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IN RETROSPECT

Islam and its Future Direction

A Strategy for the Furtherance of Islam

Sadiiq Sunbach

 

Islam is the Call to eternal progress, individual and communal, spiritual and social, political and economic.

It is in essence a Call to revolution. A revolution against Taghut. A revolution against wrong or evil behaviour.

There may be differences in the tactical application of any Strategy for Dawah in Papua New Guinea but surely the Strategy itself would be the same for PNG as in any country. Indeed, looking around the Muslim World, one can only be appalled at the standard of knowledge of Islam in every nation. A situation that by the Will of Allah must be addressed in the very near future so that all Muslims may have a clear concise plan that will enable the Muslims to inform every family in the world of the Way of Muhammad Rasulullah (s) the only way of behaviour that can bring tranquillity and lasting benefit to the entire world.

First let us look at the objectives of Islam. What is it that our Creator and Sustainer wishes of His creatures? The purpose of Creation?

Allah has given to mankind, and, among His Creation, only to mankind "Free Choice". Each individual is permitted to follow his own inclinations, his own desires - to take the Right Path, or to avoid the Right Path. Up the steep Road to Aqaba, towards perfection or down the easy and pleasant downward hill to Perdition and utter Loss. The choice is yours. The choice cannot be made unless one has an understanding of Islam.

As Mankind developed from the earliest times, as his observation of Nature as a cohesive whole improved, as his leisure to think increased, he was led to the realisation that the Spirits which he had thought were numerous, responsible for all the phenomena that effected his existence, were in fact One. That this One Supreme Spirit whose continuous renewing of Nature was proof of His Reality, His Eternity and His Awesome Power. From this it followed that the Supreme Spirit is Divine, the One Truth, the Creator and Sustainer of Nature itself. Then it dawned upon man that the reason that the Creator had created, was mankind itself - the only creature with intellect, the only creature so fashioned that his only limits or boundaries are his own imagination. Thus the living link of bond between the Supreme Spirit and mankind was forged. A link fashioned out of a limitless Love and Compassion.

A Love that if we are to reach the final link - that of eternal life in His Mansions - has to be reciprocated. Because the gulf between the Supreme Spirit and man is so vast and unimaginable this Love of the Divinity can only be practically manifested through love of mankind for his fellow men. As knowledge of Self, knowledge of Nature and eventually knowledge through Revelation impacted upon him, so the understanding grew that the Supreme Spirit had created all that He has created for a singular purpose through an overwhelming outpouring of Love and Understanding. A Love that has to be reciprocated through the Bond between the Creator and each individual.

The Deen of Islam is the translation of this concept of the Bond between Allah and each individual, into the practical every day activity of every Muslim. This it is that Allah expects each unit of mankind to expend his greatest efforts in demonstrating.

This is the duty of each of us. To change the world so that it is a better place when we leave it, than it was when we entered it. Mankind, the only creation with intelligence and abilities, has been given the responsibility of caring, looking after, the earth and all that is on it. Man is the Steward, the Caretaker, the Manager appointed by Allah (swt) whose duty it is to improve, make better the earth and all its inhabitants

If our love for our Creator is to be meaningful, our Stewardship to be fruitful then we need to divest ourselves of all greed and selfishness and work for the betterment - the Good of this world and the Good of the Hereafter - of all. The Way of Muhammad (s) - the Deen of Islam - is the translation of this conception of the Bond between Allah and each individual, into the practical every day activity of every Muslim who desires eternal life.

Al Quran al-Majid in 31:17 and 90:1 7 commands us to establish continuous worship or service to Allah; to command the practice of all that is Right and to eradicate all that is Evil while exhorting each other to Compassion. The establishment, as a way of life of the active, dynamic and meaningful worship of Allah as becomes His stewards on earth practising all that is right, preventing all that is Wrong, yet in a spirit of Compassion, is the seed from which springs the Spirit of Islam, the same Spirit with which the Prophet Muhammad (s), imbued the hearts of his Companions. Those Companions who launched a society in which those who dwelt therein lived full, natural lives in security, love, justice, beauty, and truth.

This is the aim of Islam on earth This is the objective for which we must aim. This is the community that we must found.

