|Muslims Successful in turning Precious Gold into Worthless Dust|
by Muhammad Iqbal Khawaja
"Why I am not a Christian" is the title of an article written by Dr Shabbir Ahmed M.D. (Florida) that appeared in the May, June, and July 1999 editions of the Tolu-e-Islam Magazine. Such was the allure and magnetism of this scholarly, magnificent and an extremely powerful article that I had already read it inter- alia five times. Resting in my sitting room, my gaze fell on the June edition of the Tolu-e-Islam Magazine. I picked it up and proceeded yet again, to read the second instalment of this article.
Readers will appreciate that when one reads an article or book more than once, each time one derives new depth and new knowledge from it. That is exactly what had happened to me with this article. On the previous readings, I had read and understood the paragraph on the Pillars of Islam and then moved on. But on this occasion when I read: (Quote;" The term "Pillars of Islam" does not appear in the Quran. According to a saying of the Holy Messenger, "the building of Islam rests on five [Pillars]"), these words kept repeating themselves in my head so much that I was forced to put the magazine down and think.
The Building of Islam rests on Five Pillars! The Building of Islam! What a magnificent building it would be! The Pillars on which this building would be supported, just how magnificent and powerful structures they would have to be? Indeed, that is how it should be. For the building of Islam and the structures that would support it, are nothing that this world has ever seen, as Islam is a divine message from Allah for the entire Humankind. The structures (Pillars) that would support the building of Islam would have to be strong, purposeful, powerful and pragmatic, because Islam is not a dogma. Let us remain focused on this truth and examine the five Pillars of Islam.
Kalema: Quote:(or the creed of Islam): "I solemnly declare from the depth of my heart that there is no God (in the Universe worthy of my obedience, submission and subservience) but ALLAH , and Muhammad is His Messenger"].
It is generally believed by Muslims, that in order to convert to Islam or to renew ones affirmation, one has only to recite the Kalema . Is it really that easy to be a Muslim? Simply recite these words and hey presto! you are a Muslim! Or do the words have a meaning and a practical aspect to them, which are indispensable, intrinsic and absolutely fundamental to the very foundation of a Muslim's life?
Obedience: derived from obey; which means to do and be willing to do what one is told to do.; carry out (a command).
Submission: derived from submit; which means put oneself under the control of another; submission; act of submitting; accepting of another's power or authority; obedience; humility; with profound respect.
Subservience: derived from subserve; which means to serve as a means to helping (an end or purpose).
When we recite the Kalema, we declare, "I acknowledge and affirm from the depth of my heart that I am not willing to do or carry out any commands unless they are from ALLAH! (obedience) and affirm that I place myself under no-ones control, I recognise no authority over me except that of ALLAH! (submission) and I serve no-one except ALLAH and obey what He has ordained (subservience). In other words, I sincerely declare and affirm that the right of sovereignty over me belongs only to ALLAH! And that Muhammad is His Messenger.
This is an oath, an undertaking a promise that we make to God. These are not mere words, the recitation of which is enough to turn us into Muslims. This statement, this declaration actually forms the very basis of the code, direction and the purpose of our life. It is only after adherence to the meaning of every word of this declaration that one becomes a Muslim. Islam is a collective way of life in which every member of society enriches the life of others in the light of Divine values and in this society the right of sovereignty belongs only to ALLAH.
The Kalema is an affirmation, recognition and acknowledgement of this very intrinsic principle (Pillar) on which rests the building of Islam. I will leave it to you to decide as to who or what is the sovereign (ILLA) in the lives of the "Muslims" of today, the mullah, books written by men, tradition, a multitude of man made governments, power crazed politicians, army Generals, wealth, or greed?
Salat : "Allah has promised those amongst you who believe and perform deeds consistent with the Divine Laws that He will of a surety grant them suzerainty in the land, as He granted it to those before them" (Al-Quran 24:55)
Allah is a being who controls the entire universe and moves it on to its final destiny in accordance with His inviolable laws. According to these laws everything in the universe from its initial stage grows, develops and in time attains its full stature, just like the tiny apple seed which gradually grows into a huge tree. Man is no exception. There are Allah's laws that govern man's development and growth also. (Man has not developed fully yet, as he uses only 25% of his brain).
Therefore, the objective of granting this power (suzerainty) in the land is that "they (the Muslims) may establish with authority their "Deen": the one that Allah has chosen for them so that He may change their state of fear in which they lived to one of peace and security". Once the authority has been bestowed, Allah commands the Muslims: "So establish Salat and provide Zakat and obey the Rasool, so that you may undergo development, within the specified pattern." (Al-Quran 24:56). Undergo development, within the specified pattern. It is clearly evident from this ayyat that the Salat and Zakat is a system under which Mankind undergoes development according to the pattern that Allah has designed, to help Man reach his ultimate destiny.
