenance comes only from Allah. Such conceptual failure led to catastrophic moral failures. They collaborated with the enemies in all possible ways. With the help of these of collaborators, Islam as a living ideological force has been defeated long ago in almost all Muslim lands. And the enemies of Islam could establish an overwhelming dominance. Now there exists a global coalition against Islam's revival as an ideological force. They call it fundamentalism. Most Muslim governments, political parties and NGOes are parts of it. The strategic aim of this global partnership is to maintain the current status quo of Muslims' disunity and defeat. Their success is spectacular. The Qur'anic laws no more survive in Muslim lands. Instead, the un-Islamic laws enjoy the upper hand. Interest based transaction, prostitution, selling of wine and many other forbidden acts are no more forbidden there. Even those who go to mosques and keep fasting and do haj, are silently watching such humiliation of Allah's law. The commitment to Allah's cause has gone so low that even such humiliation could not raise visible expression of anger or discontent. The Muslims still stand badly divided. So, the humiliation continues. The Muslims are busy with their own daily chores, as if these are the only purpose of the survival. Could it happen in early days of Islam?

Such catastrophic defeat and decadence of the Muslims has only been possible due to ignorance. Jaheliyah (ignorance) is the number one enemy of Islam. Out of ignorance, one can drink even poison. For the same reason, Muslims have accepted many non-Islamic concepts. Such concepts have de-Islamising as well as deep dehumanising effects; hinders man to grow up as a true Muslim and true human. Allah sent thousands of Prophets to free His beloved creation from its curse, and not to teach professional skills. So, promoting knowledge has been the mission of the Almighty Allah since the very creation of Adam (AS) - the first man. The Muslims are duty bound to join this mission. Ignorance takes away fear of Allah, and makes Muslims ignorant of their duty. So they do not bother if the laws of Allah are ignored, humiliated and thrown to bins. Neither do they bother if the Muslim lands are occupied and the people are massacred. Due to such ignorance, the fundamental element of faith like jihad got ignored; most Muslims think it is the belief of a few fanatics. Fear of Allah and commitment to His cause only comes through proper understanding. So, such ignorance makes it impossible to be good Muslim. The testimony to such view comes from Allah - the Almighty. He reveals, "Innama yakhshAllaha min ibadihil ulama": of humans, only the people of understanding fear me. Therefore, for becoming Allah-fearing man, skill of understanding is crucial. There is famous saying of the Prophet (pbuh) to emphasise the same point: "Superior worship (ibada) is deep thinking (tafaqqu)". Since thinking is the gate way of understanding, it is the starting point to be a good Muslim. But the majority Muslims have failed to understand it. So promotion of Islamic knowledge and understanding is the most neglected sector in Muslim lands; it has been left only with the charities. The Muslim governments are busy with the secular priorities: thus to add more ignorance and obscurities. So growing up with true Islamic belief is the most difficult task in most Muslim lands. Even in Arab countries, only a very few have the adequate understanding of the Qur'an. In non-Arab countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan or Indonesia, although millions of people can recite this holy book, a very few can understand it. Therefore they miss the most necessary philosophical or ideological force to make a meaningful moral, social, cultural and political impact. Amidst enormous other resource like manpower, oil, gas, solar energy, rubber, tin, cotton and others, this is the real poverty of the Muslims. This was not the case in the early days of Islam. Understanding Qur'an got so much importance in those days that one would not find a single companion of the Prophet (pbuh) who was not a learned man on Qur'an. They used to walk tens of miles only to learn a verse of the holy Qur'an or a saying (hadith) from the Prophet (pbuh). Such impetus in seeking knowledge helped them develop a huge wealth of knowledge with in a very short period of time. As a result, the man who was a shepherd or small businessman or small farmer prior to acceptance of Islam became a great scholar on Islamic law, warfare or governance. In fact, most revered scholars of the whole Muslim history belong to those golden days. It has been the most significant and unmatched achievement of a tiny Muslim population of Arabian Peninsula. It was only possible through mobilisation and utilisation of their full potentials. They understood the basic implication of accepting Islam - like reconstruction of lives, families and the state on Qur'anic principle. Their understanding of Islam could not think of keeping the state "“ the most powerful institution on earth, outside the reconstructive endeavour. Such effort was thought futile without involving this formidable power. Hence, the prophet of Islam and his companions engaged not only in peaceful propagation of Islam but also in bloody battles to ensure building and defending an Islamic state. They all joined in a holy struggle (jihad) for individual and collective purification on Allah's guidance. Only such a collective engagement of the Muslims makes emergence of an Islamic state an achievable reality. The Islamic movement thus gets its genesis. It is jihad: participation in it is an indicator of Islamic belief. As a consequence, social change becomes a reality in Muslim communities. The prophet of Islam did not bring with him any affluence of wealth, but ushered a huge shift in their thinking model. The newly imbued belief prompted them to consider this worldly life as an Allah-gifted opportunity to increase their saving for akhira - the hereafter. This life is for plantation; harvest time is in the hereafter. Such a new philosophical construct of mind worked as a very powerful engine for moving people towards doing miracles. They even climbed much above the angels; and proved to be the best creation of the Creator. They did not miss any day, any night or any opportunity of this short life to enhance that score. They spent their whole life, all wealth and all potentials to enhance that plantation "“ the plantation of good deeds. And, there was no concept of retirement from that job. So the society, the state and the whole mankind gained a lot from such massive creativities of the whole Muslim population. This was the reason that in those early days of Islam a tiny numbers of people could raise the finest civilisation on earth. But now, the Muslims suffer from a huge void of such philosophical force; therefore miss an appropriate framework of thought that would push them to do miracles. Now this void has been heavily inundated by secular concepts. Indeed, this is the most critical crisis of the Muslim world. Muslims' revival in the past has always been the work of Islamic paradigm of thought. For the present and also for the future, there exists no other option either. Hundred years' practice of secularism in Muslim world has only generated a constant decadence. So this is time to reckon and grasp the real truth. And they should follow that truth.

