Monday, December 06, 2004

Human Rights Declaration

In December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 30 articles of which focused on respect for human rights and basic personal freedoms. The unanimous adoption of the resolution was preceded by considerable debate; and the final proclamation of an individual’s personal, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights was understandably hailed as an exceptional historical achievement which would have everlasting repercussions for mankind. Interestingly, it took the United Nations a further 28 years to ratify the declaration into two human rights covenants, both of which helped to formalise the need for universal respect for personal and social freedoms. Yet, over 1400 years ago, mankind had witnessed a much more significant and, given the circumstances prevailing at that time, an extremely profound declaration of rights. The revelation of the Holy Quran , which for Muslims is the true and final word of God, bestowed and promoted personal and communal values which human society till then had not fully appreciated. This unique Book continues to guide and influence millions of faithful followers all over the world. It is an emphatic endorsement of human prerogatives, setting the basis for an equitable society in which both individual and communal rights are unequivocally guaranteed. But the Holy Quran is not simply a code of ethics or a series of directives which are to be taught and blindly obeyed. Its message is much more fundamental and its aims have a far deeper meaning, dealing essentially with a person’s inner self. The values it propagates are absolute and timeless, and the principles therein are not relative to any particular circumstance. Throughout the Holy Quran , however, the need to constantly reflect on the meaning, significance, relevance and practical application of its timeless message is repeatedly stressed. The fundamental covenants of the United Nations Declaration are, in fact, clearly enshrined in the Holy Quran , which with philosophical and practical justification proclaims the rights to life, liberty, personal security, fair trial, individual privacy, education and social equality. And more importantly, it propounds the freedom of movement, thought, religion, opinion and expression.The main doctrine of Islam is that the purpose of existence of man, as of all other creatures, is the submission to the inimitable laws of God. But whereas nature in general obeys God’s laws instinctively, man alone possesses the choice to comply or to disobey.The consequences of man’s action are judged by God, He being the creator and the real law maker in this universe. There is, however no compulsion in Islam, and man is encouraged to reason, to seek, to question and to judge. This naturally generates a moral struggle, manifested by man’s constant endeavour to comfort and satisfy his inner self, and then to look beyond himself to utilise his many potentialities for the sake of others. This is a far-reaching responsibility, which according to Islamic theology is a vital purpose of our existence. The Holy Quran leaves no doubt about its concern for the dignity of human beings. It encourages social service in terms of alleviating suffering, helping the needy and caring for the weak. Again, the aim is not simply showing mercy or doing a good deed because it is required of us to do so, but rather the integration of man’s many virtues towards making himself a balanced personality and in turn helping to create a fair society.

:: As explained
(17:70), Allah Almighty honours mankind; has given it superiority over other creatures and has granted it special favours.

:: On the other hand, all human beings are equal and everyone gets the rewards or otherwise for what he or she has done
(3:195). One of the more fundamental liberties, which man always strives for, is the right to free thought and expression. In proclaiming these liberties, however, the UN Declaration does state limits by recognising societal obligations, the rights of others and the concern for morality, public order and general welfare. These, of course, are not unreasonable restrictions. The Holy Quran also recognises the need for such social norms to be respected, but it remains singularly certain about the value it places on expression.

:: In Sura Al-Rahman
(55:4) the emphasis is clear. Man has been given intelligent speech; the powers to communicate; the capacity to comprehend and the ability to explain.

:: And the parable
(2:253) further amplifies this vital message by highlighting differences of opinion, and the right to differ.Clarity of expression and sanctity of thought are desirable virtues.

:: The Holy Quran itself is devoid of ambiguity and reveals
(12:1-2), that its verses are intended to make everything clear; that they are explicit and comprehensible, so that one may adopt them with reasoning.

By this same token, the person most dangerous in society is the hypocrite or the ‘Munafiq’, who expresses things quite differently from what he or she actually believes and whose actions are more likely to be tinged with ulterior selfish motives.On a more social level and within the realms of a just society, expressing oneself and conversing call for certain etiquette to be respected. The Holy Quran asks that there be no dubiety in speech; that the language used be common and understandable; that conversation remains free from falsehoods and artificiality, and that the speaker’s manner be reserved and restrained. These virtues are, of course, faultless !Islam seeks to establish a society in which everyone can walk freely and have complete physical, mental and spiritual freedom. The only restrictions would be those placed by the Divine Laws.If human beings earnestly make the effort to endorse, practice and propagate the rights, guidance, wisdom and values bestowed upon them, then society would continue to evolve and benefit from the boundless munificence which Allah Almighty has placed at our disposal. Let us then rededicate ourselves to reading about, understanding and practicing with more earnestness, the call for a fair and peaceful society which the Holy Quran guides us towards. The creation of a blissful and universal united nation may then become that much easier.

Concept Of Jehad In Islam

Quran's Perspective

The concept of Jihad in Islam has been grossly misunderstood, rather distorted. In the West, where it has been presented as barbarism, as aggressive use of brute force. The term, ‘militant Islam', which has been in vogue in the world Press recently, is a follow-up of this very approach to the fundamental concept of Islam and a continuation of the old Jihad' phobia of the non-Muslims.
The after-affects of the Crusades, which badly affected the relations between the Muslims and the Christians, still linger on. European Christians are still smarting under that defeat. They have, therefore, tried all sorts of means to eliminate the spirit of Jihad from amongst the Muslims, as it was this spirit that reduced their designs to dust. Through malicious propaganda campaigns, distortion on the true concept of Jihad and labeling of Muslims as barbarous killers and usurpers, they have depicted a horribly ugly picture of Islam in the eyes of the world. The significance of Jihad must, therefore, be elucidates in the light of the Holy Quran. ‘Jihad' means striving utmost to achieve an objective. The primary objective before the Muslims is establishment of a social order based on the Quranic fundamental principles. All efforts to that end fall with in the meaning of ‘Jihad'. Armed fight against formidable resistance by self-seeking people, which is called ‘Qatal' is also Jihad and has been allowed by the Quran. Otherwise, Islam is a ‘Deen' of peace and safety.

Three questions arise here: (1) Is Islam really a ‘Deen' of peace, justice, and tolerance? (2) Does it allow discriminate fighting against the enemy, or has it laid down certain checks and rules for it? (3) Under what circumstances did the Muslims fight against non-Muslims?

So for as the first question is concerned, the Holy Quran says, “There has come to you from Allah Almighty a light in the form of a perspicuous book where with Allah Almighty guides all who seek His good pleasure to a path of peace and safety.”
(5: 15-16). The very word ‘Islam' means peace. Mischief is prohibited in Islam. Thus it is said, “Do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order.” ( 7:56 ). The Quran refers to past nations who were destroyed for spreading mischief in the world. According to the Holy Quran, the very object of sending Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last messenger of God, was to eradicate mischief which had spread on account of human whims and wishes replacing the Divine laws brought by the previous messengers of God (30:41). Belief in God and mischief cannot go together. They are opposed to each other, (38:28).

A Muslim society cannot accommodate injustice. “O you who believe stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to God, even as against yourself, or your parents, or your kins, or whether it be (against) rich or poor for Allah Almighty can best protect both.”
(4:135). To do justice in a favorable and neutral atmosphere is meritorious but the real test comes when you have to do justice to people who are your enemies. The Quran says: “O you who believe, stand out firmly for God as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice.” (5:8). The Holy Quran has strongly prohibited killing anyone unless one is a murderer, or one who spreads mischief in the land.” ( 5:33 ). The Quran strongly prohibits plunder and arson whether the offender or the victim & a Muslim or a non-Muslim (2:205). In code of ethics, how can one expect the followers of the Quran to be cruel and usurpers. The vigorous enemy propaganda that Islam spread by Deent of sword springs from sheer prejudice. Compulsion in the matter of faith is contrary to the basic Quranic teachings. The objective before a Muslim is so to develop his personality in accordance with the Divine laws as to survive physical death and reach a higher evolutionary stage in the life hereafter.

