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REACH OUT, MUSLIMS!
How to change the world, One thing at a time

 

 “If Muslims had listened!”

REACH OUT, 
MUSLIMS!

How to change the world, 
One thing at a time

Dr. Pasha

 

REACH OUT, MUSLIMS!
Before anything or anyone,
Muslims!


Reach out unto your own selves!
Take some time.
Make an effort.
And look deep into your mind,
And into the depths of your soul.


Probe,
Search,
Ponder,
And ask:


Who am I?
And then ask:


What do I want?
What am I doing?
Where am I going?
What am I getting?


And what price am I paying for it?


What price?
In my body?
And in my mind?


And in my soul and spirit?


And in my wealth and property?
And in terms of my family and friends?


In terms of all those I love,
And those who love me?


What price?


In terms of my overall well-being?
And the well being of those around me?
Those near and dear to me?


And in terms of success and happiness?
Moral and material?
Worldly and spiritual?


For me and my loved ones,
And for all the others in my life?


What price am I paying?
What price, indeed?

*******

Then,
Muslims!
Ask yourselves:


Is this what I really want from life?


For me,
For my family?
And for my friends?


For all those whom I love,
And for all those who love me?


Is this what I really want from life?


For my community and my society?
The community that nurtured me?
The community that is my home and shelter?


And the society that shaped me and serves me?
And in whose institutions I am so deeply embedded?
For humanity of which I am an indivisible part?
And for the world in which I live and operate?


Ask!
Dear Muslims,
Ask!


Over and over:
Is this what life is all about?
Ask:
What is all this worth?


Is this what my own life is worth?
Is this what my role in life is all about?
And is this what I really want from life?
Is this the most and the best that life can give me?
And what I can ask or receive from it?


Ask!
Dear Muslims!
Am I selling myself short?
Could I do better?
Could I do more?
Could I walk a fuller, nobler walk?
A walk of greater reward for me,
Both in this world and the next?
On a path dearer to God and more fulfilling for me?
And of greater service to my fellow humans?

*******

Then,
Muslims!
Reach out to God!


That is right,
Reach out to God!


Reach out in fear and in awe,
Reach out in humility and in hope,
Reach out in love and in obedience.


For,
God is merciful and compassionate,
Loving and generous,
Kind and forgiving.
Beyond bounds and imagination,
Beyond count and calculation.


For, he is Rahman,
And he is Raheem.
Most loving and merciful,
And even more merciful and loving.


But don’t forget,
God is also God of wrath and vengeance,
And of punishment and retribution.


All this, Muslims, means one simple thing:


Along with everything else you do,
Find time,
Find the energy,
And find the inclination and the urgency,
And find the spark in your heart,
And the drive in your mind,
To reach out to God’s word on earth.

***************

Reach out to Qur’an!
Muslims!
Al Qur’an!
The Book!
Unlike any other book in the world!
Or unlike anything else!


Read the Qur’an! At least once a day.


Even if it is just one Aayah a day.
An Aayah,
One little passage!


For,


When it comes to reading the Qur’an,
Even the individual letters count.


It is not just soorahs and aayahs,
Not just passages and words,
But every single letter counts,
When it comes to reading the Qur’an,
And when Allah wants to measure out his bounty and reward.


That is what the Prophet said.
Each letter in its own right.


It is not Alif-Laam-Meem all together.
But Alif, he said, counts as a separate unit,


And Laam, he said, counts as a separate unit,
And Meem, he said, counts as a separate unit.

*******

Aayah!


A passage from the Qur’an!
A sentence, is it?
Or a clause?
Or a phrase?
Or even a letter or two?


An aayah!


A “verse” it certainly is not!


Don’t call it a verse,
Dear Muslims!
It is not a verse,
It is an “aayah.”


The Bible may contain verses,
The Qur’an does not!
The Qur’an contains aayaat.


“It is not the musing of a poet,” says the Qur’an.
And we turn around and say it is “verse”?


How dare we?
Indeed, how dare we?


So, it is not a “verse.”
It is an aayah!
It is a sign,
A sign divine,
And eternal.
And clear,
And powerful.


A sign indeed it is.
And a marvel.
A sign divine and powerful,
And clear and convincing.


And a miracle,
Each individual aayah!


A miraculous and marvelous sign!


A sign,
About what it is,
And from what fountainhead it sprang.
A fountainhead of boundless mercy and compassion,
Of power and wisdom.


