DO WE REALLY WANT ISLAM?
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Most High, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon His beloved messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions. Ameen.
All our problems and controversies today come down, in final analysis, to one MAJOR question: DO WE REALLY WANT ISLAM? Or do we want just an ineffective continuation of the customs and habits inherited from our past? Our whole future, indeed, depends on our factual answer to this question.
The reason why we want Islam today differs from person to person. Some of us want Islam because it was the familiar background of our childhood and adolescence. Others want Islam because their friends and relatives belong to the Muslim community. In short, most of us want Islam because it was just our habit and custom.
What then should be our reasons for our WANT of Islam? We should 'want' Islam because
- we are convinced that its teachings, being a result of Divine Revelation, are supremely in conformity with reason;
- its teachings correspond to the true order of Nature, however hidden the ultimate details of that order may be to our human imperfect knowledge;
- its teachings are in full accord with man's dignity and the natural demands of both his spirit and body.
When we have committed ourselves with such a conviction, Islam becomes not only a desirable but, indeed, the only possible way of life without any 'IFS' and 'BUTS'. Islam then becomes a fully self-contained system, to which nothing can be added by way of fundamentals and from which nothing can be subtracted without destroying the whole structure. Thus, the desire to live within that system because no other form of life can offer a similar satisfaction is, in fact, the real 'want' of Islam. We must ensure that such a conviction and attitude exists within ourselves.
Islam does not content itself with spiritual teachings alone but insists on a definite mode of individual behaviour and on the observance of certain social principles. Thus, if we want Islam in the above-mentioned sense, we must commit ourselves to a definite scheme of behaviour and action. In such a commitment, there is no room for a choice in adopting some Islamic teachings, which personal inclinations might approve of, and overlooking other Islamic teachings, which seem to clash with our self-interests. For a Believer (Mu'min) such behaviour is condemned by Allah, the Most High, as He says:
WHENEVER ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER HAVE DECIDED A MATTER, IT IS NOT FOR A BELIEVING MAN OR A BELIEVING WOMAN TO CLAIM FREEDOM OF CHOICE INSOFAR AS THEY THEMSELVES ARE CONCERNED: FOR HE WHO (THUS) REBELS AGAINST ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER HAS ALREADY, MOST OBVIOUSLY, GONE ASTRAY. (Surah A1-Ahzaab: 36)
Thus, in the last mentioned injunction of the Glorious QurŽan overleaf, a strict warning is given to those who let their views, attitude and course of actions to be determined by their personal interests and predilections, and not by the QurŽan and Ahaadith.
A truly Islamic outlook of life is that in which every moral obligation, every decision as to the practical course of our life, is the outcome of a voluntarily complete whole-hearted submission to the guidance of Allah as manifest in the Glorious QurŽan and the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) whom Allah addresses thus:
NAY, BY THY SUSTAINER! THEY ARE NOT BELIEVERS (MU'MINOON) UNLESS THEY MAKE YOU (0 PROPHET) A JUDGE OF WHAT IS IN DISPUTE AMONG THEMSELVES, AND FIND IN THEMSELVES NO DISLIKE OF WHAT YOU HAVE DECIDED, AND SUBMIT THEMSELVES WITH FULL SUBMISSION.
(Surah An-Nisaa: 65)
This injunction lays down, in an unequivocal manner, the obligation of every Muslim to submit to the ordinances which the Holy Prophet, under Divine Inspiration, promulgated with a view to exemplify the message of the QurŽan and enabling the BELIEVERS to apply it to actual situations. These ordinances constitute what is described as the SUNNAH (literally 'the way') of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). These ordinances have, whenever authenticated beyond any possibility of doubt, full legal force side by side with the Glorious QurŽan.
Are we then justified, in the light of the above injunctions cited, to accept Western and other religious views and imitate their way of life? Our degeneration begins as soon as we give up living in accordance with the ideology of Islam. Calling ourselves Muslims and performing certain Islamic rituals is not synonymous with leading an Islamic way of life. A Muslim who willingly surrenders to the imitation of Western and other religious views of life can never consider Islamic Culture as a moral obligation. The reason is quite simple, i.e. because many views of life in Islam are irreconcilably opposed to Western and other religious outlook.
Now let us assess ourselves. Where do we stand? Do we really 'want' Islam on these terms? These are the only terms that Islam offers. And nothing rests upon us except to convey the message. May Allah, the Most High, guide us all onto the Straight Path. Ameen.
Abdul Haq Abdul Qadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN,
4320 South Africa