The revelation of Qu'ran started with "iqra": means "˜read'. To enter the premise of knowledge, reading is deemed as an essential first step. But for deeper knowledge, it needs to go further and deeper. Reading only helps make a start. The Quran asks to do much more. It makes an obligation to reflect on its teachings, ponder on its revelation and make use of the best wisdom to understand the message. Tawaqqul, tafaqqur, and tadabbur are the Qur'anic vocabulary to emphasise these points. Guidance from Allah's revelation comes only through deliberations. But most Muslims did not go to that extent. They take recitation of Qur'an as a great virtue, but not the understanding. They do not feel it necessary to know its language or read the translation. Muslims' effort to understand this most precious gift of the Almighty is incredibly low. In most Muslim countries, it is not even the priority issue. The Muslim children spend more time, energy and resources to acquire skills deemed essential for professional success. Thus the issue of receiving Allah's guidance gets dropped from the academic curriculum. Even in educationally backward countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan or Nigeria, more Muslims understand English than the language of the Qu'ran. Allah's book drew little attention from them. What can be more disgraceful for this best book for the mankind? Even those who understand its language are not intellectually equipped to reflect on its teachings. Seeking Qur'anic guidance thus becomes the common casualty and deviation from siratul mustaqeem becomes the common norm in most Muslims lands. And such deviation has other disgraceful consequences: moral decline is one of them. So in the world stage, many Muslim states have turned to be the icons of moral deprivation. This way they have inflicted a shameful disgrace to this Divine faith!

Due to ignorance, most Muslims have ignored many basic obligations. One such ignored obligation is Islamic movement. What is Islamic movement? It is an all embracing endeavour to implement the Qur'anic guidance in all arenas of life: be it private, public, social or political, Ignorance has led many Muslims to believe that implementation of Allah's laws, - as have been revealed in the Qu'ran, is a wishful thinking of a few fundamentalists; common Muslims have nothing to do with this political Islam! They even say, it is impossible to implement in modern days! They probably do not know that Allah "“ the Wise sent thousands of messengers in different ages, but with the same message. So difference in age does not diminish Islam's applicability. Islam is implementable in all ages. Belief in Islam makes it an obligation to believe in its applicability: that too, in all the ages. Other wise what is the utility of such faith? The Qur'an addresses the issue quite unequivocally:

"The same religion He has established for you as He enjoined that on Noah;         which We have sent by inspiration to you and that We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: that you should establish religion (Islam) and make no divisions therein"¦" - Sura Shura Verse 13.