A sign it is,
Of the wonderful purposes it seeks,
Of the amazing worlds it opens up.


It is a marker on the road.
It is the needle of the compass.


It points the way to success,
And to happiness.


And it warns of the way to failure,


And to eternal sorrow and pain.


It is a marker,
Which tells you about who and what you are;
Whence you came;
And whither you are bound.
And to whom and what you shall return.
And how.


It is a sign divine,
A marker powerful and profound,
Of what the true nature of this world is,
And what its final end and destiny will be.


It tells of the goals one should pursue in this world.
And it tells of the hazards and pitfalls one should beware.

*******

It is a marker,
A pointer.
It is an aayah!
A script really,
Of your role in this world.


A charter and proclamation, as it were,
Of your rights and dues,
And a master list, as it were,


Of your obligations and duties.


It tells of the goals and ends you should pursue,
And of the methods you should follow,
In the pursuit of your rights,
As well as in the discharge of your duties.

******

That is what the Qur’an is,
And that is what an aayat of the Qur’an is.


The Qur’an is not poetry,
An aayah is not a verse.
It is the truth.


It is Haq!
Al-Haq!
The Truth!


From the source of all truth,
Al-Haq!
God, Almighty!


That is what it really is.


Truth.
The Truth.
Clear,


Luminous,
Lustrous,
Eternal,
Everlasting,
Truth!


It is not verse,
It is not poetry,
It is a formula for success.


Unerring,
Profound,
Complete,
Clear,
Tested,
Proven.

********

A marker and a guide,
A signpost and a road map,
And a tower of light,
And source of support,
And help!


On life’s complex and dimly lit pathways,
And it’s many intersections and crossroads.
And its many many diversions and traps.


A beacon of light.
A source of energy and power.


That is what the Qur’an is.


And it is much, much more.


It is a breathtaking confluence of sight and sound,
Action and movement.


It is an object of unsurpassed beauty.
In language and meaning,
In style and impact.


And it is a cure,
For all that ails the human heart.


And it is a cure,
A panacea!
For society’s many ills.


So, Muslim!
Read the Qur’an!


Reach out to the Qur’an.
Read the Qur’an every day,
Even if it is one aayah a day!


Read the Qur’an in Arabic,
Muslims!


For, that is the real thing.
The Qur’an in Arabic.


The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic!
In crystal clear Arabic!


So reach out to the Qur’an in its own language,
Read the Qur’an in the language in which it came,
The language in which God chose to reveal it.


The language in which it was in its original home,
The Lowh Mafooz,
The well-guarded tablet.


The language in which the angel Jibra’eel brought it!


So, read the Qur’an in the original,
The way it was,
It is,


And it will be,
For ever and ever!


In its full divine and Arabic glory!

******

But, also, Muslims!
Read the translation of the Qur’an, if you must,
Or if you need to.


Read it in any language.
But read it is what you must.


For, Qur’an means To Read!
It means Reading.


And there is no other book on the face of this earth,
Nor has ever been,
Nor shall ever be,
That was, is, or will be read,
Or recited,
More than the Qur’an.

******

And then,
Muslims!
Reflect on the meaning of what you read.


And on its implications.
And its real-life uses and applications.


For yourself.
And for everyone and everything else in this world.


For,
Reading is not the only purpose of the Qur’an,
Reflection is.


Trying to understand the Qur’an,
That is what the Qur’an wants us to do.
Tadabbur, the Qur’an calls it.
And tafakkur, the Qur’an says it is!


And the Qur’an is quite vehement on this issue.
Quite particular and forceful.


“Do they not reflect,” thunders the Qur’an, “on the Qur’an?
Or do they have padlocks on their hearts?”


So the Qur’an came to us not only to be read,
And recited,
But also to be reflected upon and pondered.


So, Muslims,
Devote some time each day
To reflect over the aayaat of the Qur’an,
And to consider their meaning and-

implication.


And so,


Ask yourself,
Muslims!


Even as you read the Qur’an,
And as you finish reading it.


Ask yourself:
What are you prepared to do about it?
To understand its aayahs better?
Its many passages and parts?
Its many signs and markers for human life?


And then ask yourself,
What plans do you have?
To share this gift and this joy with others?
This gift of divine signs?


The sublime knowledge of the Qur’an?


To share them with your family and friends?
With your neighbors and others?
With society and humanity at large?

