By Asad Mufti
(Translated from Urdu by Ghulam Rasool, New Age Islam)
July 5, 2012
Recently, one of my friends living in London came back from Sri Lanka and told me that Muslims in Sri Lanka enjoy all liberties including freedom of religion. They are comparatively more prosperous and affluent than other communities and they perform all their religious duties with absolute freedom. They even enjoy higher political positions as compared to other minorities. Many of them hold key ministries. A Muslim had even been selected as a foreign minister in Sri Lanka.
Since Muslims enjoy all religious liberties there, it was amazing to note that they do not use loud speaker for their Adhan (prayer call). When asked, I was told that they themselves did not ask for it. Had they sought permission, they would have easily been allowed to do so, but they have never demanded it because they thought other communities might also start demanding the government for the same. As for Adhan, it takes less than ten minutes to finish it, but the chants, hymns and songs of other religions go on for many long hours. I wish all Muslims had developed the same maturity and far-sightedness so as to achieve much gain in return for the little loss.
The best way to revive Islam is to purge it of self-made beliefs, narrow approaches and short-sightedness. The revival of Islam does not imply merely presenting it in a simple form, rather it means unveiling its obscure meanings in a clearer manner such as the meanings of Jihad and kasrat-e-Izdiwaj (Polygamy). My friend cited example of Adhan, saying that the Muadhdhin (the one who recites prayer call) does nothing except spreading disorder in the society. In other words, he openly announces that he cannot accept any worldly regime. Neither he follows any government rule, nor does he abide by any law or court. The majority of his fellow beings seem to him equal to little microorganisms, germs. He denies every ritual, rite and custom and does not accept anyone’s rights, honour or power. He is reluctant to follow anyone on this earth except Allah.
If the West happens to know the meaning of Adhan, it would openly come out to launch a war against Muslims whether they gear up to fight or not. It would be just as the saying goes on in Urdu: “Aa bail! mujhe maar” (Come on bull! kill me ) The same turbulent situation had instilled fear in Muslims before Pakistan came into existence. The partition of India put Islam, two-nation theory and the nuclear assets at stake and then the whole Pakistan was surrounded by threats just as Baluchistan is today.
In Italy, a leading Muslim organization has said that Islam is at stake in Europe, because an Italian court has issued a judgment to expel an Imam of a masjid immediately. A UK Imam is in detention since January and the court is going to introduce different charges against him next week. Several French Imams have been deported as the French government has imposed an order on all Imams to learn and speak French language fluently and study law, culture and history of France. The same rules have been implemented in my country, Holland, where it is compulsory for all Imams to learn Dutch language and get familiar with culture and civilization of the country.
Muslims view all the above initiatives as alarming developments and call them war against Islam launched in the West. But in reality, these notions are completely baseless. No doubt, attacks on madrasas and masjids are an outcome of Islamophobia, but these are the handiworks of a handful of misguided individuals, not of any government. I suggest all Muslims pay warm welcome to the initiatives taken by France, Belgium, Italy and Holland, because these are bound to help Islam in Europe to cope with the circumstances and keep pace with the times. Muslim imams are generally unacquainted with the local languages and culture of western countries, then how do we expect the West to become familiar with peaceful Islam?
Today Muslims constitute a large part of Western population, and they are responsible enough to represent the true version of Islam and disseminate its peaceful and harmonious teachings to the maximum extent. Therefore, we should rise above the negativity about the French and Dutch initiatives just as most Dutch Muslims have welcomed them with open arms. As for the arrest and deportation of a few Imams in Europe, we should not forget that such Imams propagating hatred and violence will be arrested in Muslim countries as well. Those people who constantly encourage violence are merely serving their vested interests, they may claim to believe in their religion but they do not follow it properly.
Asad Mufti is an independent Urdu journalist based in Amsterdam, Holland
Source: The Urdu Daily Jung, Pakistan, June 24, 2012