Can an unwilling convert then fit in the Quranic society? The Quran says, “If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth; will you then compel mankind to believe against their will?
(10:99). Again it is said, “So the truth is from your Lord. Let him who will, believe, and let him, who will, reject it.” ( 18:29 ). The Holy Quran has forcefully declared: “Let there be no compulsion in ‘Deen'; truth stands out clear from error” (2:256).

The question then is, under what circumstances did Muslims fight against non-Muslims. Islam is a ‘Deen' which relates to a social organization encompassing all aspects of human life. In a State based on ‘Deen', the sovereignty is that of Allah Almighty or of the fundamental and immutable laws that lie safely inside the Holy Quran. The central authority of the State is only an instrument for the enforcement of laws.

Law & power

An organized political community cannot exist without power. According to the Holy Quran, the Book (law), the balance (justice) and the iron (power) hold a society together. Thus the law its enforcement with justice and the power to protect the rule of law are the basic pillars of a State organization under Divine guidance. The Quran says: “We sent afore time our messengers with clear signs an sent down with them the Book and the balance that men may stand forth in justice; an we sent down iron which is a great strength (for protection) as well as many other benefits for mankind.”
(57:25). A law becomes law in reality when it has been enforced which cannot be done without power. But power too should be used in accordance with law for otherwise it will reduce itself to barbarism.

QITAL: Qital is only a part of Jihad, which is constant struggle for the establishment and protection of ‘Deen'. It was first permitted to Muslims in self-defence only when the Quraish attacked Medina. Where the former had migrated to escape persecution by the Meccans to work for Islam in a more favorable environment”. To those against whom war is made permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged: and verily Allah Almighty is more powerful for their aid. (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes for no truthful cause except that they say, ‘Our Sustainer is Allah Almighty.” The Quran enjoins upon believers to protect non-believers living in an Islamic State and allow them the freedom of worship and protection of their places of worship. Are they not then entitled to protect themselves? The concept of religious freedom amongst non-Muslims is the freedom of worship and freedom to observe their rituals. But in Islam it is the right to determine a way of life or organize a political community based on the Quranic fundamentals. Anybody who comes in the way of this freedom, or interferes with this way of existence shall be resisted by the Muslims. The believers cannot exist in an atmosphere of slavery, though it may be called peaceful from the worldly point of view. Generally, a peaceful reign means the one where all sorts of crimes are forcibly eliminated. This is a positive act, but the Quran leads further. According to the Holy Quran, a real peace can exist only where there is subservience to Allah Almighty alone. Such is the only constructive reign. Subservience of an established truth to human whims and wishes is ‘Fasad' (disorder and confusion) in the Quranic terminology
(23:71). Accordingly, any conflict between State based on Divine fundamentals on the one hand and one based on man-made laws on the other is a conflict between truth and falsehood between order and confusion. Thus fighting is allowed against the forces of evil which interfere in the establishment of a social order based on truth. But believers are commanded only to raise arms in defense of ‘Deen' and are not allowed to transgress limits. Fighting is also allowed in the event of violation of international contracts. Fulfillment of contracts is one of the basic teachings of the Quran. (5:1, 17:34 , 16:91). The Muslims are bound to honour them as long as the other party is faithful to them. But a contract can be openly, not deceitfully, terminated of treachery on the part of the enemy is feared.As against this, the modern pattern of international relationship is based upon diplomacy, which is hailed as an art and a commendable act, though it is another name for deceit. Machiavellianism governs modern inter-State relations. Alliances are made only to be broken at will. But the Quran has laid down specific rules for breaking a treaty. It is ordained that a period of four months should be allowed by way of notice after denunciation of the treaty; that due protection be accorded in the intervening period; that the door to repentance and reunion with the people f God should always be left open; and that if all measures fail and war is bound to be undertaken, it must be pushed with the utmost vigour.

Defence of weak

The Quran also allows fighting for the help of the oppressed. “And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah Almighty and those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women and children whose cry is: ‘Our Nourisher! Rescue us from this town where people are oppressors and raise for us from thee one who will help.”
(4:75). Evil consorts evil The good have all the more reason for drawing together by not only living in mutual harmony, but also by being ready at all times to protect each other. Otherwise, the world would be given over to aggression by unscrupulous people and the good will fail in their duty to establish peace and strengthen the forces of truth and righteousness (8:73). To help the oppressed, wherever they are and whatever is their race, colour, language and faith, is the duty of the Muslims enjoined by Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty's plan is universal. He provides protection to all his creature. To protect one, He may have to check another. “And did not Allah Almighty check one set of people by means of another, the world would indeed be full of mischief: but Allah Almighty is full of bounty to all the worlds.” (2:251). Within the Islamic State itself, use of force is allowed, first, against those guilty of treason against the State ( 5:36 ); and, secondly against the hypocrites who, though given the privileges of association with goodness and piety, persist in wicked deeds. (66:9) The Rasool (peace be upon him) and his immediate successors acted upon these principles. It was because of their having strictly observed _______ is ethics that the Muslim rule of law spread over vast areas of the globe within a short span of time. But when the subsequent Muslim generations turned their back upon the teachings of the Quran, they were bound to reap what they had sown.

Source: Parvez-video

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Understanding Islam: Evolution & Quran's Perspective

Understanding Islam: Evolution & Quran's Perspective

Understanding Islam: Essence of Prayer

Understanding Islam: Essence of Prayer

Essence of Prayer

Meaning and essence of Prayers

Human beings have been praying for as long as humanity has existed. Rich or poor, literate or illiterate, the urge to pray is equally present in all. A well-known author has best described this as follows: "In wandering over the earth, you can find cities without walls, without science, without rulers, without palaces, without treasures, without money, without gymnasium or theatre, but a city without temples to gods, without prayer, oaths and prophecy, such a city no mortal has ever seen and will never see." [Humanity and Deity, p. 15, by W.M. Urban]

Since the urge to pray is universal in character and crosses racial, cultural and religious boundaries, we might wish to investigate it further by asking some important questions:
What is the essence of prayer? What is the meaning of prayer? What is the purpose of prayer? Does prayer have any effect on individuals who pray? If so, in what way? Does prayer have any effect on society? If so, in what way? Answers to the above questions are more important than the form of prayer itself. When we pray, what really happens to us? The prayer normally consists of reciting some words and possibly some body movements. This is true in all religions—only the forms may be different. Do the words have any effect on the individuals who pray? From the study of Psychology, we know that words have powerful effect on individuals as well as people. But for that to happen, it is necessary that words are clearly understood and their meaning and context fully comprehended. This ensures that the mind actively participates in the prayer also along with the body. Without this, the prayer will become a somatic routine, regardless of how much piety is attached to it from outside.

Thus we see that prayer has a very deep connection with the mind. But this mind-body connection, although made sincerely, should not be superficial that only produces a placebo effect. This has to be real. And a real connection can be established only when the power and the meaning of prayer activate the mind’s cognitive faculty. The so called doctors of religions, on the other hand, have perpetuated a myth which keeps people satisfied by performing the act of prayer without trying to establish this mental cognitive connection.

Religious Leaders and Prayer

Most religious leaders fool people into believing that the very act of prayer gives them plenty of rewards. That is, they exploit the placebo effect experienced by the people. But the placebo can never be a substitute for the real pill. As expected, very often, the promised rewards do not happen in this world. So, they brainwash people into believing that the rewards will come in the other world. Many religious institutions have exploited and continue to exploit this situation.
Religious leaders, of course, never admit that they are exploiting anybody. Instead, they represent themselves as the people of God, supposedly preaching God’s message to the masses. (Remember! The placebo looks exactly like the real pill. The moment people become aware of the truth, it looses its effect.)

