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And where voice and visuals are not considered adequate or will not carry their message directly, humans resort to a million devices and an infinite range of gadgetry and instrumentation to communicate. Sometimes, it is the drums and sometimes it is the smoke, whether to communicate across vast expanses of forests or to signal the election of a new pope.
Sometimes it is the telephone or the radio and sometimes it is the television or the world of the movies and filmdom. And sometimes it is some combination of audio and video woven into a fabric of endless and tantalizing variation.
And who can forget print – books, newspapers, letters, magazines and everything else?
And now it is the computer in all its new formations, extensions, modifications and reinventions that has become the mother of a million communication technologies so new, and morphing so fast, that the sheer pace of change leaves us dizzy.
So, verbal or nonverbal, print or electronic, audio or video, direct or indirect, personal or mediated, or a combination thereof, to talk about life is to talk about communication.
Communication Is a Gift from God
So, what would life be without communication? Ask yourself that?
What would life be without the babble of the babies; without all the sweet nothings a loving husband and wife may whisper into each other’s ears; without all the noise from the media; without the air filled with the song of a million birds; without powerful words from orators; without magical imagery from poets; and without profound ideas from philosophers, thinkers and scientists?
And what will this world be without the Qur’an – that most wonderful directly and impeccably divine communication of all from the maker and master of the worlds to all the worlds that he made? Qur’an, the most ultimate in all communication in heaven or on earth!
And where will this world be without the Hadith – that most perfect model of excellence and profundity in human communication on earth in any language or culture?
That is why communication is such a special gift from God Almighty, closely associated with the gift of life itself.
Yes, life is a great gift from the great giver of all gifts. But what is life without communication: without the ability to see, hear, touch, feel, smell or speak and express in a billion different ways as perhaps only humans can do?
That is why I would rather let the Qur’an tell the story of life in conjunction with the story of human ability to communicate and express.
Listen to the Qur’an: Arrahmaan. ‘Allamal Qur’an. Khalaqal insaan. ‘Allamahul bayaan.
And now see my paraphrase of those Aayats: “The most loving and merciful one. He taught the Reading – the Qur’an. He gave life to humans. He then taught them to express themselves.”
Challenge before Humanity: Muslim and Non-Muslim
As recipients of the special gift of life from God, the challenge before humanity, for Muslims as well as non-Muslims, is to live life in the best possible way, which can only be done by living life under the benevolent shadow of the Qur’an and the Hadith – one, direct communication from God to all humans and to all the worlds and the other communication of God’s messenger, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to all humans and worlds for all times and in all places and cultures.
So also, as recipients of the other special gift of the power of expression from God Almighty, humans are required to do communication in the best possible way and put it to the best possible use.
And this burden rests squarely and most heavily on the shoulders of Muslims. For, they are the ones that accepted God’s mission to be his representatives on earth.
Muslims, thus, have an obligation to make their life the best and their communication the best. Part of the reason the world is such a mess today, and Muslim life is in such shambles today, is the problem Muslims have in their use of God’s special gift of communication.
What I am saying is this: all too many Muslims today don’t understand Islam very well, which is a communication problem. Also, generally speaking, Muslims don’t communicate Islam to the rest of the world, which again is a communication problem.
The result is a world that is in trouble and turmoil. It is the result of a general communication failure on the part of the Muslims.
While Muslims may be at the receiving end of much of the trouble in the world today, to the extent they have failed to communicate the divine message of Islam to the rest of the world, they are also part of the cause of that trouble.
It is a generalized failure of Muslims to understand Islam clearly and convey and communicate it to the rest of the world effectively that has landed them in the kind of trouble they are in today.
In the same way, the problem with non-Muslims also is communication: it is failure on the part of non-Muslims to communicate effectively with the Qur’an by studying it and taking an informed and responsible position in relation to it.
So, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, the best way for human beings to improve their life on earth is to truly and properly master the art and science of communication, at the core of which lies communication with the Qur’an and the Hadith.
One is direct communication from God, the giver of all life. The other is communication from a man that God sent to show us the proper way of understanding and practicing the Qur’an.
What Kind of Communication Do Muslims Do?
If Islam is all about communication, then is it fair to ask about the state of Muslim communication in this world? I mean, just how do Muslims communicate?
How do Muslims communicate among themselves and with others? How do they communicate as friends, neighbors and family members; and as members and citizens of their respective communities and societies?
How do Muslims communicate one on one and in groups large and small, formal and informal? How do they communicate orally and in writing; in newspapers and magazines; on radio and television; and on the Internet?
Just what kind of communicators are the Muslims? And what kind of communication instrumentalities and what kind of traditional and new and emerging media arrangements, technologies and facilities and resources do they have in place?
What are the means, modes and methodologies of Muslim communication in the world today and what have they been over the past decades, centuries? What is their style and their substance; their quality and their quantity; their purposes and their motivations; their future plans and trajectories; their effectiveness and their outcomes?
In other words, just what, how and why do Muslims communicate and with what results and consequences – for themselves; for the world; and for Allah’s Deen in this Dunya, of which they have been appointed the servants, guardians, managers and custodians?
Communication of Those Supposedly Working for Allah
And in particular what is the nature, quality, quantity, message and modus operandi as well as the effectiveness and degree of success of the communication of those who consider themselves to be working for Allah?
And just who are the people who speak for Islam and Muslims and wear the hats and mantles of leadership for them? What kind of education, training, background, skills and motivations and approaches do they bring to their roles?
In what ways has the message and methodology of their communication impacted, changed and shaped our world over the past 100 years and how are they likely or expected to do it over the next century or two?
These are just some of the questions we should be asking as Muslims, as non-Muslims, as ordinary human beings, as specialists of various kinds in various fields and as those with an abiding and active interest in making this world of Allah a little better for his creation than we found it when we arrived in this world.
For, that is the notion and commitment at the core of working for Allah. And that is what Islam came into this world to do: to show and help human being how to improve their lives in this world and how to improve the chances of having a most wonderful life in the next world.
Finding answers to these questions is a mammoth, albeit, in our view, a worthwhile and even urgent undertaking. Should Allah permit it, who knows, maybe we will make a stab in that direction at some point in future, when and as Allah wills and ordains it. For, not a blade of grass in this world moves without a clear, explicit, direct and precise command from him, God Almighty.
Laa haula wa laa quwwata illaa billahil ‘aliyyil ‘azeem!
Paraphrase: No one can accomplish anything in this world without power or permission from him, the most high, the most mighty.
You don’t believe it is so? You don’t believe he is the one in perfect control of every part and aspect of his world? Talk to me and let me show it to you how it works.
© 2008 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.
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