************

And then ask yourself:
What are you prepared to do?
What steps are you prepared to take?
To put the teachings of Qur’an in practice?


To the extent you can?
At the pace you can?
In the place you can?
And in the manner you can?


Using the most beautiful of means?
To achieve the most wonderful of ends?


The ends which the Qur’an seeks,
And enjoins?


For you.
And for everyone and everything else.


Working by yourself, if you must.
Or working with others, if you can.
Working at the level of individuals.


Or at the level of groups and organizations.
Or at the level of society’s institutions.


But working,
Nevertheless,
Tirelessly and ceaselessly.


Working how best you can.
For God does not burden people,
More than they can bear.


He does not expect from them,
More than what is within their means to deliver.
For he is a loving and kind God,
Infinitely merciful.
The master and maker of this world,
And the master and maker of countless other worlds.


And the most knowing and wise he is.


He knows and he understands.
He knows your motives and your desires,


Your weaknesses and your strengths,
Your skills and your abilities.


He knows well what the tongues reveal,
And he knows the deception that lies in the eyes,
Just as he knows what the hearts conceal.

**************

The most loving and compassionate God.
That is how he introduces himself,
In the opening part of the Qur’an.
As the most loving and compassionate,
As the most merciful and beneficent.

******

In the name of Allah!
Says the very first part of the Qur’an.
Bismillah!


That is what it is in Arabic.
In the language of the Qur’an.


But who is Allah?


You ask.


For, it is your right to ask.
Human as you are.


And as it is your nature to ask.
Human as you are.


“The most merciful,”


Comes back the answer.
“The most compassionate,
And the most beneficent.”
And the boundlessly loving?


That is who Allah is.
God of the Qur’an.
God of humanity.
God of the world.
Everyone‘s God.
And God of everything.
The only one God there is,
Or could be.

*************

The most kind and merciful,
That is who he is.
That is how he introduces himself.
In the very first part of the Qur’an.
And at the beginning of every other Soorah thereafter.


A Soorah!
An eclave of meaning and mercy,
Of divine bounty and guidance!


A Soorah!
Surrounded by the walls of mercy,
“In the name of Allah,


The beneficent, the merciful.”
The wall of mercy that guards every single Soorah!
That surrounds and envelops every Soorah.
You have no entrance or admittance,
Into that enclave of mercy and bounty,
Save through this gate and over this wall of mercy.


Through Bismillahir Rahamanir Raheem!

********

Praise to him, says the opening part of the Qur’an.
Praise to Allah,
Lord of the worlds,
This world,
And many many other worlds.


The worlds we know,
And those we don’t.


The worlds that exist,
And those that don’t.


All praise to him,
Maker and master of the worlds.


But who is he, really?
We ask.
What should we know about him right away?
Before we know more?
We wonder.


Puzzled human queries.
Cries of souls in search.
Minds looking for answers.
For a glimmer of light.
To cut through the darkness’s that layer life.


So natural,
And so human,
And so very real.


Looking,
Searching,
Hoping and groping,
For a solitary promise of hope,
Across the wilderness of the unknown,
Beyond the fingers of human imagination to reach.


Ar-Rahmaan!


Comes the answer.
And Ar-Raheem!
Comes the answer.


The most merciful,
The infinitely compassionate.


That is who he is,
The beneficent and the compassionate,
Without bounds or limits,
Without origin or end.


That is what the future holds,
He is the origin,
And he is the end.


That is what packs the journey of life.
And of faith.

****************

Ar-Rahmaan!


And Ar-Raheem!
Mercy!


And even more mercy!
Hope,
Piled upon hope!


And the Qur’an has barely begun.
It is not yet more than eight words old.


But to that already old theme does it return,
The theme of Ar-Rahmaan!
And Ar-Raheem.
The theme of mercy and hope.


So, Muslims!
To him that you must reach out!
To that unending source of mercy and hope.
And to his book,
The Qur’an.


So, reach out to him,
And to his book.


And reach out to him,
With his book.


It is an amazing book.
This Qur’an.
Reading!


That is what the Qur’an calls itself.
The Book!


That is what the Qur’an says it is.

*************

And what wonderful reading it makes!
This Qur’an!


And what a wonderful book it is!
Brought to us by a man,
Who never held a book in his hand.
Or saw one in his entire life.


A man who never knew how to read.
Or how to write.


