Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Always blaming the West for our wrongs: Is that good Islam?
In Pakistan, an armed group claiming to represent Islam tried to capture the Karachi airport. In Iraq, a group claiming to be Islamic killed 1,700 members of the Iraqi army in the name of Islam. In Nigeria, an Islamic group abducted 300 women and called it part of their Islamic struggle. In Syria, with the hel of Iran, Lebanon and others, the regime caused millions to flee the country and the opposition did not show any mercy to those partnering the regime.
The typical response of Muslims is that the western powers are responsible for all that. Or the world media is involved in an anti-Islam campaign or the groups responsible for these acts are outside the pale of Islam.
Many suggest that these groups are sponsored by anti-Islam powers and are sustained by their money and arms. They even suggest that even suicide bombers are trained by anti-Islam powers.
Only an insane can believe such people. Regardless, whether they are sponsored by the anti-Islam forces or by fringe Islamic groups, the main responsibility to question their legitimacy, existence and ideology belongs to Muslim leadership and intelligentsia as well as governments.
If they are sponsored by anti-Islamic forces, then it is the responsibility of Muslim media, and governments to expose them and prosecute them for inciting violence or acting against the interests of their people. By simply making the assertion that foreign agents are involved in such acts, the problem will not go away. It will linger and create havoc.
Those who say that they are fringe groups of Islam also need to be more active in substantiating their claim. Why have they not spoken about such tendencies within their own communities? Why have they not taken a stand against groups that distort Islam and the divine message? Why do not they question their legitimacy in matters of deen?
The fact is that the house of Islam is divided vertically and horizontally and we are not willing to accept and admit it. The fact is that there is little tolerance among Muslims to accommodate a minority perspective  The reality is that we do not condone violence the way we should have done. We have scholars who constantly tell us that those who blaspheme our religion should be killed. We have learned people who tell us that apostates should be killed and we have our clergy that tells us that we are only people who are sincere in our commitment to God.
We do not have one definition of Islam and one style of Islam. There are vast differences and in the mind of each of these different groups, the others are deviant or incomplete Muslims. Look at the differences that exist among shias and sunnis or among salafis, tablighi or ikhwanis and you will not be surprised to find the level of hatred they have towards each other.
The sectarian and factional divisions that exist and manifest themselves are self evident. They have caused our people to live in perpetual fear of the other or in perpetual notion of superiority, that is in fact a sense of inferiority. Many of us have brought this sectarian biases in our new homes in Europe, Australia and Americas. Thus, our masajid are divided on ideological lines. Anyone who question the existing practices is discounted and often humiliated. There is hardly any dialogue on real issues. Even among scholars such discourse is non-existent. Our scholars are mostly used to monologue and if anyone questions their perspective, he or she is discarded. We have developed an authoritarian culture in our masajid and institutes.
How is it possible that we can serve the cause of the divine who describes Himself as the Lord of the universe. We act as lords of our own territories and then reject all those who do not identify our views.
Our extremism is evident towards women and others who do not subscribe to our views. women are assigned the least pleasant space in the masjid. They are considered a fitna for men and their acts of worship in masajid are generally not approved favorable. Even in societies where equality has been constitutionally accepted, they do not find in Masajid equal and respectable space.
With those whom we have differences, we are quick to dismiss them as non-Muslims or deviants. We are quick to humiliate others and deprive him or her of his dignity and yet we claim that we consider everyone equal. We would not let a non-conformist to come to our masajid and give a talk. We have problems in seeing the people of other sects pray in our masajid.
There are no efective policies to run our masajid even in the US. We have by laws but how many masajid follow the by laws. Our masajid deal with cash and many of our religious teachers and scholars are offered cash incentives. None of them report those to the IRS and no one talks about tax evasion.
How long we will continue to live in this duplicity and apathy. If we want to reclaim our Islam, we have to empower ourselves with the true understanding of the Quran by relating ourselves to it without the intervention of any individual or group. We have to develop internal strength in our convictions and commitments to Allah. We have to realize that we are here in this world to lead a self-disciplined life to ensure that shor our responsibility toward fellow humans and to God, Almighty.
It is easy to blame others for the wrongs that are prevalent in our community. It is tough to look at ourselves critically. But that is the only way to improve ourselves. The Quran and its message offer itself as a criterion and the character and sunnah of the Prophet give an example to evaluate and make an educated decision about ourselves. Once we do that, we would reclaim our Islam. Otherwise we would remain confused and would confuse others.

No comments:

Post a Comment