Monday, 5 December 2011

A faith of the people, by the people for ALLAH

In Allah,
the People Place Their Trust


v  Believers!  Persevere and be patient,
v  Remain steadfast: Excel (others)in  perseverance,
v  Sustain and strengthen each other and
v  Fear Allah much, that you may prosper
                                                  (The Holy Qur’an: Surah 3rd: Aal-e-Imraan: 200)

 The most eminent among you, in the sight of Allah, is the one 
wh a Citation from Allah to His Prophet S.A.W.S. and to his followers):
o is the best behaved and has the most excellent character.
(Holy Qur’an: Surah 49th: Al Hujuraath: 13)

                                                Islam is unique and unalterable in  its basic tenets:
v   One Creator, Allahu Sub’hanahu va tha Aalaa.
v  One Leader, Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. S.A.W.S. and
v  One Book: The Holy Qur’an, the Word of Allah.

The saving grace of civilization is the commitment of all nations to one clear and well defined objective: we need to survive.  If we try to destroy one another, we will end up in the debris of a planet blown up by man’s inhumanity to man.

Intelligent and educated people from different beliefs are therefore encouraged to be in constant dialogue with one another and bring about interfaith understanding and interracial harmony. The unwritten but widely accepted code that sustains modern civilization and makes possible its glorious triumphs is integrity. The integrity and the resolve that all humanity search for and abide by the truth and care for nothing but the truth. 
Honest and unbiased minds have never bowed to political expediency in advancing their research in history. From their studies on Islam they inform us that nations seeking the perfect form of democracy may yet find inspiration from the Commonwealth of Islam as it was established in its earliest years.

From 632 to 666 of the Common Era, the rule of the people, by the people and for the people found its best and uncorrupted form in Islam.  It was founded by the Prophet Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. S.A.W.S. in Medinathul Munawwarah and cherished by his four illustrious successors. They are the most honored of the Holy Prophet’s Companions:  Syedina Abu Bak’r, Umar, Usman and Ali (May Allah bless them with peace).

 They are revered in history as the Rightly Guided Khalifahs.  For their utmost devotion to the Qur’ani Commands of Allah, everyone of these righteous rulers was adored by the people as Ameerul Momineen, the Leader of the Believers.

They established a perfect administration and Allah, the Real and Everlasting Ruler of All Humanity, blessed them with triumphs. Their mission to convey the divine light of the Holy Qur’an to all people and the simplicity, integrity and dynamism of their lifestyle, brought the World of Islam sincere adherents from North Africa to south eastern Europe

In the Hadith, we follow the day to day account of events as they occurred in the state and in the individual lives of the people of the Commonwealth. Theirs was a dedication and zeal, unmatched in history, of human beings leading lives of transparent integrity, sharing their bounties and abjuring every form of temptation and corruption. 

Visiting the Prophet S.A.W.S. during a rare bout of illness, Umar R.A.A., his esteemed companion, found him resting on a mat woven from palm leaves that was spread on the mud floor and a leather pillow stuffed with the same material.from date palms.  There was no other furnishing in the small dwelling built of unbaked bricks of clay and a roof thatched with palm fronds.

The spiritual and temporal ruler of all Arabia could have built a palace for himself and covered it with severy luxury.  But he preferred the poverty that was rampant in those days and still prevails in most regions of  the world.
The legacy Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. S.A.W.S. bequeathed to his successors was Salaah, the sincere, gracious and timely performance of Islami prayer at regular timings five times every day. 

The political culture that is gaining the widest acceptance in our world today, is that leadership of any kind, in party politics, trade and commerce, or in the underworld or even the holy premise of religion, is but a once in a lifetime opportunity for the acquisition of huge wealth  by fair means or foul.  With such a mindset would anyone believe that 15 centuries ago, when the craving for wealth was far deadlier than now, the Glorious Ruler of All Arabia, Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. S.A.W.S. chose for himself, the privilege to remain poor all his life.

He was grateful to Allah that he was born among the Miskeen (“those who have nothing but You, My Lord!”).  Whatever wealth he earned as a leader in  caravan trade and by bequest from his beloved wife Syedathi Khadija R.A.A., who predeceased him by 28 years, he gave it all away to the indigent. He prayed to Allah to keep him among the Miskeen and (at the time of Allah’s choice) take him from among the Miskeen unto Himself. And before breathing his last, he gave away in charity even the few  coins that were left with him.