As far as prayer is concerned, religious leaders are very particular to mention—and rightly so, that it occupies a central place in religion. But their emphasis is more on the act of prayer rather than its spirit and purpose. Performing the act of prayer is an end in itself to them. They do not emphasize the fact that prayer is a means to achieve some concrete goals in life. This aspect of prayer is normally overlooked and consequently the prayer becomes a soulless ritual done primarily to please God and for individual personal salvation in the hereafter. In other words, they do not want people to find out the true essence and meaning of prayer in order to revive it.

How can we Truly Revive Prayer

The question then is how to inject the soul back into the mummified body of our prayers. We will discuss the meaning of Aqeemus-Salaat (translated as "establish prayer") later but one thing is clear: This is not possible without a critical evaluation of our present approach to prayer.
The best way to start this evaluation is to pose fundamental questions pertaining to the importance of prayer in our way of life. This is what we have done earlier. Answers to these questions will, hopefully, provide the necessary knowledge that will help us in our quest to find the meaning and essence of prayer. To do that, however, we must, first of all, establish a frame of reference. Without this absolute frame of reference we won’t be able to find The Truth about prayer.

An Absolute Frame of Reference is Required

In order to deal with the above questions, we will have to find a permanent and an absolute reference that transcends the barriers of space, time and circumstance. This is because these questions are important to life here-and-now as well as to life in the hereafter. The only reference that can satisfy these conditions is a Book from God. [Books of humans, no matter how great, can never satisfy the above conditions.]

Earlier Books of God (including the Bible) no longer exist now in their original, unadulterated form. [Proponents of these books admit this.] The Qur’an, revealed to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), is the only Book of God which exists now exactly as it was revealed about 1400 years ago. This fact is borne by Muslims as well as non-Muslim scholars who have done an objective, historical or linguistic analysis of the Quran [See Maurice Bucaille’s excellent book, "The Bible, The Quran, and Science"]. Therefore, the Quran will be our frame of reference. But it might be helpful in our search for the essence and meaning of prayer if we first analyze the reasons why people pray.

Why Do We Pray

A simple, conventional answer may be that we pray because our forefathers have been praying and told us to pray, just as we tell our children to pray. Or that we pray because God has asked us to pray. But for many people who are sincerely searching for a more meaningful answer, this may not be satisfactory. First of all, God has given us freedom of choice for everything, including prayer. So we do not have to pray if we do not want to. In fact, in good times, most of us don’t. Only when some personal tragedy strikes (or when we reach old age) that many of us start praying regularly.
For example, consider a plane full of people about to crash. In this helpless situation, every one will be praying for life and survival. If the situation seems completely hopeless, and they realize that they are going to loose their lives, people will be praying for God’s mercy, forgiveness, His pleasure, and personal salvation in the hereafter. But nevertheless, everyone will be trying his/her best to survive until the very end.

This instinct of self-survival is inherent in every living being, including humans. Other beings have defense mechanisms given by God for their survival. But humans find themselves helpless and defenseless against many living beings and natural catastrophes. Naturally primitive man tried to pray to them, as he had not developed tools for self-defense. He prayed to various natural objects that threatened or benefited his survival. When human beings developed tools for self-defense and gradually advanced in science, they tended to drift away from religion. They found security in science (rather than prayer) because science gave them control over the forces of nature. [Priesthood considered this attitude as an attack on religion itself. This led to a continuous battle of religion with science. History bears ample testimony to this continuous struggle. A classic example of this is the battle of creation versus evolution. But this is a whole new topic.]

Thus we see that there seems to be no single reason as to why people pray. Everyone can come up with his or her own answer and feel satisfied. In fact, this is what we normally do. But as we mentioned before, the answer that transcends space, time, circumstance and human emotion can only come from God (which means His book, the Qur’an.). This brings us to the following question.

Why was the Quran Given to Us

So, let us ask: what does the Quran have to say about this question? But before that, we might ask a related question: why was the Quran sent to humanity?
Allah says that the Quran was sent to Prophet Muhammad (P) to lead humanity out of darkness and into light. "A Book which we have revealed unto you in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness into light"

Various examples can be given to explain this verse. Liberating people out of slavery into freedom is an example of leading them from darkness into light
(14:5). Prophet Moses’ (P) liberation of Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom, and Prophet Muhammad’s (P) migration to establish an independent Muslim (community) state in Medina are historical examples of leading mankind from darkness into light.

Removing ignorance, superstition and blind beliefs with knowledge, reason and understanding is another example. Allah Almighty also says that the Quran was sent to remove conflict and differences among human beings. "And We sent down the Book to you (O Muhammad (P)) for express purpose, that you should clear to them those things in which they differ"
So, the Quran removes differences and conflicts which divide human beings and eventually creates unity of mankind.

Prayer and the Quran

Prayer, being an integral part of the Quranic system, must lead towards the above goals. It is important to remember that prayer is neither independent nor mutually exclusive of the overall goal of the Qur’an. That means we can not separate it from the other commands of the Quran and practice it in isolation in the hope of getting rewards in the hereafter.

Let us explain this with some concrete albeit simple examples. Various parts of a car have to work together in a coordinated fashion for it to run properly. If we take out the wheels or the engine, it is not going to move. Similarly, if we separate the various parts of a computer and focus our attention on the individual components, the computer is not going to work until all the components are connected properly and synchronized. The same thing applies to the functioning of the human body. No human organ can survive outside the body. In a similar way, prayer can not survive outside the living body of the Qur’anic system driven by its laws. With this brief background we now come to the main question.

What Does Prayer Mean

The Arabic word Salaat is normally translated as Prayer in English. [It is translated as Namaaz in Urdu and Persian. "Namaaz" is an old Persian (Pahlavi) word which the Zoroastrians (fire worshippers) used for their prayer. It should be translated as Pooja in Hindi! However, no Muslim of the subcontinent would dare say that he is going to do Pooja but he feels perfectly satisfied and honored in saying that he is going to do Namaaz!!] Since no translation of the word "Salaat" could fully reflect its meaning, we have to first understand what Salaat means.

The root meaning of this word is "to follow someone closely." For example, in a horse race, if the second horse follows the first horse so closely that its head is always overlapping the first horse’s body, then it is called Al-Musalli, and the first horse is called Saabiqun. [Taj-al-‘Urus, vol. 10, page 213; Lisan-al-‘Arab, vol. 7, page 398.] Therefore, Salaat means to follow Allah closely. The only way we can follow Allah is to follow His Book, Al-Qur’an, to remain within the limits imposed by it, and never to transgress these limits. This implies that we have to establish a system so that we lead our lives according to the Code enshrined in the Qur’an. Establishment of this system is referred to as Aqeemus Salaat by the Qur’an. This is quite different from theocracy where religious leaders rule in the name of God using their own version of ‘shari’ah’ rather than the ‘Shari’ah of God’, the Qur’an. "Woe to those who write the book with their own hands and then say, "This is from Allah" -
2:79, so says the Quran about them.

What is the Essence of Prayer

The Quran uses the term Aqeemus Salaat quite often which is usually translated as "Establish Prayer." This translation does not fully convey the meaning of the original concept. The root of Aqeemu comes from ‘qaa-ma,’ which means to stand, to be balanced, to have a just, fair and long-term strategy for dealing with problems, and to be steadfast. Therefore, Aqeemus Salaat means "to establish Salaat" as a permanent and balanced system in which human beings can follow the Divine Code in all aspects of their lives individually, as well as collectively. This obviously requires an independent and sovereign land in which the Divine Code can be enforced as a living constitution. This is the essence of prayer and, in fact, an essential requirement for the establishment of Salaat. The Quran is very specific on this point when it says:"These are the people who, when they will have power in the land
(24:55), then they will establish Salaat…" (24:21). This is exactly the reason why Allama Iqbal suggested the idea of Pakistan, normally referred to as Pakistan ideology.

Is Salaat a Ritual?