And yet,


“Reading!” is what this book calls itself.
And Recitation!


And it calls itself “The Book.”


And what a book it is!
There is nothing like it in the world.


And this book talks about teaching humans.
This amazing book.
Coming down nearly 1400 years ago.
Not men,
Not women,
But humans.


That is what it talks about:
“The Humans!”


No “mankind” for or in this Qur’an.
It talks about teaching humans,
Teaching them what they did not know,


And then it talks,
About teaching them by means of “The pen.”


And this book has a chapter named “The Pen!”

*************

Yes,


Coming down nearly 1400 years ago.
This book has a chapter called “The Pen!”


And it talks about teaching “The Human!”
Not The Man,
Not The Woman.


Certainly not The Royalty,
Or The Clergy,
Or The Nobility,


But The Human.


Such marked contrast?
Such sharp departure?
From humanity’s beaten track?
From everything known to everyone,
In every corner of this earth?
Those were the times,
Pretty much like our own times,


Only a few short years ago,
When everyone, everywhere knew but one central theme?
And sang but one single song?
The song of The Man.
Man and Mankind!
That is how the human thought had it.
And that is how the human discourse had it.
Man and Mankind.


But the Qur’an struck different theme.
The theme of the human.
The Human!


Said the Qur’an.
And the Qur’an took a different road.
From every road known to humanity.

*********

The road of The Human.
Not of The Man.
Or Mankind.


But of The Human?


And yet,
The Qur’an does not ignore the woman.


It clearly names the female,
Whenever and wherever it can,
As a separate category from the male.


Distinct,
And yet deserving of the same consideration.


What a book this Qur’an!
Fourteen centuries ago!
What a miracle!


“Those men who submit to God,” it says.
“And those women who submit to God.”


“And those men who believe,” it says.
“And those women who believe in God.”


The Qur’an is even more clear and outspoken elsewhere.


It says:
“Bad women are for bad men,
Just as bad men are for bad women.”


“Good women are for good men,”


It goes on.
“Just as good men are for good women.”


What a standing miracle is this Qur’an!
For all those with eyes to see.
For all those with a heart to heed.


Elsewhere it goes even further,
This amazing Al-Qur’an.


“Whoever does a good deed,”


It says,
“Be it a male or a female,
Provided they believe,
To them shall we give a beautiful life!”


What a book this Qur’an!


Who but God could say things like that?
Fourteen centuries ahead of the rest of the world!
God, the maker of man,
God, the maker of woman!
God, the creator, cherisher and sustainer of both genders!


Only he could have said these things.


For,


At that time,
When the Qur’an came down,
This very idea was foreign to the humans.
To speak of the woman in the same breath as man.
This very language was new.


Oh, how easily the humans lost this noble heritage!


Oh, how novel and strange this idea remains,
Even to this day,
To so many humans,
Some among them professing Islam,
Reading the Qur’an,
And claiming allegiance to the Qur’an!


How alien the culture of Qur’an appears to them!
And Oh, how willing they seem to sacrifice,
The liberating culture of Qur’an,
To the prison houses of their own national customs,
And tribal and histories!

*************

And what of the Pen?
The Pen?
And not just the human.
For that was the road the Qur’an took.
Fourteen hundred years ago.


Coupling the human with the pen!


Teaching The Human,
It said.
And that too with the means of The Pen?


What language was this?
And what thought?
And what time during human history?


Fourteen centuries ago?


Where did all this come from?
Could it have come from a source that was human?


Even slightly human?
Could it have its origin in anything other than God?


And how?


It boggles the mind.
It defies imagination.
It challenges the intellect.
It pushes the limits of the possible,
And the conceivable.

**************

The Qur’an does not have a chapter called The Sword!
Or a chapter called The Scepter.
Or a chapter called The Crown.
Or a chapter called The Men.


Only a chapter called The Pen.


Talk about a revolution!
A revolution in human thought,
And in human life,
And in human relations.


And the Qur’an has yet another chapter,
Equally mind-boggling,
And equally revolutionary.


A chapter called The People.
Not Man or Mankind!
Fourteen hundred years ago?


Mankind in the Qur’an?
What has Mankind got to do with the Qur’an?


The Qur’an has a chapter called The People.
Humanity, that is.
Not The Mankind.
Annaas is people,
Not mankind.


But the Qur’an does not have a chapter called The Royalty.
Or The Clergy.
Or The Nobility.
Only Annaas!
The People!