Having commanded the Muslims to establish Salat, Allah then gives Mankind the following undertaking "We are responsible for providing your and your children's subsistence." (Al-Quran 6:152). A question arises. If Allah has given this clear and unambiguous undertaking to provide Mankind with its subsistence (the means of existing, the basic essentials of life), why is there so much hunger and destitution in the world?
The answer is very simple and clear. It is because we (the Muslims) have singularly failed to Establish Salat ! Islam is not a dogma. It is a pragmatic system of Cause and Effect. Since we have failed to satisfy the necessary condition i.e. Cause: Establish Salat and Provide Zakat! We have been denied the Effect i.e. the fulfilment of Allah's promise to us.
[Quote: Establishing Salat entails regular submission to Allah and striving collectively to form a social order where no one in society sleeps hungry (Al-Quran 107:1-7)] In other words Salat is the society working together -not singly- to establish such a social order, a system, the end product of which would be that no-one in society would go hungry. No-one would be in want for anything. All the needs of the individual and of the society would be met as a consequence of this system. Thereby fulfilling the promise of Allah to Mankind and freeing Man to devote his time and energy to developing his personality, his potentialities.
The system that produces such tangible results that enable God's promise to Mankind to be fulfilled, has been given to us by God free of charge. This system, which on the one hand takes away from Man worries, anxieties, and fear and on the other hand gives him shelter, food, clothing, education and health care (basic necessities of life), this precious gift of God to mankind is nothing other than Islam! All we have to do is implement this system.
An Example: Let us for a moment, see how a system, produces the kinds of results that we have discussed above. I have lived in Britain for twenty eight years of which twenty two have been spent in the service of the British Government. The British Government, since 1948 has established a system under which every working person has to pay two separate taxes from his income, Income Tax and National Insurance.
The funds collected from income tax go straight to the Treasury which the Government uses to run the business of state. A percentage of funds collected from National Insurance is handed over to the Department of Health, that runs the Health Services. The rest of the funds collected from National Insurance are given to the Department of Social Security. This Department is charged with the responsibility of paying benefits to people who do not have an income or whose income is not sufficient for their needs.
I apologise for indulging in my private circumstances. But it was deemed necessary to explain how a system produces results. I have been a diabetic for some twenty-one years. I have developed all the complications that diabetes can lead to. The worst of which, is heart disease and end stage kidney failure. As a result of this, in the last two years I have had four major operations and been hospitalised on no less than eight times and each time my stay varied from four days to two and a half months. For all the treatment received, I have paid from my pocket, not a single penny. In addition, the medical treatment I receive as a diabetic and a kidney patient is also received free of all charges. One may wonder as to how, is this possible? The answer is that the system of National Insurance, which pays a sum to the Department of Health from the contributions made by every worker in the land guarantees that, every citizen will receive free medical and health care. Can you see how this system has produced a result?
Now let us look at the other aspect of National Insurance contributions. For one and a half of the two-year period that I have not gone to work, my employer paid me, my full salary. My salary was then reduced to pension rate which is £600 a month. The mortgage I pay on my house is £500 a month. I could not survive on the remaining £100 a month. Given these facts, had I been living in Pakistan or any other Islamic country for that matter, I would have by now surely lost my property and not only become homeless, but destitute also. That is of course if my wife had not already become a widow and my two young children orphans!
However, in Britain due to the system of tax and National Insurance, I receive a benefit called "Incapacity Benefit", which is paid to people who due to ill health are unable to return to work. This benefit is based on the amount of National Insurance contributions one has paid whilst in work and is payable for as long as one is sick. When added to my pension this benefit brings my total income to just slightly below my monthly salary. The result is that my mortgage is being paid so my property is safe. In addition all of my and my families needs are being met. Just imagine, I have not gone to work for two whole years and I have no idea as to when I will be fit enough to return to work. But as a consequence of the system of National Insurance which the British Government set up in 1948, all my needs are being taken care of and as a result I am free from all worry, anxiety and fear.(Al-Qur'an 11:6, 29:60) In this non Islamic country can you see how the promise of Allah to mankind is being fulfilled as a direct consequence of a system? This is precisely the concept of Salat. Al-Salat is a system in which all human beings follow the law of Allah, and after retaining that which is necessary for their basic needs (Al-Qur'an 2:219), they keep the remaining material resources open for the nourishment of the needy. It is only by adhering to the system of Salat that it is possible for man to develop his potentialities and have order in his life and then, this development is in accordance with the pattern designed by Allah. Therefore, establishing Salat is collectively understanding, implementing and the continuing of such a system, that on the one hand removes from man all anxiety and fear and restores in its place contentment, which then affords every citizen the opportunity to develop their latent potentialities.