Surath an Nas’r ,  the concise and dynamic chapter 110th of the Holy Qur’an, is a source of great moral and spiritual support to Muslims: 

   When from Allah comes to you succour and triumph
     And you witness mankind  embracing the Religion
       Of Allah in legions,  sing the praise of your Lord
    And seek from Him forgiveness (of your sins). Indeed 
                   He is  pleased to forgive (your sins).

When this Surah was was revealed, people rejoiced that it confirmed the triumph of Islam all over Arabia.  But the Holy Prophet’s young nephew, Abdullaah ibn Abbas, R.A.A. was in tears.  And he ranked high among the scholars of the Holy Qur’an. The companions asked him to take them into confidence and tell them what they could not realize themselves: the pointer from the Surah.  With great pain, he told them that the Holy Prophet S.A.W.S. might not be with them for long. His mission had been accomplished and he might leave.
The highest station that any human being could reach,, the Maqaame Mahmoodah, had been promised him in the Holy Qur’an.

Quietly and with great courage the blessed companions reconciled themselves to Allah’s Supreme Will. With great circumspection, they approached the Leader S.A.W.S and begged him to inform them who should be his successor.  They received no reply and they persisted in asking him to relieve their anguish and name the next Commander himself so future conflicts could be avoided among them.

Again and again they asked and again and again he remained silent. The companions finally realized what his preference was.  Let the people elect their own leader!

Among all the great and epochmaking reforms that the Holy Prophet S.A.W.S brought about in the faith and in  the political culture of man, the system of democratic elections and accountability of the government to the people, are also the glorious bequests of Islam to the world.

The truest democracy in history was established in Medina in the very first year of the Hijrah and the world’s first full fledged Parliament came into being. The Hijrah commemorates the migration of Muslims from Makkah to Medinah and the Hijri Calendar came into being.  The Hijri New Year commenced on Friday the 16th July,  632 C.E.

At a time, when democracy is widely flaunted and rarely practiced, Muslims are held to ridiculed and held to contempt as citizens of the socalled “rogue states”. Among the many canards that Muslims are exposed toAn entire chapter of the Holy Qur’an, Surah 38th, is titled “Shoorah” that stands for “mutual consultation”.
From this Surah we quote Allah’s Command praising: “those who respond to their Lord and keep up prayer and (conduct) their affairs (of government) by counseling among themselves and who spend out of what We have given them.”

As in all political systems, there were factions in those days too. However, they cherished truly the memory of all the blessings they had received from Allah for their devotion to His Chosen Prophet S.A.W.S.

The jockeying for power was reined in. From Allah’s Commands in the Holy Qur’an, the remembrance came to them.                                                                                                                Leadership and Political Power are a benediction from Allah and it is not for individuals or their admirers to stake a claim on the basis of charisma and group loyalty conjured up by any individual anywhere.

And when the moment of decision arrived, they honored the memory of the Holy Prophet S.A.W.S. and matched it with their own brand of dynamism.

They opted for compromise.  And consensus became the basis of Muslim polity, not only in elections but in bringing together all factions and reinforcing the unity of the Ummah. True Understanding, Harmony and Good Neighborliness were established among the people.

Assertions toned down to suggestions. Consensus and compromise became the order of the day. And they endured. Despite upheavals and a few violent takeovers, the grandeur of the Islami form of government prevailed over the most vital areas of the world for over a millennium.

Islami history has a niche of respect and love for Bilaal, R.A.A. He was a black and a slave owned by a harsh and merciless person. But Allah had chosen Bilal for an important service to Islam.  He was inspired and heartened by the ground swell in Makkah for Islam and the charisma that was drawing people from even far off centers to Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. S.A.W.S. Bilaal found from Allah the courage to defy his cruel owner and he reverted to Islam that had been humanity’s original faith since Patriarch Prophet Abraham R.A.A. 
His master had no love for Islam and Bilaal was subjected to unimaginable torture and trauma. He was stripped of clothing and thrown on the burning desert sands and branded with hot iron on his back.  With each brand that scorched his skin and ripped deep into his flesh, the brave Muslim praised Allah still more.