The above verse makes it clear that the Qu'ran is not for mere recitation. It is also for implementation. It is also clear that Allah does not like any disunity in the rank and file of the Muslims. The real spirituality does not lie in mere reading this holy Book or making supplication in solitude; rather joining ranks with other Muslims to establish His guidance. Does it require any scholarly knowledge to understand it? Even an illiterate companion of the Prophet (pbuh) could gather its implication. Therefore, one will not find a single companion of the Prophet (pbuh) who did not invest his time, energy, wealth, and even life to implement this Qur'anic guidance. Allah also reveals:

"It is He Who has sent His apostle with guidance and the religion of truth that He may proclaim it over all religions even though the pagans may detest it."

 - Verse 9, Sura Saff.

The above verse leaves no ambiguity on Allah's wish. Allah wants Islam "“the final prescription for the mankind overwhelms all other faiths, religions or value system. Such a victory is indispensable for salvation of humans. Because, the roadmap of salvation lies only in the Qur'an. Other faith and religions can only add further deviation from the right path (siratul mustaqeem). A Muslim can not buy the notion that all religions have common aim to do goods for the mankind. It is untrue. It contradicts Muslims' faith. Such faith nullifies Allah's wisdom to send the last messenger with the last book of guidance "“ the Qur'an. Moreover these faiths, instead of doing common goods, have shown enough power in the past to organise chaos, genocide and even rebellion against Allah's religion "“ Islam. About them the Qur'an says:

"When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth,"

 They say, "Why, we only want to make peace!"

Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize it not.

-Sura Bakara, Verses 11-12

Even those who got the Divine Books, like Jews, did a lot crime in the name of religion. They killed many prophets, and even made alliances with idol-worshippers to annihilate Islam and the Muslims. So Allah detests domination of these faiths. But who is going to take the message to the non-Muslims? Allah is All-Powerful. He can spread Islam and crush their dominance in seconds. But that is not His intention. He delegates the responsibility to the Muslims. Allah reveals:

"If such were Our will, we could send down to them from the sky a sign, to which they would bend their necks in humility." -  Sura Shuara, Verse 4

Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was the last prophet. No more Prophet is to come. Hence it is the responsibility of every believer to take this Divine massage to the non-Muslims. In this regard, Allah "“ the Almighty makes a call to the believers:

"O! Who believe, be helpers unto Allah.."  - Sura Saff, Verse 14   

Man needs role or responsibilities to prove his faith and virtue. Mere expression of faith or wish cannot do the job. Hence Allah assigns a role and responsibility to every Muslim: it is indeed a Divine test in this worldly life. Rewards or punishment, based on his performance, waits for him here and in the hereafter. Through engagement in this Divine mission, they can earn even the most distinguished title of "helper unto Allah". Allah revealed: "wa li kulli darajatun mimma amelu" "And, the status (of a man or women) depends on the deeds (that a man/woman performs)."  People seek dignity even being helper unto a king, queen or a ruler. What can be more dignifying than being helper unto Allah? The Qur'an reveals: "Truly, Allah loves those who fight in His way in battle array as if they are a solid cemented structure." "“ Verse 4, Sura Saff . Therefore, only through struggling in His way Muslims can get the cherished blessing from Allah. In this context, Islamic movement provides precious opportunities to the Muslims to play their role. It provides the premise for investing their best talents and abilities in Allah's way. The world powers have developed huge army to terrorise the weak. In less than last one hundred years they fought hundreds of offensive wars for their imperial cause. Americans came from other parts of the globe to shed their own blood and blood of other millions in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to promote their imperial interest. But Muslims have no imperial aim. The true Muslims would not shed even a single drop of their blood for such cause. They live and die for only cause: and that for Allah. They struggle to promote peace and tranquillity through implementation of Allah's guidance. But that area of Muslims' faith has been badly corrupted. Most Muslim countries are not based on Islam, so they can not provide an Islamic agenda to their people. Unlike Islamic khilafa of early days, these countries are raised on ethnic or tribal divides. They instigate their citizens to shed blood to defend their national, tribal or ethnic pride. In such absence of khilafa, only an Islamic movement can provide an Islamic agenda for a meaningful Islamic survival and struggle.   

