Hope my words find you in the best of health. I feel it my utmost duty to write to you that our religious scholars and preachers are not coming up to the expectations of the masses, especially of our youth. The entire world is in grip of certain social and cultural evils and our valley is not an exception. However, unlike in other nations of the world, the people in Kashmir pin greater hopes on the religious leaders. To their utter disappointment, they don’t receive any cordial and satisfactory counsel and care from the religious leaders or scholars.
Our youth, like in other nations, have fallen prey to social evils either by choice or by circumstances. Some have been misled by cinema, porn, fashion trends, harmful life-styles, etc. To pull our youth out of the whirlpool of destruction, the greatest responsibilities lie on the shoulders of our respected religious scholars, for our people have tremendous trust in Islamic teachings. However, to our utter amazement, they [religious heads] are more involved in sectarian debates. Their preaching and writing is more directed towards knocking down the members of other schools of thought. Their Friday sermons hardly touch upon the current problems. They are failing our youth. An individual who has enormous hope from Islamic teachings dreads an Islamic scholar for the reason that he reprimands him for his acts without analysing the circumstances. He is ready to blame him for his un-Islamic ways, instead of locating the real cause of his falling prey to the evils. Many a time our youth are astonished by the attitude of our religious scholars. They are harsh and utterly judgmental. They hardly know that our youth are grappling with unfavourable circumstances. Evils are more rampant than virtues in contemporary times. In such a grim scenario it becomes increasingly challenging to opt for the righteous ways. The learned religious scholars and preachers are expected to act as torch-bearers in the darkness of vices.
Our religious preachers must recall how Allah through the glorious Quranic verses drove out the addiction of wine, gambling, interest on money (Riba) among the followers of Prophet Muhammad (saw). They must recollect how the Prophet (saw) corrected the mistakes of his Sahabah, how he purified the gaze of his companions, how he guided them to lofty purposes, how he taught them healthy lifestyles, how he encouraged them to take part in advantageous sports, how he inspired them towards social activism.
I hope that your knowledge of Islam and your keen insight and specialisation in Islamic jurisprudence would prove a boon for our youth and our depressed folk. I wish remind you that you had taken a pledge to fight social evils including drugs, moral degradation, and sectarian strife on the occasion of your appointment as Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir. I hope that you won’t disappoint us, Sir. Let our religious scholars and preachers replicate the behaviour, wit and wisdom of the Prophet (saw) and his Sahabah in dealing with the social crisis we face. Let your leadership unite all schools of thought for the welfare and well-being of our generations. Aameen!
Dr Ashraf Amin