Indeed, Allah has told us, in 9:33 that the Religion of Truth has been sent so that it may prevail over all other beliefs, however much the deniers of the Truth may be adverse.

In addition, in 22:41 Allah says that Muslims are those who, when We give to their authority in the land, establish regular worship (i.e. pursue spiritual development), give regular charity (i.e. pursue economic well being), enjoin all that is right and forbid all that is wrong (i.e. pursue moral and ethical values).

Assuredly, this makes it quite clear that it is the duty of all Muslims, whatever their condition, to have as a main aim the establishment of an Islamic Environment

A true, free Society the Laws of which are rounded upon the Quran and the Sunnah, with the necessary authority to transform society into the ideal.

For this we have to strive and to show that we are worthy of it. We have to train for it and we have to practise it. It is not something to be rushed into. It is not something that fanatics, zealots or raging mobs can ever achieve. Without true belief in the hearts of the majority of Muslims, it cannot and should not happen.

In Makkah, Muhammad Rasulullah (s), was faced with a similar situation in which we find ourselves today surrounded by Taghut - corruption, falsehood, greed, ignorance, self-seeking, amorality, murder and banditry, every kind of vice. Within twenty odd years he had revolutionized not only Makkah but the whole of Arabia. In a further hundred years or so his followers had transformed the greater part of the civilised world into communities close to the ideal.

This is how he did it.

This is how we can do it, for, although we may not be prophets, Muhammad Rasulullah (s) is still with us - with us in the form of the Holy Quran. The Guidance of Allah was only revealed to the Prophet (s), little by little, over the 23 years of his mission. We have that fountain of wisdom available to us in its entirety, right now.

The Prophet (s) started in a very small way - first with his friends and kin, discussing the first Messages revealed to him - The verses (ayat) about seeking knowledge pondering deeply on that knowledge, and then passing it on to those in need.

Then he went to the community centre in the market place and began to explain in a quiet, courteous and logical manner, five subjects.

I. The Truth of the Reality of Allah The Omnipotent, The Omnipresent

He explained this through the demonstration of His Signs - Creation and all of Nature. He asked his listeners to look around them, to seek knowledge about this marvellous Creation; beautiful, infinitely complex, interrelated, yet so extraordinarily practical. Created by Allah the One, the Divine, the Infinite, for mankind as a trust

Iman, Belief, cannot be taught by lectures and books. Nor by exhortations nor threats. Belief comes from within from the innate consciousness that early man developed from his acute observation of Nature. The belief that can only be awakened through the method adopted by the Prophet. Through Knowledge: the Knowledge of Nature, the Knowledge of Revelation and the Knowledge of Self.

II. Gift of Love

That mankind, once he has come to believe in the Truth and in the Magnitude of the Gifts that Allah has given to him - Gifts of Love - has a responsibility to return that Love by demonstrating a similar love to all of mankind.

Living a life of consideration - helping, guiding, being one with Truth, Justice, Beauty and Understanding. Kindness to all except the unrepentant, for in the Quran 9:73 and 9:123 we learn: Deal rigorously with the unrepentant, the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Islam is severe, yet just, on wrongdoers it is logical that if the doers of that which is right are to be rewarded then the doers of wrong are to be punished. In Islam there is no compromise with evil. Compassion, yes, reform, yes, but compromise, no.

Belief makes it axiomatic that everything that the Muslim does is in a manner which is pleasing to Allah in, as it were, His Name, even though it may not be pleasing to the Muslim's family, his Boss, the Prime Minister, the Town Council or to any other man This is the meaning of Laa ilaaHa ill-Allah the Islamic slogan that is so hateful to the Kafirin whose pursuit is only worldly profits.

III. Allah made a Promise - a Contract, a Covenant - with each individual

In return for your doing your utmost for His Cause, for living your life in the way exemplified by Muhammad Rasulullah (s), fighting constantly against every temptation, every vice, every evil, you will be rewarded by Allah with eternal life. With joy and happiness, together with those you have truly loved on earth, marching on to ever higher levels or unimagined perfection towards the Ultimate Union with Reality.