Muslims felt deeply the unmerited torture and brutality  endured by a helpless brother. And Syedina Abu Bak’r came forward to rescue him from his cruel master.

 The Prophet’s dearest friend and honored companion and a top ranker in Makkan business, Syedina Abu Bak’r was not among the richest of Makkan traders. Yet he felt duty bound to liberate Bilaal from the trauma.  He negotiated patiently with the arrogant owner and paid him, without protest, the huge price demanded.

Bilaal was released from bondage.  He was given a place of honor and sat with the Companions of the Holy Prophet S.A.W.S.  He brought his own contribution to the advancement of Islam in its earliest years. As Muslims debated as to the best form of inviting humanity to the Masaajid for prayer to Allah, Bilaal stood up and rendered a soul stirring style of Adhaan, the call to prayer, of his own composition.

Syedina Umar R.A.A. heartily endorsed the performance and said it accorded with a vision he had been feted to himself in an earlier vision.  That dynamic evocation reverberates to this day through the Prophet’s Masjid in Medina and the Haram al Shareef in Makkathul Mukarramah as the present Muezzins in the Haramain Sharifai’yn continue his magnificent tradition and render the Adhan in such mellifluous rhythm and prfection.

Syedina Abu Bak’r R.A.A.’s emotional involvement with Bilaal R.A.A. was for a Muslim brother suffering severe beatings and brandings in bondage.  To see him now as a free man, living his own life, was such a delight he would be gushing with love and friendly banter every time they met.  Bilaal, however, could not relish this and complained to the Prophet S.A.W.S. that his benefactor appeared to be making fun of him once too often.

The Holy Prophet S.A.W.S. was grateful to Abu Bak’r R.A.A. as the patriarch stood by him through every test to which he had been subjected by the Kuffaar.  Nevertheless in their next meeting, the trusted companion was informed of the complaint and lightly admonished. 

Since that moment, every time they met, Abu Bak’r R.A.A. addressed his friend and brother as “Syedina Bilaal!” meaning “Our Esteeemed Leader, Bilaal!” and they remained the best of friends for the rest of their lives.

 Syedina Abu Bak’r R.A.A. was the Prophet’s most constant companion and trusted friend.  A gateway in the Prophet’s Masjid is named ‘Bob Abu Bakr’.  In his last days, when admission to the  Leader’s home was restricted, Abu Bak’r had free access through this door.

One of the most poignant moments for the Muslims was witnessed in those painful days.  The time for Isha’a prayer arrived and it was the fond desire of everyone that Allah’s Chosen Rasool S.A.W.S might come and lead the salaah.  But he did not appear.  The Jama’ath, assembly, had already lined up for salaah. Sensing their trepidation, Allah’s Messenger S.A.W.S asked for  two of his companions to come in and support him to join the salaah.  He was so weak that he rested his arms on their shoulders and they almost lifted him and carried him to the Masjid. On the hallowed dust en route, his toes drew a line as he moved on. (A pointer to the Ummah:  Even in such a state of utter helplessness, we are not exempted from Salaah!)

Abu Bak’r had been asked to take his stand on the Meh’raab, the niche reserved for the leading Imam.  On seeing his master, he stepped aside and asked the Messenger of Allah to lead the prayers.  The Prophet S.A.W.S.  stood by his trusted lieutenant and signalled him to proceed.  To Syedina Abu Bak’r  R.A.A. was thus accorded the honor of being the only Companion to lead a Far’d salaah with the Incomparable Leader of Islam standing among the Musalliyeen.

Hours later, the Holy Prophet S.A.W.S. expired in the Huj’rah (the one room dwelling) of Syedina Ayesha R.A.A. Abu Bak’r was to lead the funeral prayer. 
He said the Prophet S.A.W.S. would be laid to rest at the same spot on which he lay. It was the heart’s desire of Syedathi Ayesha R.A.A. to be buried by his side.  But the years  passed.  First her father Abu Bak’r and thereafter  Syedina Umar R.A.A. died.  Each had expressed his ardent desire to be buried by the side of their Leader S.A.W.S. 