It is not the real problem that the Muslims do not believe in Allah or His holy book. The problem lies in their ignorance of the role and the assigned responsibilities. What to say about the fulfilment of that role and responsibilities! So the failure is not only in the government side, in the non-government side too. Amidst such all-embracing failures, the Muslims' collective status and dignity on the world stage is going rapidly downhill. Now they are looking at the glories of the early days' Muslims - only source of their pride. But it is a great irony that they take little lessons from them. In those days of material inadequacies and hardships, they could get the success only through full adherence to Qur'an and full participation of the every Muslims. Except a few physically disabled, none of them was a silent watcher of the events. The task of Islamic reconstruction or defending the Islamic state is not an exclusive government or non-government enterprise; it is the task of all Muslims. In those early days, every single Muslim was fully aware of his or her role; and was steadfast to play that role. Inactivity was reckoned as a clear betrayal against Islam. But such awareness does not exist today. Instead of fighting for Islam's victory, most Muslims are silent watcher. Not only that, thousands of them even support and fight shoulder to shoulder with the enemies. That repeatedly happened when the Muslim lands were snatched one after another by the imperialists. So the non-Muslim invading enemies do not face difficulties to find friend and collaborators in the Muslim lands. Non-existence of the Qur'anic law and dominance of non-Islamic value-system in Muslims countries owe to these traitors.

In Islam, any combatant engagement in the way of Allah is called jihad. It is an inseparable part of Islamic movement. However, Islamic movement itself is more inclusive. Beside jihad, it includes other indispensable elements like education (ta'leem), training (tarbiyah), propagation (dawa), organisation (tazeem), and mobilisation (tahreek) in the cause of Allah. When all these components get a concurrent practice, Islam appears as a powerful change-making force. Islamic movement then takes the shape of a continuous collective struggle of the whole Ummah. The expressed wish of Allah - as revealed in the Qur'an, then gets a real chance of implementation. Islamic movement then gets an all embracing social, political, cultural and spiritual dimensions. Muslims' continuous success and glory in the world and emancipation from the Hellfire indeed rest on it. Other wise, decline and humiliation become the destiny. In this regard, there is famous saying of the Prophet (pbuh). Abdullah ibn Umar narrates, "I heard the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) saying, "When you enter into interest-based transaction, hold the tail of oxen and are pleased with agriculture and give up conducting jihad, Allah will make disgrace prevail over you." - Sunan-e-Abu Dawood, Hadith number 3455.

Jihad is the best enterprise that can protect humans from the Hellfire and ensure an abode in the Heaven. The prescription comes from Allah, as the Qur'an reveals:

"O! You who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous penalty? That you believe in Allah and His apostle and that you strive (your utmost) in the cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: that will be best for you, if you but know!" - Verse 10-11, Sura Saff.

Acceptance of Islam amounts not only to believe in Allah and His Apostles, in holy Books and angels, but also entering into a solemn bargain with Him. This is about the sale of his beloved life and belongings to Allah, in lieu of His forgiveness and a place of happiness in the paradise. Allah "“ the Almighty says:

"Allah has purchased of the believers, their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden of paradise: they fight in His cause and slay and are slain"¦  Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded: that is the supreme achievement." - Verse 111, Sura Taubah. 

People sell their lives even to tyrant rulers: for a meagre salary or perk. In exchange, they go on killing and become killed for his cause. The best creation of the Almighty is not cattle to be slain this way; they deserve a better deal. And Allah makes that deal. A man who struggles for His cause and dies for His cause gets a place in the Paradise: and that too for a never ending period. What a precious offer! One cannot buy even a single centimetre of the promised paradise by Himalayan size of gold. The early Muslims entered into that bargain, so more than half of them laid their lives for His cause. Even those who survived were desperate to do the same. As a consequence they achieved the unmatched glory in the history. And paradise waits for them in the hereafter. But today, Muslims make deal differently. They sell life to enemies, and have made history by fighting along with the invading armies.

 

Muslims' real power lies in adherence to this holy Book: not in oil, gas or any material resources. This holy Book has shown its strength in early days of Islam. It moved people to do miracles. While reading this Book, people used to burst in tears. This Book guided them to raise the finest civilisation on earth out of Arabian dusts and ancient ignorance. Today's crisis in the Muslim world is not material; rather philosophical. And it owes to lack of understanding of this holy Qur'an. Though the holy Qur'an is the most read book in the world, it is the least understand. So they have terribly missed the most powerful ideological force of human history. Thousands of people in Papua New Guinea still live in Stone Age. Civilisation could not have a discernible start there. The cause of this spectacular failure in making a social change does not lie in any physical or nutritional inadequacies. The nutritional status of these people is better than many Americans, since they still enjoy easy access to abundant wild animal meat, fruits and fish. Their failure to make changes in society in thousands of years owes to poverty of ideas. This is a symptom of their philosophical crisis. Foods, drinks or material wealth can not work as its substitute.

