By Asad Mufti
(Translated from Urdu by Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam)
9 June 2012
A Holland magazine recently reproduced a Wall Street Journal report with its editorial analysis. The said report claims that Muslims of the world are not citizens of any particular country. They are busy in conspiracies against their own countries of residence. According to the journal, Muslims are brothers of other Muslims wherever they are. The report says that countries must think twice before giving citizenship to any Muslim because even though he may be following customs and rituals of that country as a citizen, one day he will certainly come under the influence of militant teachings of Islam and follow this guideline of his religious book, Quran, “O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies: they are but allies of one another. (Surah: 5:51)
It is a harsh reality that certain Ulema have, knowingly or unknowingly, done great damage to Islam. These Ulema are presenting Islam to non-Muslims, western countries and America as an intolerant and confrontational religion. We must bring basic changes in this attitude by reforming ourselves.
There are certain Ulema who do not understand “Islam” and claim to be close to Allah. They say there is no national identity in Islam. They say Islam is for the whole world. No one is an Arab or a non-Arab, a Kashmiri, Sindhi or a Baloch. Citizen of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Germany, France, England or of any other nation have no individual or community religion. All are Muslim Ummah. No Muslim is bound to follow any national law. Muslims are only bound to follow God’s command.
These are the people who have instilled the fear of the Day of Judgement in the hearts of Muslim Ummah to misguide them.
We, whose individual lives are in no way guided by Islam, are ourselves responsible in presenting Islam’s wrong image by claiming that “Jews and Christians are our enemies”. Not only common Muslims but the educated class and so called Ulema and Masha’aikh are also responsible for this misrepresentation of Islam. In the given situation it will be out of place to request Ulema to reform themselves. These Ulema, Masha’aikh are quite unknown to the scholastic values.
Our downfall has started since the time these “thinkers of Islam” have started valuing high bands of their pyjamas (oonche Paainche) instead of high morals. With these high band pyjamas above their ankles and net caps they are getting close to Deen, as they claim, and far from the world.
Respect for other religions and pluralism is the most favoured subjects of discussion these days. Islam has also ordered explicitly to respect other religions.
A funeral was passing, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stood on his place with respect. Sahaba Keram (ra) informed him that it is a funeral of a Jew. Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Was he not a human being? As far as I am concerned it is enough to respect a man because he is a human being.”
We are living in 21st century and this century is different from other centuries in every respect. Requirements of this century are different. All of us, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus and people belonging to all other religions or even atheists are working for mutual cooperation. This very contemporary awareness demands all of us, specially the Muslims, not to be each other’s enemy, even in the face of differences that we may be having. Whatever religion we may appear to be following, our greatest fault is that we do not really worship God; we worship our religion and use it for spreading enmity among ourselves. It is Muslims’ duty to have special love for Christians and Jewish faith and have a feeling of brotherhood. Time has come we accept that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never differentiated among Prophet Moses (pbuh), Prophet Jesus Christ (pbuh) or any other prophet.
I am of the view that the followers of Islam do not reach the soul of Islam and this is the reason why Islam has got divided into two parts; one group is that of people who follow rituals and customs of the religion and the other ‘the Ulema and scholars’ who boast of having basic knowledge of religion.
According to me main reason of the misunderstandings between both the parties, Christian, Jews and Muslims, is the ignorance of their respective religions. We have either not tried to study them in their originality or we have studied them within our own mental framework. Hence we, the Muslims could not understand them.
As far as my knowledge goes no book during the last one thousand years has been written by any Muslim after Al-Beruni wrote “Al-Hind” which carries the objective that I too have behind writing this article, i.e., ‘interfaith dialogue. Al-Beruni clearly advocated the necessity of interfaith dialogue in his preface. (Al-Beruni ka Hindustan, P: 5)
There is no doubt that a large group of Muslims nursing militant and anti-democracy thoughts live in European countries. This cannot be ascribed to a reaction against the anti-Muslim European groups. In any case, one wrongdoing cannot be a justification of another wrong action. Discussions between Jews, Christians and Muslims are the need of the hour and it has already been started by the western countries.
“Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies” and “our religion teaches us to behave like brothers with the followers of other faith and to forgive the enemies” are two points of view which are discussed in interfaith discussions. Which one of the above two points is right? I request the readers to decide for themselves. Developed western countries and undeveloped Muslim countries both are in front of us and in this light; anyone can reach a correct judgement. For that matter, there is no point in not accepting that we are not going to get another chance of solving our problems with Jews and Christians if we did not befriend them today. As we all know, there is no tomorrow.
Kis Saleeque se Mata’ae Hosh Hum Khote Rahe
Gard Chehre per Jami Thi, Aaina Dhote Rahe
(How beautifully did we keep losing our intellect,
Dust was there on the face and we kept washing the Mirror)
Asad Mufti is an Amsterdam-based independent Urdu journalist.
Source: Urdu Daily Hindustan Express, New Delhi, June 9, 2012