The noble hearted and glorious Mother of Momineen Syedathi Ayesha R.A.A.  had no word of protest. Gracious and exemplary as she had ever been to the women of Islam, she gave up her right to the place and left.

The succession debates on the Prophet’s demise, were of a sudden ended when Syedina Umar R.A.A. addressed the people and prevailed upon them to be unanimous in electing Syedina Abu Bak’r to the highest office. The people remembered how devoted Abu Bak’r had been to the Leader of Islam all through his life. 

He had risked life and property to accompany his leader and braved the danger and wrath from the Kuffaar on the Hijrah, their joint migration, from Makkaah to Medinah. He had acted the Imam and led the the last Salaah the Prophet S.A.W.S. had performed on earth. They remembered also his incomparable services to Islam and elected him to succeed the Glorious Prophet S.A.W.S.

Islam had to face the severest threats to its existence on the demise of the Holy Prophet S.A.W.S. A renegade named Mansoor proclaimed himself a Prophet with his tribe’s support.

Syedina Abu Bak’r R.A.A. rose to the challenge and proclaimed Jihad. The pretender Mansour and his tribe were frustrated and the Commonwealth remained intact. His administration is a shining chapter of righteous principles and precepts.  But he did not live long. His wish to join his Glorious Friend S.A.W.S was fulfilled.

People around the world, Muslims and others too, name their favorite son after him. The Second Khalifah,Umar R.A.A. continued the tradition of selfless service laid down by his peer and by sheer excellence, he rose to be the greatest of the world rulers of all time.
A man whose ferocity was the quality associated with him in his pre-Islami life, Umar R.A.A. disciplined himself and mellowed to urbanity as the responsibilities of heading a vast republic weighed on him. 

He gave the Islami Commonwealth and its people every reason to feel proud of him. With him at the helm, they had been part of the exciting and inspiring chapter that he wrote into human history. 

The most dynamic head of government in world history, he excelled in public administration. He felt he had to match the excellent tradition in social service that his predecessor had left him.  For the dynamic new Khalifah Umar R.A.A., this was a challenge and an inspiration. 

He remembered how, in the years of his predecessor’s rule, he had watched every move of the First Khalifah and tried his best to equal his achievements. One day, early in the morning, he had presented himself to a family  to whom the First Khalifah had acted as honorary janitor. 

He tapped on the door and when they answered, he told them the object of his visit.  Hiding their glee, the children told him the Khalifah himself had arrived earlier and finished washing the dishes and sweeping clean the floor. There was no work that was left undone. Omar R.A.A. had been checkmated again. 

But now he was Khalifah and Abu Bakr R.A.A. would not deny him the job satisfaction he sought. 

Far and away from all habitation, he climbed a mountain in whose crevasse lived a blind woman, old and enfeebled.  He went to her, took out the bread he had brought for her and held it to her to eat.

She grabbed his hand and asked if Abu Bakr R.A.A. had died.  He said “yes “and identified himself. And he enquired of her: “How come you know it already?” The old lady explained: “He knew I had no teeth.  I told him to chew the bread hmself and then feed it to me.  He never failed in this.”

It is from such gracious traditions that Islam has gained the devotion of millions around the globe.  Compassion to all in our lifetime and accountability to Allah after death. Muslims value their faith above their own lives and are not dismayed by the disinformation beamed at them.

Much has been written about the causes for the Muslim decline over the last five hundred years.  These have been years of acute stress and strife. Every advance recorded after years of painful effort was, of a sudden, put to naught by vested interests from both outside and from within our ranks. Perhaps, this “man eat man” feature is common in international affairs.  With pain and anguish we are learning now to live with it and overcome it by our own  superior Eimaan.

This, however, was not always the case with our history. We started as desert dwellers.  We were wild, we were lawless; we flaunted all the qualities the bad guys were noted for. But, when we accepted Islam, we were instantly transformed. The dynamics of the True Faith opened our hearts and minds to the grandeur of a destiny  never imagined before.