IV. It is the Will of Allah that those who qualify for eternal life are only very few

The majority of mankind either deny the existence of God, or deny His Love for mankind, or are so concerned with their lives of this world, so busy with themselves, that they have banished God from their thoughts, their hearts and their actions.

There are others, the Munaafiqiin, the pretenders, who fearfully follow a path of blind formalism, mystical rites and traditions hoping thereby to gain some merit either from God, if He exists at all, or from their fellow cultists.

There are others who are hostile to Islam, who actively oppose it. These are those who are so graphically and frequently described in al-Quran al-Majid as the Kafirin, the deniers. Those who will come to know, to their horror, that their future is Jahannam, the Blazing Fire - an unendingly painful eclipse.

V. Formation of a community and a constitution

The Prophet performed one other monumental accomplishment. Having inculcated his followers with Belief, he moved away from Jahlliyyah to Yathrib (Madinah), where he united the immigrants with those local inhabitants who came to be known as the Ansar, the Helpers. There he formed a community, to each part of which, including those who were potentially hostile he gave a constitution - so that each knew where it stood.

The Prophet assuming the role of leader, teacher, law maker and judge, then gave out a series of rules of behaviour that all who accepted Islam were to follow. Thus there arose the first Islamic State, based upon the Sovereignty of Allah, the Creator; upon Justice, Truth, and Equality for all; upon Security against internal and external discord.

The rest is history. But it should be here emphasised that so effective was the Deen - the Way of Life - he taught, that, although he had first to fight a bloody war against those Powers who saw in Islam a threat to their Taghuti existence, that Deen spread throughout the whole civilised world.

The Prophet spoke Arabic his mother tongue, the language understood by the people of Arabia. His teachings and the Revelations he received were therefore fully understood by those people. Couched in clear and unmistakable language these Messages were immediately translated into action.

The Message today has to be transmitted in the language that the people understand in many countries, at this period of time, this would be simple, everyday English.

In the Muslim World there is nowhere to which we can point in pride and honesty saying: Come, look, see Islam in action, this is the type of society for which all men of good intent yearn. This is the community in which the Word of Allah is supreme.

This defect is the shame of the Muslims today We are unable to demonstrate that Islam is an effective way of life. Over the past 600 years we Muslims have failed Islam and have failed the Prophet. This must be realised.

The Way ahead for Islam - the Direction we must take, be it in PNG or anywhere in the Muslim World, is to start again. To start in the manner of the Prophet (s). To build as he built. To teach - as he taught - Belief in the Existence of Allah The Omnipotent, The Omnipresent, the Forgiving and the need to submit, wholly to Him and to Him alone.

To explain the meaning to mankind of that Existence, the duties it imposes on mankind. The need to do not what we would like to do, but what we ought to do, to help transform the entire world into a better place to live for its inhabitants ­ human, animal and vegetable.

To describe, as best as one may, the rewards promised to those who comply, and what happens to those who deny.

The teaching must be converted as early as possible, into action. Each Muslim must strive to transform first his own heart, then his family, then the Muslims around him, then his Community however small, into a mini-Islamic State. Into a society which is described in the Quran 3:110 You are indeed the most noble Community ever raised for the guidance of mankind - you who practise Justice and forbid indecencies you who Believe in Allah.

In the same way that the community of the Prophet in Yathrib grew and grew until it covered the earth, so will any community be built according to his model. Then, and only then can the Muslim raise up his head in pride, as the Companions of the Prophet took pride in having as their Protecting Friend, Allah The Compassionate, The Creator and Sustainer.

Finally, it is to the Muslimaat, the mothers of the next generation, to whom we must look if this road is to reach its destination. It is the mothers who teach their children at their most impressionable age. Teach them through word and example the behaviour expected of the children of Islam so that they may grow into true Mumineen.

O my dear brothers and sisters!

If you truly want to do on this earth that which your Creator wants you to do, so that one day you may be welcomed into His Home, then today you must build Islam in your heart, and in the hearts of those you love, and in those of your friends and neighbours, and, eventually, in your country and the Muslim Nation.

Ya Bunnaya! Aqimus salaat Wal a'mur bil ma'arufi wa nahya 'anil munkari wa sabit 'alaa maa 'asaabak innallazina min 'azm il 'umuur.


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