What is Religious Fundamentalism?
By Maulana Nadeem-ul-Wajedi
Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami, NewAgeIslam.com
Muslim maulvis and mullahs have been accused in general, for misleading and instigating the Muslims towards religious extremism and fanaticism or fundamentalism. According to critics, the present-day inhuman, immoral and barbaric activities are all due to this misguided fundamentalism.
One Professor Sahib has even characterized religious fundamentalism, rigidity and extremism as “the mother of all the evils.”
But the question arises: What is Religious Fundamentalism?
Is obedience of the teachings of Islam and submission to the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem’s commands and looking like a religious Muslim – internally and externally - religious fundamentalism?
Is this approach realistic that just by being a true follower of the Islamic religion, a person, transgressing all limits, starts performing inhuman activities?
The same scholar criticizes not only the Muslim preachers but also the scholars of other religions. He is very hostile to the verdict of the church which says that the lady who has performed “Karwa Chauth” according to the Hindu religious customs, has lost Christianity, hence she has no right to pray as a Christian, unless she seeks pardon. The scholar thinks that putting on a “Bindi” on the forehead, participating in the offering of “coconut”, touching the feet of a religious head and saying “Namaste” with folded hands are all the acts of human fraternity essential for communal harmony, and prohibiting from all these un-Islamic acts is religious fundamentalism, extremism and fanaticism.
In fact, the love of modernity has paralyzed their senses and intellect; if it were possible for them, these lovers of modernity would have invented a new religion where one would offer prayer (Salah) before an idol or perform circumambulation (Tawaf) of the Khana-e-Ka’bah with a “Qashqa” drawn on the forehead. They will be satisfied only when all the religions and faiths intermingle so much that no religious person is recognizable by his separate faith.
The teachings of the Muslim preachers such as to follow the rituals of religion, to abide by the decrees of the Almighty Allah Kareem, to follow the teachings of Islam are all false and fake ideas; rather the moderates think it is religious fundamentalism.
Such people must realize that the Muslim preachers are not to be blamed for all the above-mentioned rules; they should rather blame the “Quran” (Nauz-billah) which contains such verses (Ayats):
O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan). Verily, he is to you a plain enemy. (Al-Surah, Al-Baqarah/208)
The Muslims only are being addressed in this “Ayat”, not the Kafirs (disbelievers) that they should have faith in the absolute Oneness of Allah Kareem (Islamic monotheism) and accept Islam, but who are already within Islam—they are being told; you have faith in Islam but simply believing is not enough, you should fully fathom the depths of Islam.
In other words, the Quran says to the Muslims to fully adopt and implement Islamic rituals in their lives. We can comprehend it in a better way, if we see this “Ayat” in the perspective of its manifestation.
An eminent scholar A'llama ibn Jareer Tabri Rahmat-ul-llah alaih has mentioned the following occasion of appearance for this A'yat from Hazrat Akrama Rahmat-ul-llah alaih. When Hazrat Abdullah ibn Salam, Talba bin Yameen, Asad, Aseed, Sa'eed ibn U'mar and Qais accepted Islam, they wanted to follow the dual rules of both Islam and Judaism.
According to the Jews, the camel meat was prohibited but in Islam, it is allowed (Halal), so they wished to have faith in its being Halal, but to avoid eating it. Saturday was respected among Jews but not in Islam - it was neither respected nor was there any prohibition to do so.
They thought that in this way, they would abide by the rules and regulations of both the religions – Deen-e-Islam and Deen -e- Musavee. So they would perform the dual obedience of Almighty Allah Kareem.
This A’yat was revealed on that occasion. By this A’yat the wrong concept of the Jewish scholars was rejected and it was affirmed that the continuance of the practices of the previous faith is not acceptable in Islam – this is not Islam.
Islam is the name of complete submission and obedience to the orders of Almighty Allah Kareem.