We have seen that according to its root meaning, Salaat is a system and not a ritual. Prayer (performed five times a day) is only a component of Salaat. Within this system, prayer is a powerful and effective means of achieving the Quranic goals mentioned earlier. Outside the system, however, it becomes a soulless ritual repeated solely for getting rewards in the hereafter. The difference between prayer being part of a system and a ritual can better be explained by the following example.
Soldiers within an army perform many duties and responsibilities. They lead their lives according to the various codes (or shari’ah) prescribed by the army. Every aspect of their lives is governed by these codes and violators are dealt with according to the "shari’ah" of the army. Along with other important activities, the soldiers are required to perform daily drills as well. These drills have their own codes (e.g., dress, haircut, schedule etc.) and every soldier has to follow them. The soldiers are also required to obey the orders of their commander-in-charge. Thus the drill is a component of the system and within the army system it produces its desired result.

Now, suppose the soldiers go home and perform their drills in their home streets exactly as before. These drills are now being performed outside the army system and therefore would not produce the same results as before. Nevertheless, if the soldiers keep on performing their daily drills like this, then this will be called a ritual because these drills are being performed outside the command and control of the army system. The question then is how to establish this system of Salaat referred to by the Quran as Aqeemus Salaat.

How to Establish Salaat

According to the Qur’an, it can not be forced
(10:99) on an unwilling or ignorant people (10:100). First, the message has to be presented to them (62:2). Then, they have to be educated (2:151) so that they can understand this message (12:108). Only when a group of people have willingly accepted, understood, and been convinced of its truth with deep conviction (Iman) and want to lead their lives by this Divine Code, that this system of Salaat can be implemented. This is the process our Prophet (P) followed and therefore, is his Sunnah. The Prophet (P) and the Sahaba (R) did not pray for their personal salvation or just to please God. Their entire life was devoted to fulfilling the goal of establishing the system of Salaat in the society. ‘Aisha (R) is reported to have said that the Prophet (P) was a "walking Qur’an". This means that he was leading his life by the Qur’an. He also made certain that his companions were living by it as well. The Quranic way of life can not be led individually or alone. It must be done collectively as an Ummah under a system driven by the Divine Laws. The only way to do this (according to the Quran and shown by the Prophet (P)) is to replace the old system based on lifeless and soulless rituals with a new one based on the Quranic concept of Salaat.


Praying five times a day is only one part of Salaat. When we finish our prayers in the Masjid, we are not done with Salaat. It is not something to do and finish. It involves every aspect of life, keeping it within the guidelines of the Divine Code twenty-four hours a day. And this has to be done within a system under a central authority according to the Qur’an. This system was originally established by our Prophet (P) and the Sa’haba (R). Five times a day our prayers are meant to renew and reinforce our commitment to steadfastly enforce the system of Salaat ordered by Allah and practically shown to the humankind by the Prophet (P). This renewal boosts our psychological energy to come together and support each other towards the goals of the Qur’an. Salaat is the mechanism by which the Quran is implemented in mankind. This is how Allah’s laws can be engrained within us; this is how the Prophet (P) and the Sa’haba (R) found it so natural to follow the Qur’an, and the results they produced within 30 years speak for themselves. Needless to say, our prayers are not producing the same results although we have been praying for more than a thousand years in ever increasing numbers. What is the purpose of Salaat and its effect on individuals and the society? In what way does it transform the society in the long term? These will be discussed in a future article.

Further Reading

Evolution & Quran's Perspective

Evolution in the Light of the Quran

Ever since man evolved into a conscious being, he had constantly wondered about his origin. In his intellectual childhood, the question was answered by biblical teachings. In the west, uptil 19th century, Christian theology formed the basis of Theory of Creationism which states:­(1) that the World is of short duration, at the most 5757 years old.(2) that the World is fixed and not changing.(3) that the created species are constant, and do not evolve into other species.(4) that the Perfect world is explicable only by omnipotent and beneficent creator.(5) that the creation of man was special and apart from other created things.

This was the view held in the west till 1859 when the modern theory of evolution was introduced by Charles Darwin, in his work, titled OnThe Origin Of Species. There are two basic points to this theory;(a) evolution is taking place on earth (b) and it is driven by natural selection.

How did he arrive at these two components of evolution? is interesting to know. From 1835-36, Darwin went on a voyage in southAtlantic and Pacific, which provided ample opportunity for him, to observe various species on land. He was struck by variety withineach specie at a particular geographical area. This gave him the idea of lack of fixity of species; rather species are changing into one another. Then he observed humans cross breeding various animals selectively to improve species. He understood that in environment,ontrolled by man, selection is provided my man; but who provides the selection process, in the natural environment of species?

In 1838, Darwin was influenced by the essay on the Principle of population, anonymously published by Malthus, in which he stated theoor’s law; Only those able to produce, deserve to survive, those who lived of rich and produced nothing, all assistance to them muststop. This gave Darwin the idea of selection of the fittest by Nature, or survival of the fittest. This evolutionary work shocked people, whoso far knew only the Creationism. Darwin was joined by Ernest Heckle and T. H. Huxley, in his atheist theory and in declared that man musthave evolved from ape like ancestor, thus putting man in the phyllogenetic tree of animal kingdom. This was the end of anthropocentrism of bible and rise of atheism in England. Prior to this Germany and France had already rejected religion. Later on Karl Marx also used Darwin’s work, to promote communism and Lenin created scientific museum on Darwinism, to completely eliminateChristianity from People’s life.

Further work by Paleontologists, Molecular Biologists and Geneticists lead us to believe that every aspect of Phenotype is controlled byGenotype. At the cellular level the genes control every metabolic activity. The biochemical basis of the gene is Deoxyribonucleic Acid,in short DNA, which is confined in the nucleus and convey its orders through messenger RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) to the site of proteinsynthesis. Hundreds of biochemical reaction are taking place simultaneously, in the cytoplasm promoted by hundreds of enzymes in the same cytoplasm, and the beauty of the system is that one metabolic reaction does not interfere with other, all under control of DNA. There is a perfect order maintained by DNA, which is just four amino acids chain, arranged in a special sequence. Scientists pondered foryears, as to where did these four Amino Acids come from for the first time? In an attempt to answer this question, Dr. Miller in 1955 did an experiment in his lab. He took a mixture of methane, hydrogen, ammonia, steam and water, and passed the electric spark through this mixture and was able to demonstrate the formation of amino acids in the water. He postulates that in the primitive atmosphere of earth,these gases were present and when atmospheric gases were charged with thunderbolt, basic amino acids were produced in water,which by chance got arranged in sequence of DNA and 1st genetic code was born, and life started in the form of unicellular structure. Over billions of years, the unicellular structure changed into multi-cellular structures, plant kingdom, then animal kingdom evolved into invertebrates, vertebrates, insects, fishes, reptiles, birds, mammals and finally man. As you can see, there are some serious flaws and gaps, in this theory of evolution. First of all no body for sure knows if those gases werepresent in the atmosphere. Secondly, how could mere chance and accident, initiate such intricate, complex, sophisticated process of life, with perfect order in function and structure of the cell? Nay it can not be, in the words of Maurice Bucaille, “It tantamount to saying that the spontaneously forming steel particles from Iron ore and coal at high temperature, could have lead to the construction of Eiffel Tower, through a series of happy coincidences, that assembled the material in proper order.” Further, no body has ever demonstrated the conversion of one species into the other; and what is the proof that man is the descendant of big apes? It is purely a conjecture and theorization based on anatomical and physiological similarities between species. This is purely an attempt to humanize the animals and animalize the humans. Look at the order of evolution, first plants, why? Because every living being consumes Oxygen and releases CO2 and plants do the opposite, therefore Allah Almighty, according to His plan, first made arrangement for O2 by creating plant kingdom first.

