By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
‘Where should I put my hand while performing the Salah (Islamic way of prayer)’? ‘Should I Wiggle my index finger? ‘Should I say ‘Ameen’ loudly or in the heart?’ These are the minor questions that bother most of the common and less informed Muslims.
‘Should I take out my daughter from the “satanic-secular” education of the convent school? ‘Is the US and Israel conspiring to destroy Islam’? ‘Should I wage holy war against the infidels, as the Imam of our mosque calls for it’? These are the major questions that trouble the increasing masses of Muslims.
The Quran is the most widely read book in the world, but it is also the book which is read without understanding, as 80% of Muslims do not understand the language of the Quran, that is, Arabic. Hence the majority of the Muslim world has little knowledge of the Quran or their knowledge of it comes from a Maulana, whose way of thinking, to say the least, is very confined and individualistic.
Many of us do not know what to do and whom to listen. The Muslim world does not like to read, so what do we do? - we take a shortcut, we go to second hand information and that is, to listen to and follow the sayings of a Maulana, especially from our sect, i.e., if I am a Wahabi/Hanafi then I will go to a Wahabi/Hanafi mosque on Fridays and listen to and follow his interpretation of Islam. This in turn creates more division.
I see this all around me, that a Maleki will not offer Namaz in a mosque whose Imam is a Shafai. I usually hear that he is a “hari paggad” (he wears a green cap) or “aadha Musalman” (half-Muslim) because his moustache is not properly trimmed. For every different school of thought, ‘the other’ school of thought is a half-Muslim, if not a Mushrik. No wonder the condition of the Muslim world is very poor.
There is division all around us. Muslims, as a whole, are trying to divide the world into ‘Us- Muslims’ and ‘them-non-Muslims’ and even among Muslims there are subdivisions. This leads to confusion among the general, less informed Muslims. They, like most of us, continue to follow that school of thought which our fathers used to follow. There is no questioning, no doubting, and no thinking.
Islam promotes unity, not just among Muslims but also between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The Quran says in Ch 3 Verse 103:
“And hold firmly to the rope of God all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of God upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make clear to you His verses that you may be guided?”
We all need to hold to the “rope of God”. According to me, it means following the commandments of God, sent by Him in various revelations from time to time and it also means, to follow the teachings of the prophets, who were sent to every nation.
All the revelations sent by God preach only one basic, common thing and that is to believe in one God and do deeds of righteousness to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
I believe that the way out to all these divisions and hatred is to read his or her religious book with understanding. There is no major world religion on this earth that does not have sects in it. Sects arose because the followers of the religion deviated from the true, humble and divine path of the religion and for political, monetary and military purposes, created sects for their own benefit. The burden lay on the relatively less educated men, who found themselves in a haze after this division, especially more so because some of the sects demand strong, urgent actions from their “group of believers”.
One of them is the Saudi Wahhabis. Because of their huge amount of resources, they propagate their hate especially on the Fridays. They produce and distribute books for free, filled with conspiracies and anger towards ‘them’ i.e., the west and the non-Muslims. A special favourite Maulana of the mosque where I usually go said a few weeks ago that convent schools try to convert Muslim students by deriding Islam and praising Christ (pbuh). He said that concerned and “true Muslim” parents must take off their children from these “Shaitani schools” (satanic schools). What bothers me the most is that in the mosque, children also come, along with their father, they (innocent children), too listen to vitriolic statements. This will corrupt their way of thinking.
There is also a mosque in the main road of where I live and the loudspeaker is turned towards the road. Almost every week I hear sentences like “humare huqooq ko dabaya ja raha hai” (our rights are being thwarted) and one that filled me with great horror and that sentence made me hate the Imam- “hum jis desh me rehte hain us desh me mangne se nahi balki cheenne se milta hai” (in India, you don’t get by asking, you get by snatching). And all these things the people listen outside and one can easily see the disgust in their faces towards Muslims. In the same mosque, on Fridays, due to increasing numbers, many believers pray on the road and they cover exactly half the road. This leads to traffic jam.
I am totally against this; if religion disturbs secular affairs then the religion should be moulded to suit the secular. But I see the exact opposite of it. The modern, secular is changed to suit the old, religious. This makes me ask: ‘Are we really progressing?’
With the present totally corrupt, I see no light at the end of the tunnel. With the common Muslims, increasingly turning towards radicalism, I see only grim future and virulent distancing of people, with each group claiming to be the heirs of Heaven; I want no part of the afterlife Heaven when the present life is turning no less than Hell.