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ماہنامہ منہاج القرآن > جولائی 2011 ء > Islam & Issue of Identity


ماہنامہ منہاج القرآن : جولائی 2011 ء
> ماہنامہ منہاج القرآن > جولائی 2011 ء > Islam & Issue of Identity

Islam & Issue of Identity

(Ali Akbar Alvi)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we have everything before us, we have nothing before us, are all going direct to Heaven, we are all going direct the other way. Charles Dickens wrote these lines to depict the situation before French Revolution but they are still the true depiction of the present day world rocked with chaos and uncertainty.

Though western media has been regularly portraying Muslims beliefs and cultural identity in negative manner, yet the Muslim rulers, technocrats, and religious scholars have left no stone unturned to facilitate them in this negative portrayal of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism. The religious scholars want everyone to look like them , feel like them and act like them, while those sitting in parliament and AC rooms wants the religious people to look like them, feel like them and act like them. In short, we are in crisis to recognize ourselves and build a reasonable identity round the globe.

The components which form the identity of Allah almighty in the Holy Quran are power, immortality, watchfulness, ownership, justice, knowledge and kingdom. He has portrayed the good people as God fearing, knowledgeable, just, law-abiding, and social servant. All the problem of chaos, anarchy, destruction, power, violence, terrorism, extremism, and savagery is due to the fact that the people and nations want to become God-like figures. All the miseries can come to an end, if we adopt those attributes which Allah almighty and His Prophet (S.A.W) wants us to adopt.

Faith is the most important component of Muslim identity as it gives hope and confidence to the people. Allah almighty says, Guidance is for those who believe in unseen (2:3). With no faith, the people can't get peace, joy and satisfaction in life. Faith is a daily necessity whether one is getting married, taking a job, struggling with an illness, or overcoming a handicap. And faith in God is the cornerstone of all faiths. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this: If you believe in God where there is any more room for terror? If you are sure that God, in the long run, means kindness by you, you should be happy. But in modern days, the majority of the people especially from 3rd world are losing faith in God.

Besides believing in Allah Almighty, piety and fear of Allah is required to establish a good image. Allah says "Fear Allah almighty as much as you can (64:16). On another occasion, He says "O you who believe! Guard your duty to Allah, and Speak words straight to the point (33:70). Allah Almighty specially lays stress on piety and fear when he gives direction about economic affair. He says in chapter of Divorce: The one who speaks truth, Allah almighty will give him from where he has no expectation (65:2). We as the Muslim lack fear of Allah, Our scholars tell a lie sitting on pulpit; our spiritual guides tell stories of their abstinence to stuff their pockets, our politicians make false promises to feed the nation on hopes, our judges make the decisions in their drawing rooms and fear not…in short no piety no identity.

The 3nd most important component of identity is knowledge. Allah almighty conferred knowledge upon all the prophets to make them distinguished and highly exalted. Allah Almighty gave knowledge to Adam and made him distinguished and superior to angels. The first revelation of the Holy Quran اِقْرَاْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّکَ الَّذِیْ خَلَقَ (O Beloved!) Read (commencing) with the Name of Allah, Who has created (everything) (1:96) also shows how much knowledge is important to establish identity. The tragedy with Muslims nowadays is that they are giving least importance to knowledge. Recently, The Government of Pakistan has tried to close Higher Education of Pakistan because they were not giving validity to the fake degrees our politicians were holding. They have also stopped funding the students carrying their PhD Degrees abroad. Majority of the students also give least importance to knowledge and are more concerned about a piece of Degree or certificate. 90% private candidates who appear in Punjab University Exams to earn B.A Degree are those who just open the book one night before the exams. The teachers who used to play a vital role in building nations announce 5 questions to pass examination, and academies sell the papers as prostitute sell their bodies. If this is the case, then how Muslim can build an ideal image round the globe?

Justice which concerns the proper ordering of things and persons within a society is also an important component of the identity of an individual and of a nation. Allah Almighty once and again says:

وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَالَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتُدْلُواْ بِهَا إِلَى الْحُكَّامِ لِتَأْكُلُواْ فَرِيقًا مِّنْ

And do not eat up one another's wealth among yourselves through injustice, nor take wealth to the authorities (as a bribe) so that, this way, you may (also) swallow a portion of others' wealth unfairly, while you are aware (that this is a sin) (2:188).

He says in Sura Nisa

Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer. (4:58)

Our case is quite opposite to it, the history shows that every Government in Pakistan tried to use judiciary for their vested interest, whether it was the men with heavy black boots, or those who want to become so-called Caliph. On an individual level, majority of the people from an office boy to president devours justice; we cannot build our positive identity until we change our attitude towards judiciary. The nations who are not just in doing and saying can never ever earn respect round the globe.

The other components necessary for identity construction are professionalism, hard work and consistency. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) inspired the different people to excel in different fields as Abu Bakar was excelled in jurisprudence, genealogy and argumentation. Hazrat Umer was excelled in Administrative sciences, Hazrat Uthman was expert in social sciences and Hazrat Ali was expert in knowledge. Hazrat Khadija was a social activist and a political advisor, Hazrat Ayesha (R.A) was a great Jurist and Literary Scholar.

Allah almighty admires the people who struggle hard with consistency. He says, "As for those who strive in us. We surely guide them to our paths, and Allah is with good (29:69). At the moment, the plight of Ummah is indeed miserable. We look towards others, their help, and their support and do not want to work for ourselves. And those who are in abroad rely on councils and benefits, if work consistency in their life.

Minhaj-ul-Quran International wants the Muslim should build their identity on faith, piety, knowledge, discipline, truthfulness and justice instead of being Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pathan and Kashmiri. It will drive the Muslims to the best of times, to the age of wisdom, to the epoch of belief, to the season of light, to the spring of hope and finally direct to the heaven. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) condemned race, language and sex as a component of identity. Those who build their identity on race, language or colour turn violent, but those who build their identity on piety, knowledge, truthfulness and justice rule the heart of people.




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