Devotion to Allah and His Rasool Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. S.A.W.S. raises ordinary mortals to rank high in world affairs. Dynamism in them is inborn and their hearts and minds are illumined with the the light of Eimaan. Though Muslims had no experience of public administration when they reverted to Islam, they learnt fast, skipped unnecessary detail and mastered the arts of diplomacy and statecraft by inspiration from Allah and comprehensive guidance from the Holy Qur’an. 

They made a covenant with Allah and set forth to convey the good news to a world that was in the worst possible state fourteen centuries ago. Magnanimity was what Islam had taught them to live by. Other nations were impressed by, and convinced with, their good intentions. And they gladly accepted Islam.

It was not the sword but the word of Allah that performed the miracle.  And our way of life became open, at once, radiant and glorious enough to earn us the love of all people. The Holy Qur’an led us to our victories: "God will exalt to high rank those among you who believe and those who have knowledge.”  (Holy Qur’an: Surah 58th : Mujaadilah:  11)

 More than anything else, the very first revelation of the Holy Qur’an inspired us and led us to our grandeur and glory as human beings. Allah commanded us “Read!”  Even to those who were unlettered, like the Ummi Prophet S.A.W.S. to whom it was first addressed, the divine orders were to read and develop the human intellect and perception to such great heights as had never before been known to man. 

The crowning glory of the Holy Book is the spiritual and motivational uplift encased in every chapter for every believer who recites and absorbs its true meaning. Everyone is welcome to the experiment and the challenge. When you study science and experiment with high technology in the light of this knowledge and the initiative it imparts, your mind awakens to the limitless possibilities of what you can achieve.

The Hadith complements the Holy Qur’an as an invalubale bequest to every Muslim. It is the meticulous record of how the Greatest Human Being in World History, the Incomparable All-time Leader of Humanity, Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. S.A.W.S. lived, endured unimaginable hardship and brought about all by himself, the liberation of human thought from the myths and superstition of past centuries.

By his teachings and by his own magnificence, he led the Muslims to a righteous triumph over evil. All Arabia embraced Islam within 23 years of his empowerment in 610 C.E. as the Ultmate Apostle of Allah. The glory of the awakening he brought us is now embracing every human being in every country of the world. And the two manuals of guidance provide them:

 The dynamic perception of the present, 
 True and comprehensive vision of the future  and
 The most eminent objectives and the most commendable means, insha Allah, of realizing them for the good of all.

If we are to be worthy of the glorious traditions of Our Leader S.A.W.S., we must never be frightened by anything nor feeel any sense of inferiority before anyone.

Our Glorious Creator has commended us:
You are the best of people brought up for mankind; 
You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong
And (you are steadfast in) believing in Allah
.(The Holy Qur’an: Surah 3rd: Aal-e-Imraan: 110)
                No sword could have brought to Islam the magnificent leaders like Khalifah Omar R.A.A. and scientists like Avicenna R.A.A. Their life achievements brought the world a thousand years and more of peace and all round advancement never before witnessed in world history. 

               The word of Allah performed the miracle. The Holy Qur’an and the Hadith are for us, the founts of Truth and Righteousness. In them we find the criteria to weigh and evaluate and then accept or reject all other knowledge that comes in from various sources. And our way of life has remained transparent, radiant and admirable over the years. For all of us Allah has declared it a religious duty that we must read, develop our intellect to the fullest and raise our inborn wisdom to the highest heights.

                Islam is the Faith that guarantees peace, orderly progress and international harmony for all time. When Muslims realize the immense responsibility  that Allah has placed on them as His Vice Regents on earth, the door to high achievement is opened wide for them by Allah.

                A note of caution, however, is provided us by Allah. We must not act blind in our quest of knowledge. In the evocation we make for wider knowledge and widom, we beseech Allah to kindly protect us against the inroads of such knowledge as is of no use whatsoever to us in our religious or worldly lives. The devil Shaiythaan has the invisble tentacles that can reach deep into our subconscious and fill us with base thoughts and evil motivations that  block our progress and development and lead us away from Allah on onward to decadence.

                Every Muslim leader, teacher, scientist, computer wizard, media person and artist, in fact everyone who is in a position to help the community, must feel inspired to dedicate his/her life achievements to the good of all humanity.  Insha Allah this dedication and collective effort  will regain for Islam worldwide esteem and high regard.