Only The People.

******

Annaas!
It is a word the Qur’an uses over and over and over again.


Never before had the world seen,
Anything like it.
Never before,
In the history of human thought,
Or discourse,
Such liberal use of this concept,
The concept of The People,
Had the world known.


Not royalty,
Mind you,
Not clergy,
Not nobility,
But people.
The People!
Annaas!

***************

The Qur’an also has a chapter called The Women.
The chapter of Annisaa!
But none called The Men.


The only book of its kind,
This Qur’an.
From 14 centuries ago,
Addressing women,
Making them part of discourse and discussion,
As full partners in life,
Sharing rights and responsibilities,
Equal and reciprocal.


Only The Qur’an!
Nothing like it in this world!


It is an amazing book.
This Qur’an.
There is none like it in the world.
Not in language.
Not in meaning.
Not in thought,
Not in content.
Not in form.
Not in style.
Not in language.


Not in the range of subject matter.
Not in the relevance of concepts to human life.


Not in the way its concepts transcend time,
And the way they transcend limitations of space.
Holding out hope to every age,
And to every place.
And a powerful beacon of light,
For all times to come,
And for all places.

*************

A marvel!
A miracle!
A sign!
This Qur’an.
An Aayah in itself.
And each and every one of its passages and sentences an aayah.
A sign,
A marvel,
A miracle.


And every clause and phrase.


Valid beyond the coordinates of time and space.
A glaring contradiction in terms,
Yet no less true for being so.


Free from the shackles of history and geography.
This Qur’an.
Rising above the laws of human specificity.
Transcending the bounds of custom and culture!


Offering the unimaginable!
Doing the undoable.
That is what the Qur’an does.
Defying decay and obsolescence,
The invariant law of life.

*************

Even as the world plays catch-up.
Catching up to the Qur’an.


For, that is what the world does.
For, that is what the world must.
And that is what the history of the world is,
Since the advent of the Qur’an into this world.

**********

Playing catch up.
Crawling up to where the Qur’an is.
Trying to reach where the Qur’an started.
Trying to do what the Qur’an has done.
Trying to go where the Qur’an has been.


That is what the world does.
And that has been the history of the world,
Since the Qur’an came.


The world,
Trying so hard,
With so much trial and error,
With so much pain and frustration,
And with such disastrous consequences for all.


Trying to play catch-up to the Qur’an.
A little bit at a time.
Over 1400 years past.

*******

The Qur’an is a marvel,
Muslims!
A miracle!


There is nothing quite like the Qur’an in the world.
So get to know the Qur’an.


Try and reach out to it.
And reach out to God with it.


Read the Qur’an a little,
Every day.
And share the Qur’an a little,
Everyday,
With others,
With whoever you will,
With whoever you must.

**************

Then, Muslims!


Reach out to Hadeeth!


Read Hadeeth at least once a day.
Even if it is just one Hadeeth a day.


Qur’an didn’t come in the mail.
A very special man brought the Qur’an with him.
From God.
The Rasool.
The Prophet,


As Muslims often refer to him in English,
Following the Bible.
The Messenger of God.


This most amazing of humans,
And perhaps the most successful of all,
Who came with this most amazing of books.
This most amazing of messages.
This very very special man.
Who came with this very very special book.
The Qur’an.
Muhammad,


Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
God’s mercy and blessings and peace and plenty
Be upon him.
And God’s salawaat and salaam.


He showed how to read the Qur’an.


He explained what the Qur’an meant.


In word.
As well as in deed.


For one,
And for all.


And he showed how the Qur’an worked in practice.
For individuals.
And for the society.


In private matters.
And in public affairs.


And then,
Using the Qur’an as basis,
And as model and blueprint,
This man changed the world in which he was born.


He changed the world as the world knew itself.
And as the world worked
And did business.

***************

And he did so almost single-handedly.
Starting out with no one but himself.
Alone!
And at times almost lonely.
And often harassed and persecuted.


Yet, he did it.


Changed the world in which he was born.


And he did this in ways,
No one else has done it.


Before him.


Or since.


Changing people’s thinking.
And people’s beliefs.
And people’s behavior.
Changing the way the world thought.
And believed.
And spoke.
And behaved.

*********

This man Muhammad,
May God bless him,
He changed the way humans lived and loved.
And the way they married and divorced.
And the way they treated each other.
The way they treated their husbands and wives.
Their children and parents.
And their relatives and neighbors.