Transformation of Man:

According to Science Mankind has undergone four transformation as listed below.
Australopithecus: These are the earliest ancestors who resembles today’s human beings, 1.5 meter in size, smaller than today’s average man. Cranial capacity is about 500 cubic centimeters, capable of thought and using tolls designed by himself, the quality that is not seen in apes. Time wise about 3.5 million years ago. Subsequently replaced by; Pithecanthropines: This is the second wave of hominids, estimated to have lived about 500,000 years ago, survived for about 350,000 years. Their size had grown between 1.58 cm to 1.78 meter. Cranial capacity had grown to 900 Cu. Cm. And intellectual power had grown, invention, creation, and reasoning have developed. Again replaced by; Neanderthals (Paleanthropians): is third wave of hominids appeared about 100,000 years ago and lived for 60,000 years. They were medium sized, perfectly bipedal, low forehead, rudimentary chin, cranial capacity reached 1300 cc. Lived in caves. They used to bury their dead with horns antlers and tools indicating some spirituality, replaced by;

Homo Sapiens: is today’s man; started about 40,000 years ago. Height increased to 1.80 cms, cranial capacity reached 1350 cc, skull became more spherical, ridge above the orbits disappeared, psychic activity much superior than predecessor. These are the four stages of human evolutions, where one group of people were replaced by subsequent group with progressive increase in the size of brain and increase in the intellectual capacity. The size of the brain of man 40, 000 year ago was as large as it is today, while mankind was primitive and did not even need that sized brain. Think about, why? Robert Ornstein raises this question in his book “Evolution of consciousness”. There is some purpose behind it, it is not created in vain. Why do we have a highly evolved visual system. Why creator gave us sophisticated hearing mechanism. Does nature have a future plan for us.

Quran and Evolution:

Origin of Life:Science tells us now that the life on earth originated from water. Even today while we are exploring the galaxies and actively searching for life on other planets, the 1st question we ask; is there any water on that planet to sustain life, because without water life is impossible.Quran has told us about this reality some 1400 years ago, before the discovery of science, said the same thing in
Surah Al Anbiya verse 30 (Out of their sheer ignorance some people take natural phenomena as deities or divinities. This is despite the fact the entire continuum of the universe has been created by Allah Almighty and remains fervently in action according to His given programme. At present various phenomena in the universe appear to them as functioning separately from one another, but) Do they not seriously understand that in the initial stages of creation all of them were one mass which We then parted, so that the various celestial bodies started floating in their own orbits (21:33. 36:40). (Take for example the planet earth. In its initial stages it separated from the original mass, just like a stone thrown out from a catapult - 79:30). Later (when the earth became ready to bear or produce living things) We started life from water. (All living things are created from a mixture of water - 24:45. And over this fountain of life Allah Almighty has kept His own control - 11:7). It is strange that even after all this explanation, they do not believe that only Allah Almighty wields absolute sovereignty over everything in the universe.

First living thing was algae in plant kingdom then animal kingdom started. Quran makes reference to plant kingdom in;
Surah Taha verse 53 He is the One Who has stored means of nourishment for all of you everywhere on this spacious earth. made and traced out ways for your movements. and sends down water from the sky and with which He grows various vegetation and plants .The Ayah also points out the sexual reproduction in plant kingdom, much before science discovered it. In Surah Raad verse 3 male and female fruit plants are described. Similarly reference is made to the water origin of animals in Surah Nur verse 45 And according to His Law, Allah Almighty has created every living being out of water (in that the process of life was initiated from water and its survival also depends on it - 21:30). Among living objects there are some which crawl on their bellies, some walk on two legs and some on four. Allah Almighty creates whatever He likes according to His Law of creation. He has set measures for everything; and He has absolute control over everything .
Creation Of Men : You just read Aya, that every living thing came out of water as a matter of fact 60% of human’s body is water. There are number of verses in
Quran that refer to the earthly origin of man, which the Science found later. Let us go through verses.
Allah Almighty caused you to grow from earth. Surah Hud verse 61 We fashioned you from soil. Surah Hajj verse 5

Allah Almighty is the one who fashioned you from clay.
Surah Al Anam verse 2
Allah Almighty the creation of man from clay. Surah As Sajdah verse 7
We fashioned them from sticky clay. Surah As Saffat verse 11
Allah Almighty (God) fashioned man from a clay, like pottery. Surah Ar Rahman verse 14
We fashioned man from the quintessence of clay. Surah Al Muminun verse 11

Quintessence means gist or extract of some thing. All the chemical components of human body can also be found in earth as well, that is what the aya implies. So, long before the science discovered earthly origin of man, Quran said it before.

Transformation of Man:

We have seen four waves of humans, transformed over a period of time, accepted in Science. Is there any thing in Quran about these transformations. Following verses refer to that: Ingratitude produces disorder in the land. This is illustrated by the story of Adam which has been narrated earlier (2/30-38). We created you and fashioned you and then We asked Malaika to bow before Adam, the representative of humanity. They all bowed, but Iblees did not ...
Surah Al Araf verse 11 The Rabb (Who according to His law of creation) took you through various evolutionary stages one after the other; and fashioned you by removing unnecessary elements, thereby creating excellent balance, proportion and symmetry in you.Thereafter, according to His Law of Mashiyyat, He gave you a suitable form.. Surah Al Infitar verse 7-8

This tussle occurs because We have bestowed man with the ability to nourish and develop his self and lead a balanced life in a dignified manner
Surah At Tin Verse 4 The word taqwiym means to organize something in planned way, implying therefore an order of progress that has been strictly defined in advance. Evolutionists use exactly the same expression while describing the transformation of man in evolution. Further evidence of transformation comes fromSurah Nuh Verse 14 How can you attain this state of life? For this you should ponder over the Divine Law of Creation, according to which you have passed through various evolutionary stages to attain human form." In this evolutionary process each step took you forward and made you better and superior. All this happened without your effort, knowledge or discretion, but the moment you started exercising your discretion, you went astray and started slipping downwards Surah Dahr verse 28, Allah Almighty refers to men as a group, and how groups of people were replaced. (They are very proud that they are mighty and strong; but they forget that). We have created them; and We have endowed strength and stability to their countenances. If they oppose Our Laws, then according to Our Law of Mashiyyat, it is not at all difficult for Us to wholly replace them with another nation Same thing is repeated in verse Surah Al Anam verse 133, about the groups of men.

If (Allah Almighty) wills He destroys you and in your place appoints whom He wills, as your successor, just as He brought your forth, from the descendants of other people.” These two ayah talk about the disappearance of certain comminutes and their replacement with others, according to the laws of Allah Almighty. Today’s human could very well be the result of these phenomena and events .

Have you ever wondered why so many verses are in Quran about origin of life in general and man is particular, while it is not even a book of Science? The reason for that is, the Quran had condemned the existing wrong opinion, at the time of its revelation, and then dictates the right opinion. Bible also had the description of origin of life and man, which is not only rejected by Science but also rejected by the second Vatican council in 1960s: “Saying that there are many things in bible which are proved wrong by the Science” I will end this paper with the statement, that Quran is the word of God and creation around us, is the work of Allah Almighty (God). If the source of both is same, then there can not be any discrepancy in the two, one has to confirm the other. One is theory and other is the practical, therefore nothing in Science is against Quran. As we have seen today science actually confirms what Quran had already said. Scientists are only discovering the laws of the creator, because everything in nature is caused, by secondary causes, regulated by the primary cause, the creator. To serve best his creator,human beings should read and abide Allah Almighty laws and their cause and effect. It is regretable that the task that was asigned to the Muslims that is being done by non Muslims, why Muslims are not on the fore-front, while they have the guidance of Quran in their hand. Earlier Muslims made scientific discoveries, as a matter of fact they are the pioneers of today’s Science. Karen Armstrong, the author of “Holy War”, says, “This fact has never been acknowledged in the west that all the scientific and technological development that we have today, we owe it to the Arabs and Muslims”. Therefore let the Muslim youth today, persevere to regain the lost position, and work for the betterment of mankind, which is the greatest Ibadat (always act according to the laws of Allah Almighty with 100% believe in its authority).

