By Shaikh Abdul Majeed, Germany
Translated from Urdu by Syed Raihan Ahmad Nezami
The living standards of human beings, their customs and practices and social and religious values are parts of culture, which is found even in the backward regions of the world. The culture has two inherent parts – the external and the internal, the customs and the practices as well as art consist of the external parts whereas the values comprise of the internal part of the culture, the assessment of the goodness or the badness of something is considered the system of the values. This is in accordance with the reference to the statement of the prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), "I have been appointed for the realization of the high cultural values and ethics".
The civilization is the establishment of moral values. There is no objection, according to the religion presented by the prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) over the propagation of the opinion of different religions i.e. He has founded religious liberty among different communities. The slightest impression of the complete manifestation of the concept of the Almighty Allah Kareem in Islam was imagined in the earlier religions also. Although the Almighty Allah Kareem was regarded the mightiest creator of the universe too, even in all the previous religions, other religions than Islam were regional and their prophets were designated for those regions and nations
Thus the concept of national and regional God cropped up. The Almighty Allah Kareem was presented as the God of Israel in the ancient Ahd-e-Nana (Khurooj-5, Aayat-1, Khurooj-9, Aayat-1).
Islam is the only religion which has presented the concept of one universal God. The Quran-e-Kareem has introduced the Almighty Allah Kareem as the creator of the entire universe (Surah Al-Fatiha). Not only this, but Islam has also declared that the creator of all the worlds is the God of all the communities and He has sent the Messengers to all the communities (Surah Al-Fatiha, 35-25). Hence all the communities should be benefited by the blessings and the rewards of the Almighty Allah Kareem. This way Islam has created a mutual understanding of dignity and respect among all the communities because the Muslims consider the founders of all the religions as truthful.
Islam has pronounced to the Muslims of other faiths and religions: "Although Islam is the only favourite religion near the Almighty Allah Kareem, even then, if someone doesn't convert to Islam due to lack of knowledge or non-realization of Islam's true spirit and faith or may be any other reason – yet if he performs noble deeds having faith "Iman" in Almighty Allah Kareem and the doom's day "Aakhirat", He will not let his deeds go unrewarded, (2:63)
Is there any other religion which has proclaimed redemption so generously for the followers of all other religions?
The prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) pronounced openly with the instruction of the Almighty Allah Kareem: "I am the Messenger (Rasool) for you all" (Surah Al-Aaraf, 159). It was not a verbal announcement only; rather he put it into practice as there were various nationals like a Persian (Salman), a Negro (Bilal), a Qutabi (Maria) and an Israeli (Abdullah bin Salam) along with the Arabs among His Sahaba-e-Karam (close companions). He wrote convincing letters to the kings of "Faras", "Rome", "Habsha", and "Misr", and also invited them to join Islam (Seerat Ibn Husham), as no other leader of any religion except Islam ever invited to his religion – neither Eisa Maseeh nor anyone else.
The 14th century was the century of the beginning of the globalization when the means of transportation were developing at a revolutionary speed; the concept of freedom was initiated due to the outbreak of First World War. Presently, the concept of inter-dependence among the developing countries is rising speedily. No country can afford to segregate itself from the rest of the world and survive all alone, snapping the diplomatic relations and stopping mutual dialogues with other countries. As the universal education of Islam has the capacity of dealing and having mutual dialogues with the cultures and religions of other communities; so that an international culture, dealings and dialogues are inevitable and it is not against Islam. Basically, Islam is a tolerant religion which has taught the human beings tolerance and patience – violence and force can't be used to impose any matter upon anyone.
The Quran-e-Kareem teaches, "Don't use derogatory remarks for even the fake Gods of others, as they will do the same against your true God".
The propagation of a religion is being done every moment in any part of the world, then how is it possible that one's own religion should be regarded and publicized and others' religions should be condemned and prohibited? In Islam, religious freedom means the freedom of spirit and conscience; of course, it cannot put a ban on other religion's promotion, in this sense, the dealings and the dialogue with other religions are essential in Islam as it teaches to exchange one's points of view with sincerity. The more serious are the differences the more sincere, tolerant and patient approach is required to deal with the matter without using force anyway to get the points accepted or being converted to Islam. Hence, relating to such a tortuous teaching to Islam is a grave injustice with the peaceful religion.
Ironically enough, the religious fundamentalism of Islamic scholars has approved atrocity, force, terrorism and the killing of innocent people in the name of religion. As a result, the Taliban culture based on torture and atrocity is gaining strength.
There is no scope for Taliban culture in the age of globalization. This is absolutely unbearable, totally insupportable in the present world.
