Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


RABI-UL-AWWAL / RABI - U - THANI
MAY 2004
Volume 17-05 No : 209
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Opinion


Let's Stop Debating!

Let’s Stop Debating!

It is not wise to blame non-Muslims for the condition of Muslims today. Today, Muslims have made the Quran as a ceremonial 
book and use it on special occasions for attaining blessings

By Gohar Mushtaq

Today, the Muslim ummah (nation) is passing through a critical stage in history. The decline of the Muslim nation has reached its lowest ebb. There are various reasons for it. Sheikh ul-Hind, Maulana Mahmood ul Hasan (died in 1922 C.E.), who was imprisoned in the Island of Malta by the British government in India, said that during his years in prison, he contemplated over the cause of the decline of Muslim ummah and he reached the following conclusion:

"There appear to be two reasons for the decline of the Muslim ummah today: i) Muslims have forsaken the Qur'an, and ii) Muslims are disunited."

Allah has sent down the Qur'an for the Muslim so that they would absorb and integrate the teachings of the Qur'an into their character just as the companions (sahaabah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did it. Maryam Jameelah, an Islamic scholar, once mentioned that one of the things she observed among the Muslims is that they can sacrifice their life for the Qur'an but they cannot live their life according to the Qur'an. This is a very profound observation. Today, Muslims have made the Qur'an as a ceremonial book, i.e. they use the Qur'an on special occasions for attaining blessings, but they do not use it as the code for their life. The sahaabah used to apply every verse of the Qur'an on their character.

The second cause, which is related to the first cause, is the disunity among the Muslims. The cliché that "Unity is Strength" is nonetheless true. The life history of nations shows that whenever there is disunity in a nation, it is a crystal-clear indication of its decline. The Muslim nation is not an exception to this rule. Allah’s "Sunnah" (way of dealing) is same for every nation. In Qur’an, Allah says:

"So no change will you find in Allah’s Sunnah (way of dealing)." (Surah Faatir [The Originator of Creation] (35:43).

Qur’an teaches us to learn from history and not to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. The following examples from history will elucidate the point:

When Muslims conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) under the leadership of Sultan Muhammad Fatih in 1453 C.E., the Christian popes and priests were disunited and, instead of becoming united and making military plans against Muslims, they were arguing about the following trivial issues in the royal court of Constantine:

i) Did Mary remain virgin after giving birth to Jesus?

ii) How many angels can fit on the tip of a needle?

iii) What kind of bread did Jesus eat in his last supper? Was it baked or not?

The consequences of this disunity among Christians were horrible. Muslims were easily able to conquer Constantinople, which was the heart of Christian empire.

When the British were attacking and conquering the different Muslim states of India around 1800 C.E., Muslims of Indian sub-continent were disunited and they were busy in having debates among each other about such issues as:

i) Issue of "Imkaan-e-Kizb" which means "Can Allah tell a lie or not?

ii) Issue of "Imtinaa-e-Nazeer" which means "Can Allah create another person like Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

The consequence of this disunity among Muslims was not different than it is for any other nation. The British were able to conquer all the Muslim states in India by the year 1857 C.E. Similarly, it was because of this disunity that the Western imperial powers were able to convert the united states of Middle East into the disunited states of Middle East.

Today the defence system (immune system) of the Muslim ummah has become very weak. It seems as if it is suffering from an immuno-deficiency disease. One of the features of a healthy body with good defence system is that the anti-bodies (defence army of the body) learn from the past. It is not wise to blame non-Muslims for the condition of Muslims today. If a virus enters four people and one of them gets sick, we cannot just blame the virus for it. Why did the other three people did not get sick? Because they had strong immune system and the person who had weak defense system got sick. Imam -Shaafi has rightly said in one of his poetic verses which is translated as:

"We blame time and the fault is in us,

There is no fault in time except us." (Diwaan ash-Shaafi).

The companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had very strong immunity and defense system and they were united because they had vaccinated themselves with the Qur'an. The Muslims of today also need a vaccine of Qur'an and Sunnah at least once a day. In Qur’an, Allah says:

"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur’an) and be not divided among yourselves."

(Al-'Imran [The Family of Imran] 3:103)

In addition, in Surah An-Nisa, Allah has said:

"If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (i.e. Qur’an and Sunnah)" (An-Nisa [The Women] ) 4:59

Rasool Allah (peace be upon him) has further clarified this prescription in the following authentic hadith:

"I am leaving with you two things. If you hold them tight, you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah (Qur’an) and my Sunnah (Hadith)." (Sahih Hadith)

If the Muslims of today begin to understand and act upon the message of unity given in the Qur’an and Sunnah and become united, they will be able to uplift themselves from the state of decadence they are in today. This message applies to Muslims all over the world. Today, Muslims have to cultivate tolerance towards their fellow Muslims who differ from them. We, as a Muslim ummah, have to learn to sacrifice our ego in our community, tolerate difference of opinions within the boundaries of the Qur'an and Sunnah and we should not compete in raising our level of living and wealth. Only then we will be successful by the Will of Allah.

The writer is a Ph.D in Bio-chemistry, based in New York and can be reached at gmushtaq2000@yahoo.com

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