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Understanding Islam

Understanding Islam

Role of Zakat in Islam

Zakat an economic system of Islamic State:

The economics of zakah and its relevance to modern times is a hotly debated issue among both religious and liberal Muslims. This series of articles will attempt to explain the concept of zakah in the light of only the Quran and the faithful implementation of this concept by our Muhammad (pbuh). We will see how a similarly implemented system can solve the current economic problems of not just Muslims, but of the whole world. We will first examine the prevailing opinions of both religious and secular Muslims, as well as the prevailing institution of zakah in some so-called Muslim countries.

Religious Vs Secular Arguments

Imams and religious leaders emphasize the importance of zakah explaining that the economic problems of Muslims would be solved if we start practicing, in earnest, this much-neglected pillar of Islam. Most religious Muslims, on the other hand, conceive of zakah as charity. They are content with implementing the religious Shari'ah and Fiqh that was developed by religious leaders and jurists ( Imams and Fuqahaa ) more than a thousand years ago. Even with the reality of global economics, many religious Muslims not only do not understand the complexities and underlying dynamics of the Western economic system, but also do not deem it worthwhile or necessary to study and know it indepth. Although many religious Muslims express displeasure with the Western economic system, blaming it for sucking Muslims' wealth, they themselves do not shy away from trying to profit from it. Many Muslims are heavily involved with stocks, bonds, and other investment instruments offered by this purely capitalistic system, but they continue to expound the benefits of the Shari'ah. They hold conferences on Islamic economics in such bastions of capitalism as Harvard University, but fail to see the contradiction. They twist the Shari'ah to suit the interests of the rich and the powerful in the name of adaptation to “our times.” They give fatwas about halal (allowed), and haram (forbidden), identifying halal stocks on Wall Street as opposed to haram interest in banks. One wonders if they really fail to understand that the very interest, which they consider haram, is, in fact, the foundation of capitalism on which stands Wall Street. How can the branch of a tree be halal if its root is haram?
Secular Muslims, on the other hand, dismiss the idea that zakah has the potential to solve the complex economic problems of today's Muslims. They say the world has changed since the Muhammad's time and that the economic system he implemented is no longer applicable to modern times. They are impressed with the outer glitter of the West and dazzled by its economic achievement. In their opinion, Muslims will be better off economically and politically if they follow the Western system. They claim, in imitation of the West, that religion is a private affair between man and God; therefore, it should not meddle with politics or economics. This classical argument is put forth by secular Muslims who forget that Islam, as a way of life, must include every aspect of a Muslim's life: social, political, and economic. Secular Muslims cut the root of the Islamic tree but hold onto a few branches by calling themselves Muslims. They do not have the courage to leave Islam, but they want Islam to leave them – alone. Again, one wonders how they think a tree can be alive if its roots are cut off. Allah says in the Quran that we have to enter in Islam completely (2:85, 2:208). Therefore, there is no such thing as a partial Muslim or partial Islam. Secular Muslims also forget, or ignore, or fail to realize that it is, indeed, the Western system and its economic policies that have polarized the world into Haves and Have-nots; East and West; Developed and Under-developed; First and Third worlds.

In regard to the prevailing system in many so-called Muslim countries, strangely enough, zakah is based on the way it was set up by the Imams under the direction of the Abbasid kings. Since the Quran does not recognize the existence of kings and priests, they had no authority to develop a Shari'ah for the Muslim masses. Yet, today, we do have a Shari'ah in our hands, which we accept unquestioningly. How was this done? In the first place, the Shari'ah of the Abbasid kings and priests was sanctified by attributing it to the Muhammad (pbuh). Secondly, any critics of the time were silenced by the proverbial carrot and stick. This method was just as effective then, as it is now. Those who refused to bow to any form of pressure would be labeled as infidels and put to death; their writings would be destroyed. In this way, the kings and the priests established their version of the Shari'ah as the truth, to the extent that today, many religious Muslims find the following statements very strange: only the Quran is sufficient for us; we can implement true Islam based solely on the Quran; the prophet (pbuh) left only the written Quran to the Ummah; the Muhammad told Muslims to follow only the Quran; the Muhammad (pbuh) gradually abolished slavery; the companions of the Muhammad (pbuh) were true Mumins who did not deviate from the Quran and the true faith. Well-meaning religious Muslims will quickly quote Shari'ah to refute the above statements, which are perfectly true and found in the Quran. How ironic that the
Quran has been made to appear strange and the man-made Shari'ah made to look like the truth.

The Real Zakat – The First Universal Welfare System

Contrary to the beliefs of both religious and secular Muslims, the Muhammad's achievements were based not on ephemeral but on the permanent values of the Quran. He brought about the greatest revolution – even an economic and political miracle – in human history (see Michael Hart, THE 100, pages 3-10). In a very short time after the prophet migrated to Medina and implemented the system of salaah and zakah, the economic condition of the people changed. (For a detailed discussion about the system of salaah, see a two part article in MONITOR, pages 6-10, September/October 1998, and pages 7-12, December1998/January 1999).

The Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: If a single person were to sleep hungry in a town, then God's protection is lifted from such a town. [ Masnad Imam Ahmad ] This hadith emphasizes that no one (Muslim or non-Muslim) under this system should go hungry. Thus this zakah system created the first universal welfare system in human history. It also gradually transformed the existing slave-based economy to a universal welfare-based economy. By the end of the Muhammad's period, the entire Arabian Peninsula enjoyed economic as well as political security. This system reached its pinnacle during Khalifa ‘Umar's time (again, see Michael Hart, THE 100, pages 261-265), a time when, history tells us, hardly anyone was in need of charity. What has occurred then in the intervening years that the Muslim masses are suffering economic deprivation even though they live in areas with plenty of natural resources.

What Happened.......................

Muslims and non-Muslims alike ask the question: If the system implemented by our Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Sahabaa (r) was so good, why did it not continue? The answer is simple: we changed or abandoned the system implemented by the Muhammad. Instead of deciding matters with open consultation, as the Quran requires, the Ummayad and Abbasid dynastic rulers created a dictatorship under the guise of “ Shari‘iah ” and “ Ijma‘a ”. This was a ploy to fool the people. The rulers first acquired illegal political authority, and then delegated religious authority to Imams appointed by themselves. Thus they hijacked the train of Islam from the track of our Muhammad (pbuh) and his Sahabba (r) and put it on a new track called “ Shari‘ah .” Since then, a minority of the rich and powerful has been riding this train and entertaining their friends while exploiting the vast majority of Muslims along the way. Consequently, common Muslims have continued to live in poverty and to suffer intergenerational economic misery. Islam's system of zakah has had nothing to do with this sad state of affairs.

But The Sermons Go On .......

While the power hungry Muslim rulers, politicians, and autocrats exploit and plunder the God-given resources, the sermons about zakah go on in mosques and convention centers around the world. And while the effective control of Muslim land and its vast resources have slowly passed into enemy hands, the sermons exhorting ordinary, working-class Muslims to give zakah in the name of Islam and the Sunnah of the Muhammad (pbuh) continue. While thousands of children die from malnutrition and lack of medicine, religious Muslims spend millions of dollars on food and decorations to celebrate the departures and arrivals of Hajis (pilgrims) in hundreds of cities and towns around the world. Many religious and rich Muslims firmly believe that performing multiple Haj and Umra is the highway to heaven. While many of the Imams and religious leaders join in and participate in the celebrations of the rich by praising their religiosity, all the while they exhort the poor to be patient and accept their predetermined fate. One wonders why the borrowed Zorastrian concept of predetermination, which favors the rich and powerful and permanently disables the poor and the weak, was inserted and is now faithfully maintained in the books of Shari'ah .

Status Quo Vs Change ................

The big question now looms before us: when and how should we confront these defenders of the status quo? When will we implement the economic system of zakah so effectively demonstrated by our Muhammad (pbuh)? To answer these questions, it is essential that we differentiate between our current concept of zakah and the real meaning and significance of zakah.