 

Islam does not force any one to be a Muslim. The Qu'ran says, "la ikraha fiddin: no compulsion on accepting Islam. Even those who are non-Muslims Islam allows them to remain as non-Muslim, if they wish. The Quran's passed on the following massage to the Meccan infidels, "lakum deenukum wa liya deen": "˜for you is your religion and for me is my religion'. But for the Muslims, the massage is different. Islam presents itself as an option to everybody; but whoever embraces it as a faith has to surrender to it fully. With respect to Allah's decrees, there remains no room of compromise, neither exists any "˜choose and pick' option. The word "˜Muslim' originates from the word "˜aslama' meaning who surrenders. Whoever surrenders to Allah, it is an all-time obligation on him to obey His guidance. An army doesn't force any one to be its member. But whoever willingly joins an army has to bear the obligation. Such obligation is to engage in the assigned training designed to make him a competent warrior. At the time of war, he is required to go the front line. There exists no option of backtracking. Backtracking amounts to betrayal: therefore brings for him a heavy punishment. Such backtracking from the Islamic obligation of a Muslim is called hypocrisy (munifiqat). The Muslims are the party of Allah - as called hijbullah in the Qur'an; their assigned duty is to fight in His cause. The Qu'ran says:

"Those who believe in Allah fight in His cause; and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Evil. So you fight against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan."  - Sura Nisa, Verse 76.

There is no ambiguity in the verse. The early Muslims did not do any mistake to understand its implication. So it was impossible to find a single companion of the Prophet (pbuh) who did not fight in the way of Allah, except some disabled. The players of worldly powers keep on changing, but the same context of conflict between Islam and non-Islam repeats. Nimrod, Pharaoh, Abu Lahab and Abu Jahl have gone for ever. But their case against Islam did not die. It has been taken by others. The players are new, but their case is quite old. Like the old ideological predecessors, they are equally intolerant of Islam and Islamic law. And equally enjoys the killing of innocent Muslims. So the war against Islam continues.

        

Faith in Allah itself is a solemn commitment; and Muslims survives to fulfil that. Faith is indivisible; none of its segment can be compromised. No king is pleased if he is only saluted and not obeyed. The same is true with the King of all the known and unknown worlds. Whatever He has prescribed must be obeyed; any neglect of this dictate amounts to direct revolt. So the slightest disbelief in Islam's practicability in social, political, cultural and economic arenas is incompatible with Islamic faith. With such disbelief, politics, law, economy, culture and food habits are more prone to take deviating turns. Moreover who decides the issue of practicability? Allah - the law-Giver or the believers "“ the recipient? The Muslims, as the recipient of the guidance have no right to do that. They are only required to follow the guidance. Moreover, the Divine guidance on polities, law, economy and culture cannot be practised in mosques. It needs social, political, economic and judicial space for that. Hence, a Muslim's submission or worship to Allah does not end in mosques, he has to take it far beyond. And the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions did that. The arenas outside mosque are the real venue for practising such total submission. But if these arenas too are leased out to establish exclusive dominance of anti-Islamic ideas and their legal, economic, social and cultural projects, then how such practitioners of religious compromise can claim to be Muslim? 

 

Mere verbal faith in Allah does not suffice to prove trust in Him. Tests and trials are needed to examine the truthfulness. Allah wants to know who is steadfast in his faith and committed to His cause. A Muslim's sacrifice in the cause of Allah is a parameter to measure his firmness in faith. It gives a true assessment of his worship. The Qur'an reveals:

"Did you think that you would enter Paradise while yet Allah knows not those of you who really strive, nor knows those who are steadfast. (3; 142)

The Qur'an also reveals:

"Or do you think that you shall enter the Garden (of Bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of God ?' Ah! Verily, the help of God is (always) near!"  (2: 214)

 

Believers' life is not bed of roses; rather impregnated with life threatening dangers. Even the Prophet (pbuh) faced terrible turmoil. So a believer too has no other option but to face it. In fact, here starts his trial. In an exam situation, withdrawal or inactivity is not an option. He has to move forward with the mission and face the trial. While Islam and the Muslims are under attack, any intention of being aloof and withdrawal from the defence is wholly inconceivable. Inactive and unmoved life in such context can only add more indignity and disgrace. Islamic movement indeed gets its genuine legitimacy from such struggling spirit. It becomes a collective expression of the jihadi spirit of the Ummah. In such situation, unmoved inactive life is not an Islamic option.

 11/08/08     www.firozmahboobkamal.com

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