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Debating Islam ( 2 Jun 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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How to Save People from Apostasy?





By V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

June 1, 2015

There are umpteen number of diseases but the most serious ones are spiritual illnesses such as Fasaq wa Fujoor (immorality), Bidat (innovation in religious matters), Bath-akhlaqi (bad character), Bath-athwari (bad behavior) etc. Neglect in religious duties and depriving one from his rights in matters such as inheritance are also serious diseases. However the worst disease a person can commit is apostasy – giving up Imaan - faith.

An apostate is like a mad person. While a mad person cannot understand this world, an apostate cannot understand the purpose of life and the Aakhirah (the hereafter). He lives in this world unaware of the Creator who has given him life and also unaware of where he has to go after his life here. Apostasy is the worst and dreaded disease and also the worst sin.

Trials (Fitna) occur from time to time. We are facing a challenge now as the one faced in so called Shuddi Movement before independence of our country India. At that time Ulama joined together and worked in every village, town and city, participated in debates and distributed pamphlets to place their views before the people about Thawheed- monotheism. The present situation is more serious than that. It was announced by a communal Hindu organization recently that it would give Rs.5 lakh for Muslims and Rs.2 lakh for Christians for conversion to Hinduism (what they called Ghar Vapasi – home coming). There seems to be no action against them. 

It is well known that a true Muslim cannot change his religion at any cost as Islam is NOOR. Allah says in the holy Quran:

”God is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into light. And those who disbelieve – their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein”.

Unfortunately if any Muslim gives up his faith, Islam does not require him. Three reasons can be attributed for such conversions 1) ignorance 2) poverty and 3) misunderstanding.

Ignorance and poverty are the issues of mostly the villages and poor Muslims are affected by it whereas misunderstanding is due to lack of religious education in educational institutions. A majority of Muslim children are unaware of even the fundamentals of Islam. Even today there are thousands of villages where Muslims are in a microscopic minority. There are no mosques, madrasas and maktabs and consequently people are ignorant of Islam. There are no enough knowledgeable persons even to conduct Janaza prayers, solemnize marriages and slaughter animals in Islamic ways. In some villages dead bodies are buried without prayers and animals are slaughtered without Bismillah.

All those who call themselves Muslims as they were born in Muslim families and given Muslim names cannot be Muslims in reality unless they have Islamic thought and practices. If they are misled by fanatical forces to give up Islam, there is no surprise in it. They are like travellers ignorant of their destination as well as the path leading to it. Anybody can mislead and put them on the wrong path to destruction. To save such people from apostasy more makthabs  should be established and more mosques be constructed – they can even be of tins and thatched roofs. At least a teacher should be appointed for every small dwelling. Mosques enable Muslims to protect their identity and Makthabs impart basic knowledge of Islam. If right persons are appointed as Muallims (teachers) in Makthabs, they can give good education and save the faith of the people from collapse. The Prophet (sal-am) has given importance to the religious teaching and training of children. He said that one who gives good training and education to his children will be protected from Jahannum – hell fire.

Salaah – prayer- is not compulsory on children and sometimes their presence disturbs the sanctity of the mosque. In spite of this he preferred sensible children coming to the mosque. Hence during his time, in mosques men stood in front rows, children in middle rows and women in back rows. The purpose of this was to give good training to the children. It is necessary that we should make mosques Centres of Education and Training for children. In these Centres there should also be educational facilities for youngsters, women and elderly people separately so that they do not remain ignorant of their Islamic duties and responsibilities. To achieve this all Muslims, particularly religious organizations and educational institutions should join together, survey every area of Muslim concentration and do the needful to spread the message of Islam.

Tablighi Jamaat is doing a great service to the community. There is need to send delegations of the Jamaat to the areas where Muslims are lagging in Islamic knowledge and practice so that they are given right education and their Imaan is strengthened and protected.

Another reason for apostasy is poverty and economic backwardness. Prophet Mohammed (sal-am)  said, “poverty can lead to kufr”. Villages and even some city slums are affected mostly because of economic backwardness. It makes people go astray. Sometimes it makes people lose their self respect, even to the extent of selling their Imaan because of compulsions. To prevent this, the community should go to the rescue of the poor and suffering people. In this connection the following three services are most important:

Help to the suffering Muslims during their illness, help to the farmers at the time of their need for buying seeds and installing borewells, help to the poor and needy students etc. The Prophet (sal-am) has said that “he who facilitates the poor and needy will get  facilitation from Allah in this world and the hereafter.”