What are the causes of Islamic decline? Most scholars and historians who have studied the tragedy seem to agree that this was caused mainly by the fact that Muslims went away from modern education during the British rule over India. The Muslim tragedy is generally attributed to their lack of modern education under the guidance of ulema. Madrasas under the management of Ulema completely ignored modern education. The important subjects in the syllabus of Deoband were Arabi, Sirf, Naho, Mantique, Riyadhi, Balaghat, Fiqqah, Usool Fiqqah, kalam and Tafseer etc. The religious Madrasas had fully deprived their own and the future generations of the benefits of scholarly research, and modern learning. They considered it a grave danger for the Faith and Iman. They thought the external knowledge of the religion was enough and remained satisfied with it, ignoring the spiritual internal matters, practicing selfishness and traditionalism. There is no scope of arguments over the concept of religion and convention given by the orthodox elements. Before them the open-hearted frankness with arguments too is helpless.
Therefore, today, the Muslims are far away from the real spirit and the meaning of Jihad. The Ego is the greatest enemy of a man. That's why the Almighty Allah Kareem has repeatedly advised us to wage a war against our own Ego, i.e. Jihad-e-Nafs or Islah-e-Nafs for the whole life. After Jihad, the highest degree of significance is given to Tableegh-e-Islam that is called Jihad-e-Kabeerah. As the Faith of the Muslims was maligned, the Maulvis limited the Jihad in Islam to killing and war. But this is not right.
The word jihad is not only used for fighting in the Quran-e-Kareem rather it is used as "Majaz" which means "Jihad for Allah Kareem" i.e. the war in regard of religion for the sake of Allah. The prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) had fought all the wars in their defence, when the non-believers of the Makkah imposed war over the Muslims. The Almighty Allah Kareem ordered Jihad-bil-Saif to defend themselves. Even then all the wars fought by the prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) were defensive wars, not a single war was an aggressive one.
The enemies of the Islam aggressively propagate that Islam is a religion of terrorism and atrocity and Islam has been developed at the behest of sword. The same is dittoed by our Jihadi Mullahs confirming the accusations of the anti-Islamic forces. Unfortunately a wrong concept has been developed among the Muslims and they think that the meaning of Jihad is brutal killing whereas the logic and the reasons of Islam and the living instances and the manifestation of Allah Kareem did not require the use of violence and terror.
As the Almighty Allah Kareem says, "Stand against them with the Quran-e-Kareem and perform Jihad-e-Kabeera against the disbelievers with the Quranic logic and reasons. (Surah Al-Furqan: 53). Jihad-e-Kabeera (The propagation of the Quran-e-Kareem and the spreading of Islam) is written and verbal Jihad – what the Muslims and Islamic scholars have abandoned totally by adopting the fake faith of Jihad-e-Qatal.
Can the Maulavi Jihad which is being related to Islam, be accepted by human nature?
Islam has prohibited violence of any sort, then how can the promotion of Islam be at the mercy of sword and terror? Islam is a pious and convincing religion. no Islamic follower has ever attacked the founder of any other religion The Quran-e-Kareem is such an adorable book which teaches the significance of compromise and has faith over all the messengers of the Almighty Allah Kareem with reference to the following verse "O' Muslims, say, we have Faith upon all the Messengers sent to this world and do not discriminate among them by accepting some of them and rejecting others" (Surah Al-Imran: 185)
At last, it is fully exposed and clarified to us through the teaching of love, cooperation and help that neither the religion which does not proclaim general welfare of the human beings is a religion nor a human is a human being who does not possess the quality of fraternity-feeling. The Almighty Allah Kareem has made no discrimination among the human races. For example, He even, bestowed the exemplary human power and strength to the ancient races of Aryabhata which was awarded to the Arabs, the Persians, the Syrians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Europeans, and the Americans equally utilizing the benefits of the earth as the floor and being benefited from the sun, moon and numerous other stars. All races and the human beings are equally dependent upon natural forces like air, water, soil and fire etc. in the same way, the fruits and the food grains as well as herbs and shrubs etc. are for one and all without any discrimination. By this law of nature set by the Almighty Allah Kareem, we get a lesson of broad-mindedness and open-heartedness with morality. (Copied from Paigham-e-Sulah)
Anyway, getting closer to the vicinity of the Almighty Allah Kareem is obviously not possible unless the human beings maintain mutual religious tolerance and respect for other's faith and feelings. A religion can't be considered a true religion which does not promote reciprocal cooperation and teachings of tolerance and love.
But alas! In the present time, religious hatred and enmity is widespread and people are being provoked against one another to create communal tension and differences. The worst kind of terrorism, killing, destruction and suicide attacks are being related to Deen-e-Islam whereas, all the prophets of Islam, the founders of all other religions and above all the prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) have taught us to maintain peace and harmony, love and cooperation among all the fellow human beings in the world.
Translated from Urdu by Syed Raihan Ahmad Nezami, Najran, Saudi Arabia