He changed the way humans treated the powerful,
And the way they treated the meek,
And the downtrodden
And the disadvantaged,
And the dispossessed.


The way humans treated the rich,
And the way they treated the poor.


He changed the way the world treated its widows
And its orphans.
The way it treated its friends
And its foes.
And the way it treated utter strangers.


He changed the way people worshipped God.
As well as the way they viewed this world.
And the way they lived and worked in this world.

********

Muhammad,
God’s peace, mercy and bounty be upon him.


He changed,
Not only the way humans lived their lives,
But also the way they died their deaths.
And the way they were laid to rest.


He changed a great deal about this world.
This man Muhammad,
May God shower his love, mercy, peace and blessings


upon him.


He changed,
Not only the way people made war,
But also the way they made peace.
And the way people organized their days,
And the way they went about their daily affairs.


He changed the way people formed communities.
And entire societies.
And thus,
He ushered in a new era,
A new order in this world.
A new way of looking at things.
And a new way of doing them.


Nothing less than a revolution,
A new world order, if you will.

*************

That is what he produced.
This man Muhammad,
God’s blessings on him.


He changed the way the world looked at itself.
The way it looked at God.
And the way the world did its business.


And he did all this,
Almost single-handedly.
Almost all by himself.


Starting out,


As it happened,
With none but a woman as companion,
His beloved and noble wife Khadijah,
Daughter of Khuwailid,
And mother to every believer since.

**********

This,
And much,


Much, much more.


All of this,
During his own lifetime.
Within one single generation.
Within the impossibly short span of 23 years.


No more than 23 years!


And thus he produced,
This amazing man,


Allah bless him!
He produced,
A major revolution in this world,
A most thoroughgoing one,


In the world’s thinking and behavior.
In its social relations and political arrangements.
In its economic structure and educational outlook.


A revolution
Unparalleled in human history.


A revolution,
Unlike any produced by anyone else,
Anywhere else.

**************

All this,
At a time when the world had no newspapers,
And no radio,
And no television.


At an age before the computer,
And the satellite,
And the Internet


That is what this man did,
Muhammad,
God’s blessings on him.


He changed the world,
Utterly and completely,
Almost all by himself.
In an impossibly short time,
In an impossibly difficult world.

**************

So, Muslims!
Find out for yourself,
What this man said.
In the Hadeeth.
And what he did in practice.
In the Sunnah.


And how he achieved the amazing results he did.


And reflect on what you can do,
To follow in his footsteps.
And to move his glorious mission forward.
In the time in which you live,
And in the place in which you live.


And ponder on ways,
To bring that mission home,
To a new generation,
To a new age,
To a new culture,
And to a new world.


In the East,
As well as in the West.


In the North,
As well as in the South.

***************

And Muslims!
Do so as individuals.
And as groups.
And as a communities of believers in every place.


And do so,
As a global, timeless community.
An Ummah!
The Ummah!
The ultimate community of all communities.
A community based on choice of belief,
And of behavior.
A conscious and considered choice.


Not a community by accidents of birth,
Or geography.
Or pigmentation of color.


But an Ummah.


As The Ummah!
Global and timeless.
Above borders,


Beyond boundaries.


An Ummah,
By conscious, considered and rational choice.

*********

And then, Muslims!


Reach out to your family!


Man to woman.
Woman to man.


Parents to children.
Children to parents.


Older ones to younger ones.
Younger ones to older ones.


Reach out with God,
And with Qur’an,
And with Hadeeth.


Everyone in the family,
Try,
And reach out to everyone else in the family.


Reach out with love,
With compassion and kindness,
And with genuine regard and respect.


And help everyone in the family
To reach out to God.
And to Qur’an.
And to Hadeeth.


For,
You cannot really be a Muslim,
If,
Being old,
You show no kindness to the young.
Or,
Being young,
You show no respect to the old.

*************

Islam is about rights,
Muslims,
As much as it is about dues.


In Islam,
In the system that is embodied in the Qur’an,
In the message that Muhammad preached and practiced,
People have rights.


Islam, therefore,
Is about respecting the rights of others,
And paying the dues you owe.
And claiming your own rights,
As best as you can.


Doing all of this,
In the best way possible,
Using means that are the noblest and finest.

*********

This means,
Muslims!
Taking the highest road you can take.
In word as well as in deed.


