Do Muslims Need to be Critical of Themselves

Do Muslims Need to be Critical of Themselves

Arif Aslam

I wake up for the early morning prayer, step out towards the place of congregation, and back in my mind is the motive that the community should see my connection with the Lord. Please don’t judge me, I am not a hypocrite. My prayer has all the required physical act but is devoid of the spiritual one.
For any endeavor, when results are in my favour, I take all the credit citing my smart work and intelligence. But when things go against my plan, I invoke the Lord. I find an escape route to be free of the burden of my failure. Don’t judge me, only God can judge me. I will not take any blame for my behavior/ action/ way of life. Nevertheless, I will be at the front line when it is time to receive applause.
The crisis of the coronavirus offers many lessons to draw from. Introspection has its own value and importance. With every hardship, a call is made to direct ourselves to the Lord and the question is asked, what role does the Muslim have to play at the individual as well as at the community level. I was told about the saying of the Prophet (pbuh), “Allah did not send down any disease but that He also sent its cure”. The Muslim world is waiting for others to develop a vaccine. Hold on! Almighty sends the disease as well as its cure, so why not ask the Almighty directly? Did we get the commandments of Almighty directly or through means? Prayer is the food for the soul, a way to ease suffering, and intellect is to understand the world. Service to Almighty cannot be separated from service to human kind. Almighty selects a group of people through whom the cure for the disease is revealed. Thus the word “Research”—a search of something already existing. The moot question is, why is the Almighty not selecting such people from the Muslim world?
We have failed in every aspect of life; we having nothing to offer. Islam has many solutions but Muslims have none. We are only beating around the bush by glorifying past inventions and contributions. Someone from the pulpit was boasting that the cure for this virus has been given to us 1400 years ago – those who pray 5 times also wash their hands 5 times! So we have to follow the 1400-year-old teachings in our present life. Another gentleman told me that this virus will do no harm to us as we are Muslim. Someone please tell this fellow about the situation in Iran. With this kind of thinking, I guess, we just want authentication for our belief system.
We are living in structural societies of immense complexity with many needs to fulfill. We, though, only have to offer to the world the Islamic model in every facet of life. Our guidance is from Allah only. But we have relinquished even this duty by forsaking pursuit of knowledge in the right perspective. Qu’ranic studies have been relegated to those who cannot afford modern education. There is everywhere the downfall of Islamic sciences, Islamic economics, Islamic liberal arts. Those who study these subjects find no professional avenues. We have established no consonance between modern science and theology.
Does Islam teach, in the name of patience, passive quietism? Refraining from attempts to redress the issues/challenges? Our tradition encourages us to work towards solutions. According to Qu’ran, Adam and Eve, unlike Satan, take full responsibility for their actions and blame neither each other nor the devil, though it was the devil who beguiled them into eating from the tree. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever finds good, let him praise God, and whoever finds other than that, let him only blame himself.” Yes, we blame and criticise other people but in times of tribulation we will be asked how we “responded” – whether with patience or resignation, calm or anger, resentment or solidarity.
Those among us who possess the knowledge of science, of arts, look with melancholy towards those practicing religion, and vice-versa. Where is the fault line? Both have failed to demonstrate the pluralism of this world. Our tradition encourages us to have a middle path, yet we gravitate to the extreme. Our collective sins as well as individual sins has resulted in the Almighty not sending people of character to show us how to strike the balance between theology and modern education. My Lord, I say, guide us to the right path, the right knowledge, and action in accordance with it.
Follow the Islamic principle: “Take what is good and leave what is bad.”

The writer is an engineer from Doda district

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