Our Present Approach to Zakat

Today, we are taught that zakah is one of the pillars of Islam. zakah is generally translated as charity or poor-due and it is required to be distributed according to the details given in the Shari'ah . However, the descendents of the Muhammad (peace be upon him), generally known as “Syeds” in the Indian subcontinent, are forbidden to take zakah according to this Shari‘ah . No matter how poor, they are considered superior by birth compared to other Muslims due to their supposed relationship with the Muhammad (peace be upon him). Obviously, this is against our messenger Sunnah since he proclaimed justice, fairness, and equality for all, regardless of family or blood relationship.

The dispensation of zakah is regulated by different rates (called shariah) for different items (called nisaab ) whose details are given in books of hadith and Fiqh . Zakat on money is 2.5% of the savings over a period of one year according to the Shari'ah . There are many conditions attached to the giving and receiving of zakah. There is no uniformity even among the Sunnis in the restrictions, rates, and even the items of zakah.

In addition, there are different books of Fiqh and Shari'ah for different Muslim sects or schools of thought! Although Islamic scholars know about these differences in zakah among the Muslim sects, they rarely bring them out into the open, since it is in the interest of these scholars to keep the people ignorant. The differences in zakah among the four Sunni Imams are not as major as among the Sunni and Shi'ia Imams. For example, in Fiqh Jaffariah , there is no zakah on paper currency. So, for the followers of this Fiqh there is no Zakat on bank accounts. When General Zia-ul-Haq, the Pakistani military ruler instituted compulsory zakah in Pakistan, the Shi'ia ‘Ulema revolted against it and refused to abide by the government's zakah ordinance. Ultimately, the government excluded Shi'ias from the yearly bank account deductions. This led many Sunnis to declare themselves Shi'ias on their bank forms to avoid paying zakah on their bank accounts.

Religious Tricks to Avoid Zakat

Some Sunni jurists have been very creative in teaching people how to avoid paying zakah . The Kitab-ul-‘Heil or Book of Tricks teaches Muslims how to avoid zakah while technically fulfilling the requirements of the Sharia'h . In other words, how they can have their wine but not lose jannah: Rind ke rind rahe haath se Jannat na gayee.

Many religious Muslims, who are very particular about prayers, are quick to take advantage of the tricks specified in these books. Like the Jews fishing on the Sabbath, this is tantamount to playing games with the verses of Allah. The Quran reminds us: “ (So Allah's Rusul came to them but) They belied and ridiculed the Rusul and stuck to their positions, creating chaos in society. The result was that people who had established such an unjust society became victims of the circumstances created by themselves and suffered imbalances in their own lives (and were destroyed)”
(30:10). “ It is due to his arrogance that he makes fun of Our Laws. Hence just like the way they ridicule and make fun of the Divine Laws, they will be given humiliating punishment ” (45:9).

Conclusion ..................

Dear sisters and brothers! We must re-turn to the true spirit of the Quran; we must have the courage to follow the Islam of our Muhammad (pbuh), which requires real sacrifice and a drastic change in our lifestyles. We must go back to the Quran as the primary source, and not to the rulings of Islamic scholars from the time of the Ummayad and Abbasid rulers. In Part 2 of this article we will look at the real meaning and significance of zakah - the Arabic word zakah with its root z-k-w , which means growth and development, not charity or poor-due. Keeping this meaning in full view, zakah is supposed to ultimately lead to growth and development of all human beings; it is supposed to remove the need for charity or poor-due in the long term. We will see how zakah not only leads to the economic progress of individuals and all human beings, but to their spiritual progress as well. We will also note the difference between Sadaqaa and Zakat.

Muslim Decline

Today Muslims are living all over the globe. There are 220 million Arabs living in 22 countries, ruled by Arabs. 450 Million Muslims are living in 33 non Arab Muslim countries. The term Darul-Islam is applied to these independent Muslim countries. Muslims, who are living under the rule of non Muslims, such as in India, Europe, North America, Russia, and China, are about 330 Millions. This segment of Muslim population is known as Darul-Harb. Then there are Muslims who are refugees, roaming all over the world, numbering about 20 Million and they constitute 80 % of the world's refugee population. This is called Darul-Muhajireen. There was a time when Muslims were the masters of the earth, controller of the destiny, but today they are on a path of continuous decline. Their Condition is horrible, they face miserable poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, disease and sickness. There is a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and frustration among the Muslims. They are just living, for the sake of living, without any sense of direction. Neither the rulers, nor the intellectuals of this nation, have any plan, for this huge mass of suffering humanity. It is really painful to see them suffer, despite the best lands, resources, and vast number. It is very important for those, who are concerned about the future of the Ummah, to ponder about as to what is the cause of Muslim decline? What if anything can be done to end this misery?

Muslims had their own social, economic Judiciary and political system of Khilafat, that was established by Mohammed Rasoolullah and the system was further advanced by Kulfae Rashideen (rightly guided successor). After 40 years, the system of Khilafa was derailed, and changed into Kingship, though the rulers continued to call themselves Khalifas. In order to understand the causes of decline of Muslims, one has to know the fundamentals of Khilafa, as follows: -

1. The government is established according to the commandments of Quran, with Allah being the supreme and sovereign ruler of the state. Man cannot be the sovereign.

2. All power belongs to the system, not to the Ruler. Khalifa is merely an agency to conduct the affairs of the state, by the framework given in Quran. When people obey this system, they do not obey any person, they really obey Quran, the word of God.

3. The Khalifa is the central authority, on political as well as religious front. It is his responsibility to meet social, economic and political needs of the people. In Islam the religion and the state cannot be separated.

4. It is the responsibility of the Islamic system, to create the conditions within the state, where equal opportunity is provided for the Psychosocial development of every individual, on the Quranic line.

Political Decentralization :

Tauheed is the most essential element of Islam. It does not mean only the oneness of Allah. It also means one nation under one Allah. Mohammed Rasoolullah established the Islamic state according to Quran. He was the head of the state, performing the political and religious duties simultaneously. After his demise, it was the rightly guided Khalifah who followed the foot steps of the Rasool, with single central authority (markaziah). Subsequently the system was changed to the dictatorial system, where power belonged to the individual rulers, not to the system. Now these rulers were not interested in the religious affairs of people, they took control of the foreign affairs, treasury, defense and trade and left rituals of Salaat , Saum, Hajj, Zakat, marriage, divorce etc. for the Ulema. So the single centralized authority was divided into political and religious wings. The rulers invented the laws to serve their aims and goals and distanced themselves from the guiding principals of Quran. They did not care for immediate and delayed deleterious effects of decentralization of the Ummah.
In dictatorship, whosoever gets the power, does not want to give it up and likes to pass it on to his descendants. The end result of this phenomenon is struggle for power among the successors, and fragmentation of the elite group. This fragmentation does not stop at the upper-level but trickles down to the commoners, who start supporting one leader against the other. In this way the united power of the people, required for the defense of the country, gets misdirected against each other. When Ummayya became weak in this way, they were easily eliminated by Abbassids who in turn were decimated by Tatarees. This is the punishment, Muslims received, for sacrificing the Quranic principal of Tauheed. Allama Iqbal expressed it well: - There is death for the nations, in detachment from the center, There is life for the nations, in attachment with the center.

Religious Sectarianism :

The vacuum left by rulers on religious front was filled by Mullah. Majority of them were also insincere to the cause of Islam. Most were interested in strengthening their power and position. Their power grew parallel to the power of the rulers and they gradually evolved into institutions. The heads of these institutions became so powerful, that their ruling became the last word. They created followers and supporters, slowly personality worship started. As they say, two of a trade seldom agree; Interpersonal jealousy and struggle for power among the Mullahs, divided one nation into numerous sects. Through these so called Ulema, non Islamic, Greek Philosophy of Tassawwuff and Mysticism was introduced in Islam, that had reduced Muslims next to nothing. Today every Muslim proudly identifies himself with the titles of Sunni, Shia, Ahle-Hadith, Ahle- Fiqah, Ahle-Quran, Hanfi, Shafi, Malki, Hanbli, Dewbandi Brailwi so on and so forth. Sufis have not lagged behind, they too have hundreds of Silsilas. The rulers and Mullah have fragmented one Ummah into so many sects that there is hardly any hope of reunion in the near future.