Islam is about what you owe,
And it is about what is owed to you.


Islam is about responsibility and sacrifice,
It is about courage and confidence.
And above all,
Islam is about love,
And about service.
It is about justice and compassion.

*************

And then, Muslims!
Reach out to your fellow Muslims!
Beyond your own family.
Beyond the family of blood ties,
To the larger family of faith and fellowship.


Muslims are but one family.
One brotherhood,
One sisterhood.
One extended family they are,
A kinship of belief,
And of behavior.


Many a time stronger,
And longer lasting,
This bond of faith,
Than ties of blood,
And consanguinity.

****************

Colors and races,
Ages and genders,
Tribes and nations,
Geography and history,
Custom and culture,
Welded into one iron wall,
That is what Islam is,
Muslims!


An iron wall,
Of common belief,
And common behavior,
And shared destiny.


Under one loving God,
Compassionate and merciful.


Under the banner of one loving Rasool,
God’s Messenger to humanity.
Following one divine book of guidance,
The Qur’an,
In one common language,
Arabic.


That is what the fellowship of faith is in Islam,
The bond of belief,
The Ummah of Muhammad,
God shower him with his mercy!


The Ummah!
Bound by one common mode of worship,
Salah!


Facing but one common direction,
Qiblah!


No less than five times a day,
In worship and prostration.
The ancient Ka’bah,
The Abrahamic house of God in Makkah!


Observing one common month of fasting,
Siyam!
With but one way to begin the fast,
And to end it.


Same common abstinence from food,
And from drink,
And from sex.


From dawn,
Until dusk.


Following the same common clock,
Of eternal time.


Alike for all humans,
The rich and the poor,
Man and woman,
Those with education and those without.
In every part of the world,
And in every age.


Rising to the same common call to prayer,
The wondrous melody of the Azaan,
Poured in every newborn ear,
Million upon million each year.
And flowing from every minaret around the globe.

*************

And there is more!
Not the least, that amazing journey,
The journey of a lifetime,
Hajj!
Unlike any other journey on this earth.
Destination Ka’abah,
The house of God at Makkah!


Timeless cradle of love and devotion,
This Ka’abah!
A spectacle beyond compare.
Milling mass of humanity,
Wrapped, if you are a male,
In two sheets of cotton,


White and unsewn,
Each a replica of the other.
Indistinguishable,
One man from another,
King and commoner,
Rich and poor.


But free, if you are a woman,
To dress as you please,
Within the bounds of modesty,
As both men and women must.


And then the same rituals and rites,
The same steps and rounds around the Ka’aba,
The same running up and down between Safa and Marwa.
Over and over and again.

************

That amazing Ka’abah,
That house of God,
That monument erected by Abraham,
And by his son Isma’eel.


Humanity spinning around it,
In endless circles,
Without a moment’s break or respite,
Except when the Fard Salah is in session,
The required worship form,
What most call prayer.


As it were the center of the earth,
The axis on which the globe revolves.
A marvel to behold,
Even more marvelous to do,
Twirled by a finger unseen.

*********

And then that final moment of truth and reality,
In every life,
Unerring,
Inescapable,
Final.


When death must overtake life,
When life’s journey must take a breather,
When the wayfarer must pause,
And say “Goodbye,”


To all on earth.


Leaving all possessions behind,
Snapping all earthly ties.


Even then,
Even when death comes calling,
Does the community of belief hold,
Does the bond of brotherhood and sisterhood survive.

**************

For the believers are but brothers,
And sisters.
Not only in this world,


But also in the next.


The Ummah lives.
Even as the human dies.


And so lives the one common way,
The universal and timeless practice,
Of the Ummah,
The way of Al-Islam,
To bathe the body of the believer,
And to dress it,
In white cotton sheets!


Each case identical to the other,
From one end of the earth,
To the other.
And the same common final prayers,
Before consigning the body to the ground.


For 1400 long years.


One grave,
Mirror image of all the others,
From one end of the earth,
To the other.
For 1400 long years.

**********

How much more could there be,
That which holds a people together?
That which ties a people into a brotherhood,
And sisterhood?
Timeless and universal?


The brotherhood
And sisterhood


Of the Ummah.


Truly one people.
One community.
One nation.
Bound not by land or blood,
But by something higher.
Something more lasting,
The bond of common belief,
And of common behavior.

****************

This family of fellow believers,
Amazing and awe inspiring.