This is the concept of Salat. The pillar on which rests the building of Islam. Please ponder over how we have turned Salat into a mechanical ritual . What consequences or results has our interpretation of Salat produced so far and what results is it ever likely to produce as long as we continue to blindly follow this interpretation. You can also see what we have lost by not establishing the Salat (the benefits of Allah's promise to Mankind) and what gains if any have we accrued through our interpretation of it! For Allah says in the Quran: "Those whose reward is shame and humiliation in this world will have shame and humiliation in the next" (Al-Quran 17:75, 22:11, 24:19). (C)
Zakat: The Holy Quran has declared clearly and unambiguously, that an individual, a society, or a state has no right to claim obedience from any person, since obedience is due to God and God only. The Quran says: "The right to rule belongs to none but Allah. It is commanded that you obey none but Him." [(Al-Quran 9:40, 74:3) further explained by (17:111)] (Dear reader, let us pause here for a while and just remind ourselves of the explanation of Kalema, discussed earlier). But we can neither see, nor hear, nor feel God, so how are we then to obey Him? The answer is simple. Allah says: "Follow the revelation given unto you from your Rabb, and follow not as friends and protectors other than Him." (Al-Quran 7:3). This is further qualified by "We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that you might establish the rule between men, as guided by Allah." (Al-Quran 4:105). Obedience therefore is not to God personally but to the laws He has revealed in the Holy Quran. For securing obedience to the Law however, we require a properly constituted enforcing agency.
The agency that enforces God's Laws, is the Islamic State and obedience to God in practice, means obedience to the State that enforces His laws. (This was the reason, for which Pakistan was acquired?)
However, the burden of the Islamic State is a heavy one. For God says to the Islamic State: "Since you take obedience from the people in my name, you must give them what I have promised to give them. That is, fulfil the responsibilities that I have assumed in respect of Mankind. ["So establish Salat (the way of life consistent with divine laws) and provide Zakat (provision of nourishment to individual human beings)." (Al-Quran 24:56)] If you fail to fulfil the responsibilities to people, you lose the right to their obedience." (The Governments of the so called Muslim World, please take note). Therefore, in the Quranic social order, the relationship between the individual and the State is a two sided affair. The individual obeys the laws of God through the agency of State and the State honours the promises Allah has made to Man. In order to fulfil Allah's promise to Man it is imperative that the means of production remain in the custody of State and surplus wealth is not regarded as private property.
[Quote: Zakat; The Government and people will keep all their wealth and resources open for the betterment of society and for the fellow human beings. People will give "whatever is more than their needs."] Allah says: "They ask thee, how much they are to keep open for others, Say whatever is more then your needs." (Al-Quran 2:219) Therefore according to this injunction of the Holy Quran, an individual keeps from his income what he requires for his basic needs -without going short of anything- and gives the rest of his wealth to the State or keeps it open in trust for the State. (Since the Holy Messenger (PBUH) simply passed on to Mankind only that which Allah revealed to him and did not add anything of his own, where did the 2.5% zakat tax on wealth spring up from??)
With the materialistic mind set that Man has developed, a question arises as to why should an individual keep all of his surplus wealth open for the betterment of others? The answer is, for his own salvation. For every act of ours that fulfils the needs of others, nourishes our SELF. The Holy Messenger (PBUH) has said: "The best of Mankind are those who benefit humanity." And so the righteous people are those who make their SELF (NAFS) develop by fulfilling the needs of others. And they do so because of EMAN (conviction), for they know that they will be rewarded manifold in both worlds. The Quran says: "Allah has bought from the believers their lives and what they have of material things, so that He may give them Jannah (Heaven)." (Al-Quran 9:111) It is these resources that the Islamic State utilises to fulfil Allah's promises and provide Jannah for the whole of Mankind. This is the concept of Zakat. This is that powerful pillar that the building of Islam rests upon. You can also see how well these concepts of Salat and Zakat fit into one another. Both of these concepts are complementary to each other. For in the Holy Quran, whenever Salat is mentioned, so is Zakat. If Salat is to be translated simply as Namaz (Prayers), what possible connection has Zakat with Namaz, which is prayed and not established as is Salat?
Referring back to my personal case, am I not living in Jannah. Clearly it is not the Junnah that Allah has promised, but never-the-less I am living free of fear and in peace and security, am I not? This is the benefit of a system devised by Man. Can you visualise what splendour and reward of a system designed by Allah would be? Is it not lamentable, the loss that we are incurring?
