By Abdul Rasool Syed
November 1, 2019
ISLAM, by virtue of its inviting message of peaceful co-existence, fraternity, equality and altruism, is not only admired by its adherents but also appeals to many a people belonging to the other faiths. Non-Muslim intelligentsia too, deeply touched by the ever-convincing teachings of Islam, could not help penning panegyrics pertaining to the pristine beauty of Islam.
Concerning rapid proliferation of Islam, anti-Islam forces advance their self-concocted narrative that it was spread through the power of sword; it is altogether an unfounded charge on Islam that is not only negated by its’ followers but also by the enlightened and impartial non-Muslim scholars. In this regard, James A. Michener, a great intellectual, writes in the Reader’s Digest, under the title Islam: The Misunderstood Religion: “No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam. The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts that idea, and the Quran is explicit in support of freedom of conscience”. De Lay O’Leany also writes in “Islam at Crossroads”, London, 1923, p. 8: “History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fanatically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated”.
Mahatma Gandhi, for instance, writes in Young Indian, 1924: “I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet (SAW), the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his absolute trust in God and his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every trouble.” Additionally, American poet, critic and author Colonel Donald S. Rockwell, deeply impressed by the teachings of Islam, notes: “The simplicity of Islam, the powerful appeal and the compelling atmosphere of its mosques, the earnestness of its faithful followers, the confidence inspiring realization of millions throughout the world who answer the five daily calls to prayer, these factors attracted me from the first.
But after I had determined to become a follower of Islam, I found many deeper reasons for confirming my decision. The mellow concept of life — fruit of the combined course of action and contemplation, the wise counsel, the admonitions to charity and mercy of the Prophet (SAW), the broad humanitarianism, the pioneer declaration of women’s rights, these and other factors of the teachings of the Man of Makkah, were to me among the first obvious evidence of a practical religion so tersely and so aptly epitomized in the cryptic words of the Holy Prophet (SAW), : ‘Trust in God and tie your camel.’
He gave us a religious system of normal action, not blind faith in the protection of an unseen force in spite of our own neglect, but confidence that if we do all things rightly and to the best of our ability, we may trust in what comes as the Will of God… When I stood in the inspiring mosques of Istanbul, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Algiers, Tangier, Fez and other cities, I was conscious of a powerful reaction — the potent uplift of Islam’s simple appeal to the sense of higher things, unaided by elaborate trappings, ornamentation, figures, pictures, music and ceremonial ritual. The mosque is a place of quiet contemplation and self-effacement in the greater reality of the true God. The democracy of Islam has always appealed to me. Potentate and pauper have the same rights on the floor of the mosque on their knees in humble worship. There are no rented pews or special reserved seats”.
Furthermore, it is also worth mentioning here that it is absolutely wrong to judge Islam by seeing the deplorable condition of Muslims and the blatant malpractices that pervade the Muslim world. Islamic teachings are diametrically opposed to what so many Muslims nowadays practise. Therefore, the only way to fathom the veracity of Islam is to find out about its noble teachings, as enshrined in the Holy Quran and the Prophetic traditions.
The famous popular singer, Cat Stevens, who later embraced Islam once observed: “It will be wrong to judge Islam in the light of the behavior of some bad Muslims who are always shown on the media. It is like judging a car as a bad one if the driver is drunk and he bangs it into a wall.” Inter alia, what is generally said about Islam in the media and in many academic circles also give a wrong idea about it.
As Maurice Bucaille put it: “The totally erroneous statements made about Islam in the West are sometimes the result of ignorance and sometimes of systematic denigration; the most serious of all the untruths told about it are, however, those dealing with facts, for while mistaken opinions are excusable, the presentation of facts running contrary to reality is not. It is disturbing to read blatant untruths in eminently respectable works written by authors who a priori are highly qualified”. To encapsulate, Islam is, indubitably, the most appealing religion of the world. We, the followers of this divine faith must adhere to its teachings and act upon them religiously and thereby make our life as a source of inspiration for the people of other faiths.
Abdul Rasool Syed is a Legal practitioner-cum-columnist based in Quetta Balochistan.
Original Headline: Touched by beauty of Islam
Source: The Pak Observer