The following article was sourced from “AVOCAT MASJID SOUVENIR BROCHURE ’79/80” : The articles author is N.M. Ghany then President General of Tackveeyatul Islamic Association Incorporated.
The very word society means the more cultivated portion of any community in its social relations and influences. It is in this context that I am dealing with the subject matter above. People either by design or by a series of events acquire an ordered way of life which one could assume is the foundation upon which the society thrives. In the case of the Muslims the foundation was laid fourteen hundred years (1400) ago by the Holy Quran.
From social harmony to social fragmentation
Chapter 155, Sura XXIII Vs. 51-92 condensed by Moulana Abdullah Yusuf Ali translates as follows.
“The Brotherhood of truth is one in all ages: It is narrow men who create sects. Let them not think that goods of this world can shield them from Evil or its consequences. God’s truth and His Messenger can be hnown to all: For he in His Mercy, has giuen us faculties and Judgment, if we would but use them. The Message is not new: all creation proclaims it: High aboue all is Lord of Glory Supreme!”
From the above one must conclude that Allah Pak has provided us with good things, that our community should be one community, that this community became divided into sects, Allah Pak reminds them, that is, the divided ones, if they are prosperous ones that Allah Pak is helping them, but they know not that the pleasures are only ephemeral, that they do not perceive right from wrong.
Are we going to seize the opportunities that present themselves to the Muslims today? Are we going to try to see beyond the range of our vision, or are we going to be bogged down by the infiltration of new fatwah’s innovations which have recently come to our shores through men who are not scholars of Islamic theology, but mortals who feel that they could do good by simply reading a few text of the Holy Qnran and the Hadis and made rash pronouncements which have torn the Muslims apart?
For well nigh one hundred and thirty-five years (135) we have practised a way of life which was structured according to the Indian Muslim Ulemas. These practices in no way impinged on the five fundamentals of Islam or the seven Articles of faith. The Muslims were content and happy with the reading of their Holy Quran on joyous occasions or for thanks-giving and in times of sadness or grief. They were happy with the chanting of beautiful songs in praise of the Prophet Mohammed “upon whom be peace”. They took pleasure in their Muslim marriages. They rejoiced when they heard the call to prayer by the Muezzin. They were happier still when they realised that the month of Ramadan was approaching and looked forward to fasting which climaxed with the glorious day of Eid. With the passing of Eid-Ul-Fitr, they then looked forward to Eid-Ul-Azha the day of sacrifice in memory of Abraham and his son Ishmael.
So for the Muslims throughout the year there was a social struture that kept them interested, alert and alive not only to their personal needs but to a social life in which they wanted to share in every possible way with their brothers and sisters in all the festivities, but most important of all were the stricter regimentation of an orderly life through Salaat and Meditation in their daily lives.
This article was extracted from Avocat Masjid Souvenir Brochure ’79/80
Foreign missionaries dividing society
Lo and behold there was an influx within recent times of missionaries from Africa, Middle East and India. Instead of uniting our Muslim people into a harmonious whole, they formed splinter groups which did tremendous damage to our Muslim people: not that we never had fragmentation-but this was to a small extent. Today, a feeling of independence has taken hold of small groups in every village and hamlet and in the urban areas. I have heard it said repeatedly by leaders of these small jamaats that they are independent and want to remain that way. I have reminded them unceasingly that they are only destroying the Muslims by having this false feeling of independence. In my view the very word independence is an anachronism and a danger to human society. Is there anyone or anything that is wholly independent on this earth? We are dependent on each other and on everything. Cohesion of ideas and the channeling of our thoughts in harmony tempered with tolerance is the only true answer to a well regulated Islamic life.
Our failure to realise that Allah Pak has granted to us the facility to think and to use our minds has brought degradation to us as individuals and as a community. Our teachers and parents have taught us that our presence I on this earth is an examination for a better or lesser form of life in the great beyond. If we do good and live a righteous life then we will surely he blessed by Allah and rewarded with an eternally happy life. This could he achieved by following the code of life handed to us through the Holy Quran, a Quran that is resilient and allows us the freedom to think and to act according to the dictates of our conscience.
Life on this earth would have been dull and uninteresting if our Quran was complete in every detail and had regimented us all into a specific mode and manner of life. We would not have had to look into the future for a goal, a destiny, a day of judgment when we would be either rewarded or punished. A lesser form of life surely awaits us if we infringe upon the tenets of Al Quran and do not use our faculties for ourselves and our fellowmen.
The intelligent mind listens to everybody but decides for itself that which it must accept and that which it should reject, but how many there are whose minds are weak, who do not care to develop their ability to think properly? These are the gullible ones who accept innovations without thinking.
A call for understanding our time and context
What our Muslim people must try to understand is that we live in a cosmopolitan society, strongly influenced by the American and European way of life, we are not citizens of India or Pakistan nor are we domiciled in any of the Arab Countries. The evil forces of the Western society are taking hold of our boys and girls. This is where the true danger lies. What can we do to mitigate this? To destroy the fabric of the existing society is fraught with too many dangers, instead we ought to enhance that which our forefathers gave us once this does not go against the teachings of the Quran and the recognized Hadiths.
The question now is, how do these affect us as Muslims? All the major religions had their genesis at a time when there was fear, poverty and disease. The enlightening processes which have gone on since then, have given us new insights which go against the traditional dogma of our major religions. Should not our beliefs and thoughts change in harmony with existing trend?
Customs and tradition play a great part in our lives as Muslims, and many of us could still he regarded as being dogmatic and rather puritanical in our outlooks and habits. It is curious that most of us who have grown up in the Western society have remained unaffected, uninfluenced and continue to adhere to traditions of a former age. But if we are happy and united then let us live that way.
In the Muslim world, changes are taking place but not sufficiently rapidly to keep pace with times. Material improvements have been incorporated. Our family life does not permit independence and free expression of our younger folk. We must not become mere puppets of God as this is contrast to the teachings of the Holy Quran. We must know oursleves and the world in which we live.
I would like to warn that whatever changes we make, these must be done carefully and slowly, as most people are reluctant to accept rapid and drastic changes.
N. M. GHANY
Tackveeyatul Islamic Association Incorporated