Further ruler and Mullah have developed a reciprocal symbiotic relationship. Ruler gives a special status to the clergy, tax exempt status, to collect tax free money from people. The clergy on the other hand pays it back to the ruler, by justifying the illegitimate actions of the rulers with their fatwas. They brainwash the people not to react against the rulers, and ask them to accept the status quo. Poor is pacified and put to sleep with the statements like; “will of Allah, destiny fate, reward in life after death, hate for this world of materialism, person who suffers here is the dearest to Allah etc.” The purpose of this is to eliminate the spirit of struggle (Jihad) among the Muslims, so that the field can be left wide open to the infidels. To give a sample, look at the verses of Mirza Qadyyani, and pay attention to what he is preaching: - Now, forget my friends, the thought of Jihad In our time, for the sake of deen, haram is Jihad, Now the Masseeh has come, the Imam of Deen This is the end for all the battles for the Deen, Now the revelation has come down to say The fatwa of battle, war and Jihad is nay, He who calls for jihad, is the enemy of God, now Believer of jihad, is denier of my prophethood, now.

Psychological Change in Ummah:

Under the Islamic Khilafah, there is a complete freedom for people to express themselves. As a matter of fact, Islam gives the ultimate freedom because Quran forbids enslaving of the people, even the Rasool does not have the authority to subjugate people. Public is encouraged to surrender to the system not to the Khalifah. In dictatorial system, people do not have freedom to think and speak against the state. If anyone does dare to speak, he just disappears, never to be found. So people become fearful and unconcerned with affairs of state. As a result of this, people learn hypocrisy, and suffer from fear complex. This is why the nation of 1.2 billion people is facing the crisis of altruistic leadership. Muslims are suffering from sickness of hypocrisy for the same reason. They address each other as brother, but act contrary. For the same reason, Muslim states do not trust each other and are plagued with conflict after conflict, purposely created by outsiders, to keep them tangled in their internal disputes. Both rulers and Mullahs are unconcerned with the future of the nation, as long as they can maintain their respective seats of power. Majority of us do not even react with our tongues, leave alone the constructive action. Is this the practice of Islam? Is this the Muslim brotherhood? According to Quran internal conflicts are the AZABUN-ALEEM (severe punishment). Today Ummah is caught in a vicious cycle of internal division, conflict, and weakness. This cycle must be broken by following measures.


As I have discussed that the cause of Muslim fragmentation is because of the loss of a sacred central authority of Khalifah, we must make a sincere effort to re establish the Khilafah. It must be according to Quranic principals. Otherwise, it will be a failure. To achieve this goal is a Herculean task, but can be done, not impossible. Peaceful approach should be taken, through diplomacy, disciplined dialogue and tolerance. In order to succeed step number two must be taken.

As I have discussed that the cause of Muslim fragmentation is because of the loss of a sacred central authority of Khalifah, we must make a sincere effort to re establish the Khilafah. It must be according to Quranic principals. Otherwise, it will be a failure. To achieve this goal is a Herculean task, but can be done, not impossible. Peaceful approach should be taken, through diplomacy, disciplined dialogue and tolerance. In order to succeed step number two must be taken.

Bulk of the Muslims today are non Arabs, living outside the Arab lands, who neither speak nor understand the language of Quran and Prophet Mohammed. All Muslims must learn to read write and speak Arabic language for effective communication. If we can master English, French, Spanish and German, there is no excuse not to learn Arabic. This should be in addition to their other regional languages.

Present system of education is given to us by colonial powers, secular system of education, which orientates us towards Capitalistic mentality. It teaches us, myself first, while Islam wants us to meet the needs of others first. This system of education transplants Western mind on the Eastern shoulder. It must be replaced by Islamic system of education. Allama Iqbal's philosophy of Khudi must be reassessed and practically implemented in the new system of education. This will infuse the ruh of Islam among the younger generation, which will be more community orientated.
In Quranic Islam, there is no place for priesthood or Mullaism. The word Maulvi, Mulla, and Maulana is not used with the names of companions of prophet. This means These titles are the invention of Ajmi Islam. Priesthood is strong arm of Zoroastrianism, Iranians of that time brought with them Mullaism and introduced into the Quranic Islam, during Abbasi period. At present, If one carefully looks around, the newer sects are produced by these Maulvis, through the process of personality worship. Therefore, those madarsas that produce Mullas should be curtailed and gradually abolished, so that further divisions in the nation can be eliminated.

Muslim Economists and scholars should develop models of LARIBA (interest free) economy. Central Islamic bank and regional Islamic banks should be developed to finance these projects. Banking should be part of LARIBA Islamic economy.

In order to present Muslim point of view, entry into the media is of utmost importance. Through this vehicle all negativism against Islam should be challenged. TV, Radio, Magazine and Newspapers must be established. Movies have a very powerful impact on people. So far Muslims have neglected this powerful mean of impacting the public. This should be persued.

The word Hajj is from Hujjat, which means to discuss and find the solution to the problems. At this annual event, must discuss the problems and find the solutions for the problems facing the Ummah. Annual program must be spelled out in front of the Ummah and and in the subsequent year the goals achieved throughout the year should be presented at the next Hajj. This is the place where unified policy of the Muslim world must be charted out. It should become United Nations of Islam. This should be in addition to present rituals of Hajj.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Understanding Islam

Understanding Islam

What is Islam

It is a word choosen for a system in which society accept the decree of God and practically implement those laws in thier routine life. Islam is a system which contain every single attribute essential for human personality building, wether it is on individual basis or as a nation. Islam covers every aspect of human life either social, financial, political and matrimonial.The core aim of Islam teaching is to produce such a personality which come's on to the true universal standards of human. All those people who followed Quran outlines will be address as Muslim and the society which they establish's known as Islamic society.

Difference Between Religion and System

Yes, Islam is a system. Islam is not a ‘religion’ in the ordinary sense of the word. Religion is the English equivalent for the Arabic word Mazhah, which does not occur even once in the whole of the Holy Quran. The Quran has, instead, used the word Ad-deen for Islam, which means a particular way of life.

Effect of Islam teachings on human personality

>>Islam upbring's human personality and turn it into a flawless character. It is a beauty of true Quranic teachings which evolves a man into human. Here it is necessary to describe the difference between man & human. Man is a biological nam which has been given to a specie, but human is a character of man only entitled when fulfills the universal standards set by God Almighty.
Religion in this sense came about at an early stage in human development when man was still ignorant of the "how and why" of the working of the universe or the threatening forces of nature lightning, clouds, floods, fire, disease, etc. and quite unable to hold his own against them. In that stage man trembled at the sight of everything more powerful than himself and in trying to appease it, made obeisance in complete surrender and submission.

>>Islam give's protection from negativity, disaster and other core disturbances.

>>Islam is a ladder by which one can reaches the apex of success and growth with safety and confidence.

>>Islam teach's protection give's protection. It establish's peace and harmony for every one so they can live with peace, love and with out any kind of fear.

>>Islam asked every one to abide with Quran laws.Accept those laws with firm belief in it.

>>Islam message is for entire mankind that they must follow the path which is balanced and justful.
It further said that donot invest your time on futile things and shun from shameful activities.

>>Islam teach's that when you will do the things it must be according to Allah Almighty Almighty ( God ) decree. That is a time when your efforts, actions will produce fertile results which not only benefits an individual but enriche's entire humanity and it is an aim of Quranic teachings that every one will get nourishment.

>>The results will be reflected from your actions and due to the effect of those reflection the human personality will be in a state of balance and shinning.

refrence: Islam challenge to religions