Saum: It is evident from what has been discussed above as to what kind of society God envisages for mankind. "The believers give preference to the needs of others than their own even when they are themselves needy." (Al-Quran 59:9). A society in which the welfare of others feels like the welfare of ones own. This society comes about first, through the individuals EMAN in Allah and His book. Secondly through the establishment of Salat and provision of Zakat, which frees every member of society from want.
Such a society would require from its members obedience, discipline, courage, endurance, wisdom and magnanimity of the highest order. All of these qualities come about in the individuals of society through their Eman in Allah and His book. And these are then reinforced into their character, through a yearly repeated programme of self discipline and self control. Just as in order to maintain fitness of their soldiers and ensure their battle readiness, all armed forces, in addition to their daily work-outs, conduct yearly battle manoeuvres.
The objective of these exercises is to instil discipline in their soldiers and the officers who lead them. The exercises also ensure that the personnel of the armed forces remain focused and in perfect physical and mental condition to accomplish any task they may be called upon to perform.
Similarly Saum (Fasting) is a training programme for all able bodied to cultivate discipline, good manners and develop steadfastness, courage and endurance in themselves to bear hardship and labour under various conditions. In short, to develop ones personality through self control. For it is said that: "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his heart is better than he that takes a city". It is also said that: "He that has conquered his Self, has conquered the world". The objective of this training is to gel an individual, a potential world conqueror into an effective member of a unit, a team (and what a team that would make, where every member was a potential World conqueror).. In short, one Ummah in preparation for establishing one nation under one God. These are the high ideals and purpose of the month of fasting (Ramdhan). This is the pillar on which rests the building of Islam. It is not simply abstaining from food and drink and other material indulgences to get near God.
Hajj: It goes without saying that Allah's authority and sovereignty is not limited by national boundaries. Allah's sovereignty reins over the whole world and mankind. The Quran has stated that: "mankind is one community." (Al-Quran 2:213) and the Holy Messenger(PBUH) has been addressed as: "O Rasool! The ultimate objective of your mission is to eliminate differences amongst human beings and make them one Ummah as they were at the beginning of human history. But they created differences and were split." (Al-Quran 10:19) Allah's laws are implemented through the Holy Quran. However the Islamic state that implements these laws requires a centre to operate and disseminate Gods laws from. The first house of Allah on earth was built by Abraham and his son, Ismail at Kabbah in the city of Makkah and Allah has called this "The first house which was built undoubtedly (as a centre) for entire mankind." (Al-Quran 3:95) And it was here that the representatives of the Ummah were to gather to receive guidance and instructions on what to do. It was from here that the guidance and laws of Allah for mankind were to be disseminated, and it is these laws emanating from Kabbah that mankind was supposed to "Revolve Around" (Twaaf) i.e. obey with single minded determination regardless of where they lived on earth. "Revolving around the laws" emanating from Kabbah would have led us all to our objective i.e. one Ummah living in peace, harmony and tranquillity under the rule of Allah. Millions of revolutions around the stone and mortar structure neither have nor are ever likely to produce any tangible, substantive or measurable results.
I would politely ask the reader to remain focused on the objectives of the Islamic State which are to fulfil Allah's promise to Mankind as discussed earlier. Also keep in mind the sheer size of this organisation. The success of any organisation depends on effective and efficient communication and the positive and effective decision making process and then the ability to take prompt action on the decisions made. This is true of any organisation weather it is run by the UN, NASA, a multinational conglomerate or any large organisation. These organisations have a yearly meeting called an AGM-Annual General Meeting- three things happen at these AGM's!
1. All the staff and executives are reminded afresh of the aims and objectives of the organisation.
2. The heads of the different Departments give an account of how well or badly their respective departments have performed-what has hindered or aided their performance so that lessons could be learnt and good practises spread to other Departments. And out of all of this emerges the picture of how well the company has performed in the preceding year.
3. The targets for the following year and the plans to achieve these targets are formally adopted by the organisation and made known to all their members, so that work can begin in earnest to achieve the goals agreed at the AGM.
In case of an emergency arising when the organisation cannot wait for the AGM it can hold what is termed an EGM-Extra-ordinary General Meeting- to discuss the emergency, decide on the action required and then implement the decision. If we develop this concept a bit further, we can see that every nation has a government that sits at it's centre (Capital city). In order to ensure that the rule of the government is enforced throughout the country, the central government devolves its powers to what is termed local governments or provincial governments. Each year the local governments report back to the central government and may present plans they may have for projects to improve the local area or improve the quality of life in their respective areas. The central government after discussions and taking the overall picture of the nation into account then either accede to or modify some of these requests and authorise and allocate funds for them. The representatives of the local governments with the funds in the bank return to their respective areas to put the plans into action.