There is need to establish Interest Free Loan System everywhere. Big industrialists require big loans but the need of the small farmers and villagers is limited. The small farmers will carry on their works with the support of loans to the extent of Rs.10,000 or 20,000. They will be able to repay the loans happily in easy installments. The noble Prophet said that “for every Muslim, who gives loan to another Muslim, it will be equal to having given Sadaqah (charity) twice.

If the rich Muslims come forward to work for this with boldness and determination, it will not be difficult for them to have an interest free loan system for the poor everywhere.

Alhamdulillah, there are some organizations which are engaged in doing this noble work. They have established societies and are giving interest free loans. The services of the Jamiatul ulama-e-Hind and Jamaat-e-Islami are more popular and valuable in this field. But in a big country like ours the demand is so much that thousands of such societies are urgently needed. Unless all organizations, parties and important personalities work together on collective basis without giving importance to their maslaki and party differences, success is not possible.

There is an urgent need to provide employment opportunities to the poor youth in villages and slums in cities. One of the ways is that Muslim industrialists, builders and merchants should employ workers from these places for their works.  Giving livelihood to a person is actually saving a family from the problems which crop up in poverty. If a person gives works to ten persons it means he helps ten families.

Another way to make people employable is to arrange for training less educated youngsters in carpentry, plumbing, electrical and electronic works etc. These courses can be started with less investment and for short terms like one year.  There is good demand for the people trained in these disciplines. Sometimes their incomes can be more than those of qualified engineers. Well to do city people can join together and start such courses in some villages after some necessary study survey and consultations among interested people. This will give employment opportunities to the youths in villages and help them.

Financial help can also be given to small fruit and vegetable vendors, artisans, tailors, etc. to enable them to do their business or profession. Social activists can try to help the students, women and unemployed people by informing them about the various government schemes and doing the needful for them. It is well known that a major portion of the amounts allotted for various government schemes for the uplift of minorities go unutilized and returned. Awareness should be created among the Muslims about the various government schemes and see to it that they are fully utilized. Officials should be persuaded to do justice. Prophet Mohammed (sal-am) used to help the unemployed helpless become self employed people. There are many Ahadees to this effect.

Anti Islam and anti Thouheed lessons available in our educational system are responsible for weak Muslims going astray. There was a complaint against the government that its educational system did not give importance to moral education and that the students who come out from educational institutions are bereft of good human values although educationally well qualified. Then came the Christian missionaries and established educational institutions. There was no force in their religious preaching for conversions but created the atmosphere beneficial for spread of Christianity among the non Christian students. But now some forces belonging to Sangh Parivar are active using different sort of tactics and forces to brainwash the minorities. The newspapers and TV channels expose their highhandedness. Misunderstanding is created about the Prophet of Islam, Shariat, Islamic culture and civilization, Muslim history etc. and children belonging to religious minorities are made to suffer inferiority complex.

It is learnt that in some schools managed by Hindu groups in Hyderabad shlokas are taught to all students for about 15 or 20 minutes and that when some parents requested them to exempt the Muslim students from these classes it was not accepted. It is further learnt that In another school the request for giving permission for Muslim students just for half an hour to go out for attending Jumma prayers in mosques was rejected on the ground that it was against the discipline of the school. On the other hand in many schools in different states poojas are conducted and all students have to participate in it whatever may be their religion. How can it be justified? It is necessary for the minorities to do the needful in this regard for the sake of peaceful co-existence of different religious people.

The time has come for the Muslims to think over all the issues confronting them at present and establish standard schools for modern education along with religious education so that Muslim students do not lag behind any other community in the educational arena. They should not be commercialized.  It is also necessary for the existing Muslim institutions to impart Islamic education to Muslim students. There are many schools managed by Muslims in which there is no provision for Islamic education. It is high time for them to do it without any further loss of time. It is also necessary for the present and the future institutions to be reasonable in fixing and collecting fees and poor students should be given scholarships adequately.

(VMK in Omeiat Journal, May 2015)