I just do not want to get into the debate of whether to celebrate Eid Milad Un Nabi(SAW) or not. The whole debate is akin to wading into and shaking the proverbial hornet’s nest in the divided Muslim community .Oftentimes, these debates generate more heat than light. But, if I might draw an analogy, let’s imagine for a moment, a kid just studying in kindergarten asks you in his innocent, stuttering voice , amid hiccups: “Today is Prophet’s[ SAW] day). Now. Consider your reaction: will you slap him and ask him to repent before Allah as if he has committed the heinous act of blasphemy or you will hug or kiss his forehead and encourage him to follow the teachings of his Prophet( SAW). The choice , in this hypothetical scenario, is yours, just think!
Unfortunately, in today’s Muslim community, we have sects within sects and everyone is busy in erecting the barricades of division rather than building bridges of unity. This is the why reason we no longer share a common platform to discuss our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in an era of Islamophobia. Moreover, we no longer have common Masjids in our localities; instead, we have sect affiliated Masjids.
Since the day, I began to appreciate and differentiate between the good and the bad, I could not understand universal message of Milad. For most of Kashmiris , Milad is all about reciting naats and Duroods on loudspeakers, rallying through every nook and cranny on vehicles with reverberating slogans on loudspeaker and banners emboldened and decorated with couplets from the Hadeeth and so on. Roads are blocked, traffic is halted and common man has to suffer; the real purpose of holding rally is no more spreading the Holy Prophet’s( SAW) message of peace love and harmony. On the other hand, those people who tend to maintain a distance on this occasion seem to be restless and use every medium to spell the beans of hatred on those who are on streets. Social media is the common platform to vent hatred on one other, one is seen hosting a green flag on his profile picture and other is hosting black flag on his but there is no one to hoist the olive branch of peace and brotherhood between them. References, counter references of supporting ones stand on Milad are posted and shared on social networking sites and masses are kept in dark about larger message of observing the Milad. Thus, the message of universal brotherhood among Muslims takes back a seat on such a holy occasion. The hatred gap widens.
Modern day Muslims are conditional Muslims; we accept Islamic law and jurisprudence where it favours us and reject it where it is not in our favour. Thus, we are like chameleons and follow the Islam as per the situation demands . A few days ago, I witnessed an 18 year old youth compelling his father to marry him to girl of his choice. He employed the pretext that Nikah was(is) the Sunnah of the Nabi( SAW) , but the same person should have known that , Islam also enjoins us to be obedient towards parents( which he never was). He brought Sunnah, in this context , because it was serving his interest of marriage against his parents’ wishes. We go to prayers only when things are not going in our favour. Students come to MasjidS when examinations are near and for rest we don’t show up.
Our imams, who sermonize and enjoin us on the pulpits of masjids not to indulge in extravagance in marriages and maintain austerity are first to reach to marriage tents to taste the Kashmiri wazwan , where everything is in contradiction to his sermons. When he is not practicing what he is preaching, how can he expect masses to follow ? The inference that can be drawn here is that preaching Islamic lectures has now become merely ceremonial .
We live in community where Muslims have common enemy but we are fighting each other and our enemy is having the last laugh. It is happening in Somalia, Lebanon Syria and many other places. Last week’s massacre in Egypt is testimony to the fact more Muslim’s are killed by Muslims then by people of other religions.
But, delineating all this is not actually to wallow in hopelessness and despair over our individual and collective condition(s). There is something we can do. The best and most eloquent testimony of being Muslim and adhering to the spirit of Islam would, on the eve of Milad, be to come together, so that people of other religions get the message that , in reality , Islam is the religion of peace, love and respect.
—The author holds a Master’s in Chemistry and is NET, SLET qualified. He can be reached at: [email protected]