Apparently, the intention of the Jewish scholars was positive which seemed to have more obedience to the Allah Kareem Almighty but in fact, it was surrender before their own conscience, deviation from the real faith and error in the deliverance of the orders which was never desired.
The present moderates too, want to practice Islam in the same way.
How can it be acceptable?
-that a Muslim woman puts on “Bindi” on her fore-head, though it is the religious practice of the Hindus.
-that a Muslim offers “Namaste” with folded hands although he is taught to say “Assalam-o-Alaikum”.
-that any Muslim touches the feet of any Hindu or a Muslim scholar which is prohibited in Islam.
According to the Muslim scholars, the meaning of the absolute adoption or entrance in Islam is nothing except the complete submission and acceptance of the Islamic instructions. It means the faith should be accepted as a whole without any addition or deletion.
Islam is a perfect way of life and this system should rule over all the areas of life i.e. the belief, the faith, prayers, practices, dealings, social affairs, business, cultivation, invention or manufacturing, rule of government and the kingdom etc. All activities related to life should be performed in the light of the orders of the Allah Kareem Almighty in the Quran Kareem.
Until and unless Islam is immersed internally and exposed externally in our personalities, and all its commands are obeyed perfectly, we can’t enter in Islam, in the true sense.
The complete obedience to Islam is a must, to be considered an ideal Muslim, in spite of following its internal compulsions, A’rkans and fulfilling all the conditions, we should avoid such external practices which are against its very soul and spirit. It means that whatever is not ordained in Islam should not be practiced and that which is shouldn’t be rejected.
Beware! There is a warning for such people who consider Islam – a collection of some prayers and belief, in their opinion, dealings, rights, social behaviour and Islamic education find no place in religion.
They think Religion Islam is confined only to the mosques, it has no role to play in our homes, in the markets and they are totally out of control in their personal lives.
Likewise beware those people also, who keep on adding something in Islam, inserting un-Islamic thought and practices in Islam in the name of communal harmony and religious fraternity. Such people are doing no good to the religion rather they are polluting the pious face of Islam.
An eminent Islamic thinker Hazrat Maulana Abul-Hassan Ali Nadvee (Rahmat-ul-llah alaih) said, gratified with the reference of the following Ayat:
“This point is worthy enough here, one should adopt Islam 100%, the Muslims also must be 100% and the Islam also should be 100%, neither any intercession nor any reservation among the Muslims nor in Islam.”
“According to the Almighty Allah Kareem‘s demand and Quran Kareem’s clear A’yat, the 100% Muslims should accept 100% Islamic directives, unlike other religions that the beliefs are taken and the rest is left or the prayers are taken and the rest of rules and regulations, rights and duties are ignored.
“But here 100% Islam is demanded, not a single percent should be left, there is no liberty or concession.
“ This is the time for your introspection. Do you follow Islamic rules and orders 100%? Do you follow all the social norms, communal and personal practices and customs according to Islam?”
(Reference: Monthly, Rawa-e-Haram, Hyderabad, Issue Nov. 2006)
The critics of religious fundamentalism must also see this A'yat.
"Our colour is the colour of the Almighty Allah Kareem (Islam), which colour can be better than that of the Almighty Allah Kareem?" (As-Surah-Al-Baqarah 138)
he distinguished Islamic scholars have pointed out two important things:
According to the first point, it is the denial to the custom of Nasarah; they used to bathe their new-born babies in a particular colour and considered it the perfect colour of Nasarah. This A'yat points out that this colour is temporary, its effect will be diminished very soon, the real colour is the colour of Islam: that is a guarantee of the internal and external piety and is everlasting too.
In other way, by considering the faith and religion as a colour, it is also highlighted that as colour is seen with the eyes, a Muslim should also be noticeable through his apparel, dealings and association, relations and habit; a Muslim should not be recognized by a Muslim name only, but also, by his face and look, accomplishment and character in concurrence with the basic rituals of Islam.
Courtesy: Hamara Samaj Urdu daily, Delhi, 24 Dec 2008
Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami, NewAgeIslam.com