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Islamic Society ( 22 March 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Growing Religiosity among Muslims Does Not Guarantee Growing Piety And Moral Virtues Among Muslims

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

23 March 2022

Without Creating Pious Individuals, A Truly Islamic Society Cannot Be Built

Main Points:

1.    Social and moral vices are rampant in Muslim societies.

2.    Bribery, food adulteration and dishonesty is rampant in Muslim society.

3.    Starvation claims many lives in Muslim countries.


It has been observed that in comparison to the 60s and 70s, religiosity among Muslims has grown. Today more men and women follow religious practices like five times prayers than fifty years ago. Young men in their teens or twenties offer five times prayers, a recent phenomenon. Young students growing beard and going to school or college wearing scull caps are also more visible these days. Earlier the Muslim youth were not obsessed with their religious identity.

But during the last twenty years, religiosity has grown among the common Muslims, particularly among the young boys and girls. The Pew survey results also show this. Today more young men attend five times prayers and it is not a phenomenon seen in India or Pakistan only but in Western countries as well.

But despite the growth in religiosity among the Muslims, growth in moral virtues and internal piety is not seen among Muslims proportionately. On the contrary, we see that moral vices and social evils have seen a rise in Muslim society. Hatred, jealousy, avarice, dishonesty, bribery, adultery, use of intoxicants like wine and drugs is rampant and gambling is rampant in Muslim societies.

The holy prophet pbuh stressed on character building along with the spread of the Quranic message of Tauheed (monotheism) during the initial years of his Prophethood. He taught the believers the principles of a disciplined life and to be good citizens of the society. He taught believers not to take or give bribe, not to indulge in food adulteration, not to hurt the neighbours, not to take undue pride, not to treat people rudely and to endure hardships with equanimity. He also preached self-restraint and tolerance.

But the Muslim society of the modern world is plagued with all the social evils and despite the claim of the Muslims to be the best religious community, they suffer from almost all the social and moral vices other communities suffer from. The prediction of the holy prophet pbuh that in future the Muslims will commit all the sins the Jews would.

Hadhrat Bayazid Bustami was a great Sufi. A Jew revered him and often visited him and spent hours with him. After Hadhrat Bayazid Bustami expired, the Jew would visit his grave and sit at the grave for hours. Seeing his reverence and love for the great sufi, the Muslims of the area once said to him," When you have so much love and reverence for him, why don 't you adopt his religion Islam."?

The Jew replied, “The Islam he practised is not my cup of tea, and the Islam you Muslims follow is not better than mine?”

Even those who are religious in theory and practice are a small percent of the total Muslim population. Majority of the Muslims are not aware of the Quranic injunctions on dishonesty, food adulteration, mannerisms, treatment of neighbours and travellers, treatment of elders and younger people and on social evils like gambling, drug addiction etc.

The Quran and hadiths have numerous verses and hadiths forbidding addiction to intoxicants like wine and opium and other drugs.

But the habit of drinking wine is common in Muslim neighbourhoods. Many uneducated Muslim youth are drug addicts as drugs are easily available to them. This not only causes domestic violence but also the family is ruined financially. A drunkard or drug addict does not respect his family members or people of the neighbourhood.

Food adulteration is another social vice that is widespread among Muslims as well as non-Muslim society. The Muslims did not set an example by not indulge in food adulteration as they argue that food adulteration is entrenched in the entire system. But in Muslim minority society they can abstain from it as much as possible but it is seen that they are equal participants in this vice without heeding their religious injunctions.

Good treatment of the neighbours is another duty of the Muslims they ignore. A Muslim cannot enjoy the blessings of God and his prophet pbuh unless he does not show care and sympathy for his neighbours whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. During festivals they play music on high decibel causing trouble to both Muslim neighbours.

Feeding the poor of the neighbourhood is a collective duty of Muslims ordained in the Quran and the Muslims have been warned of grave punishment in the Hereafter for ignoring this injunction. But this injunction is largely ignored by even pious Muslims. In the Muslim society many poor people starve but there is no provision for feeding the hungry. A few years ago, a young man in Pakistan snatched a pizza from a rich man who had come out with a pizza from a pizza shop. He was hungry for two days and so could not suppress his hunger any more when he saw pizza in the man's hand. He snatched it and tried to run away. But the rich man raised an alarm and the passers-by caught him and beat him to death.

Actually, the responsibility to feed the hungry man lied with both the rich man who had bought the pizza and with those passers-by who beat the hungry man to death. But instead of realising their crime, they punished the victim.

During the lockdown it was observed that on the one hand, a section of people helped the helpless people and on the other hand, a section of people sold medicines and oxygen cylinders at much higher prices. The Muslims were involved with non-Muslims in this immoral practice. Particularly in Pakistan, black marketing and hording medicines, and essential food items was rampant. A drug which was rumoured to be effective in Covid-19 was sold in black market at Rs 1.25 lakh though its actual price was only Rs ten thousand. Sugar and petroleum products were also horded and black-marketed during that period.

These social and moral vices are widespread in Muslim societies today though Muslims are more religious today. The Muslim organisations pressurise the governments of Muslim majority countries to impose Shariah rule and the heads of governments claim that they will establish a caliphate or a state like the state of Madina. They don’t realise that without creating pious and righteous individuals, a state like Madina or a caliphate like the caliphate of rightly guided Caliphs cannot be established.


S. Arshad is a columnist with


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