This is precisely the purpose of Hajj which means "Conference" in Arabic. The city of Makkah has been chosen as the Capital city of the Islamic State that was to rule over the whole world. And Kabbah was to be the Seat of Government of this State. For Allah has called this: "The first house which was built undoubtedly (as a centre) for entire mankind." (Al-Quran 3:95)
It is the job of any good Government to pass and then enforce such Laws that help to nurture and develop a society whose members live in peace, security and contentment, In the Islamic State, under the rule of Allah and Allah alone this job is perfected. Now let us consider the purpose of Hajj which, as has already been stated, means "Conference" in Arabic.
This is the time prescribed for representatives of the Ummah from all over the World to gather at the place of the central government of Islam in Makkah and present their cases and make known the needs of their respective people. It is from here that the needs of the Ummah are then fulfilled by the central government of Islam. Hajj therefore ensures:
1. The central Government at Kabbah is kept in touch with the needs of the people living in far away lands and ensures that all possible aid and assistance is provided to them promptly.
2. The needs of every human being are met so that the Islamic State can discharge its responsibility, which is to honour Allah's promise to Mankind.
(Have you noticed the subtle difference in the Islamic Quranic State where the sovereign is Allah. The purpose of this State is to ensure that not a single individual of entire Mankind is deprived of his basic needs, where as the purpose of the "multitude of So Called Islamic States of the present world"- this has to be a contradiction in terms- is to ensure that no-one escapes the grip of the draconian laws that they have enacted) This is the whole essence of Hajj, an AGM of the entire Mankind.
Ummrah: In case of an emergency arising anywhere in the world, that requires an urgent decision and action from the central Government and can not wait for Hajj, the state can organise an extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM), a special or emergency meeting. This is called Ummrah. (It is surprising that some how, only the concept of the Ummrah being able to be held at any time has been retained by the Muslims of today where as, all other concepts have either been lost or adulterated.)
As stated earlier dear reader, Islam is not a religion created by man's imagination, steeped in dogma and pathetic, pointless and meaningless rituals and traditions. Islam is a practical and a comprehensive system of life, covering all aspects of human life. It is a pragmatic system of cause and effect. You will have noticed that the concepts of the pillars presented here, individually lead to a definitive and tangible objective. And collectively lead to the objective of helping to bind mankind into one community living in peace and security. So that man can create Jannah here on earth.
But we have turned this Precious Gold into Worthless Dust. For centuries we have been following the wrong interpretation of these "Pillars" on which rests the whole building of Islam and consequently find ourselves living in Jahannum (Hell) of our own making. The people Allah created for the leadership of this world are standing in a queue. of beggars. What a sad, sorry and lamentable sight it is. O' Muslims, wake up and take heed of what Allah has said in the Quran "If you fail to follow the path I have revealed to you I will replace you with people who will follow the path. Ignominy, shame and humiliation will then be your just reward." (Al-Quran 11: 57, 47:38, 70:44) (Some may say that perhaps, we have already reached that point of no return.)
Conclusion: For goodness sakes, how long? How long will we continue to follow the paths that have lead us collectively to absolutely nowhere. Except to immobility, stagnation, divisions, fragmentation, fighting amongst ourselves and to the absolute ruin of generations of the people that Allah created to lead Mankind to the promised land.
For God sakes, it is about time, that Muslims took stock of their lot and realised that, there is no such thing as they. For they never change. It is we who will have to change. As the Hakeem-e-ummat Dr. Sir Allama Iqbal has said:" O! Mussalmaan if you desire to live your life as a Momin, you have no choice except to make the Qur'an your guiding light". We will have to cleanse our minds of the Religion (Mazhab) of Islam and return to the Deen-ul-Haq. We will have to follow the revelation given unto us by our Rabb, and follow not as friends and protectors other than Him (Al-Qur'an 7:3). We will therefore, have to disregard all other books written by men and seek guidance only from the Book sent down to us in truth, that we may establish the rule between men, as guided by Allah (Al-Qur'an 4:105).
We will have to demand from our respective States that they fulfil the promise that Allah has made to us. Or as Allah has said, they lose the right to our obedience. We will have to demand what is rightfully ours, the benefits of the system of Rabubiyyat (nourishment and development) which are manifest when the Salat and Zakat is established. Dear friends, the responsibility is ours. May Allah grant us the wisdom, courage and the strength to claim that, which is ours by right.