When one hurts, all must.
When one rejoices, so must all.


Triumph of one,
Must mean the triumph of all.
And defeat or tragedy for one,
Must inexorably sadden all.

**********

So, Muslims!


Reach out to your fellow Muslims.


They are you,
And you are them.
Each, part of the other,
You and your fellow Muslims.


So, reach out to the other part of you!


As best as you can.
And as much as you can.
Face to face,
If you can.


By letter,
Or by phone if you can’t.


Through e-mail and the Internet.
As the world shrinks around you,
In a jumble of electronic signals.


Or reach out by any other means available,
Or necessary.


Drive up to their place.
Invite them to yours.


Reach out with God,
With Qur’an,
And with Hadeeth.


Reach out with love, compassion and kindness.
And with genuine regard and respect.


Do something good.
Say something nice.
At least greet them with a smile.


For, a warm smile,
When you run into a fellow Muslim,
On the street,
Or anywhere else,
Is an act of devotion to God.
It is no less than an act of worship,
In the wonderful system we call Islam.


For,
There isn’t much left,
By way of Deen or Eeman,
By way of “faith” or “religion,”
If,
Being Muslim,
You can’t even offer a friendly greeting


To your fellow Muslims.
Or at least a warm and genuine smile,
When you meet them.

***************

And then,
Muslims!
Reach out to non-Muslims!
Humanity is but one family.
Under one God,
Merciful and beneficent.
Sprung from one common parentage.
Equally children of Adam,
One and all.
Sharing the same common roots,
In religious lore,
And in scientific discourse.


Hence,
Death or decay of one,
Says the poet,
Diminishes all.

***************

So, Muslims!
Somehow,
Reach out to all.
Reach out,
To non-Muslim members of your human family.


Reach out
To those with whom you have bonds of blood.
Those who have claims on you,
Based on that ancient kinship.
That common drop of Adam’s blood.


Reach out with God,
And with Qur’an,
And with Hadeeth.


Reach out with love,
And with compassion and kindness.
And with genuine regard and respect.

*************

And then, Muslims!


Reach out to the world in which you live!


Your habitat.
The environment that surrounds you.
The air you breathe.
The water you drink.


The earth on which you walk.
The animals that feed and clothe you.
And keep you company.
And help you run your world.


The plants that shelter and protect you.
The only factory in the world,
That makes clean air.
And supplies that fresh air to you,
Full of life-giving oxygen,
The stuff of all life,
Human and animal,
Free of cost.
Reach out to the animate world around you,
And the inanimate world.
Reach out to all those beings,
And things,
With whom you share this planet.
In a common privilege of being.
Reach out with care,
With concern,
And with responsibility.


Reach out with love,
And with compassion,
And with kindness.
And with genuine regard and respect.

*************

For,
As Muslims,
You are not just your brothers’ keepers.
You are the keepers of the entire planet.
You are its guardian angels.


That is what you are.
Keepers and guardian angels
Of whatever is around you.
Keepers and caretakers.


That is what you are,
Keepers and guardian angels,
Of the world,
And of everything and everyone in the world.


You are,
The world’s stewards and custodians,
Its managers and protectors,
And its servants and trustees.

*****************

And then Muslims,
You are,
And you must be,
The world’s conscience.


And its voice,
Especially of those without voice.


You are,
And you must be,
The world’s designated voice of reason.


A force for justice against injustice,
And for fairness against prejudice,
And for equality against discrimination,
And for compassion against cruelty.


A voice,
Loud, powerful, clear,
Of freedom against tyranny,
Of liberty against oppression.


Just as you are,
And you must be,
Above all else,
The custodians and champions of truth,
Against falsehood.


Of light,
Against darkness.


Not just for friends
But also for foes.


Not just for your own kind,
But for every kind,
And everyone.
Even if it be against your own selves.
Even it be against your own kind.
Or against your own people,
Whoever those people may be.
And even when it involves your enemies,
Whoever those enemies may be.


You are the source of justice,
Muslims!
For Muslims and for non-Muslims alike.
For humans and non-humans alike.
For the living and the nonliving alike.
For, that is who you are,
The voice of the voiceless,
The champions of those without a champion.
And the voice of truth and justice for all.

*************

For,
In your role as Muslims,
God has made them all your wards,
Muslims and non-Muslim,
Human and non-human.


God has placed them all under your stewardship.
Under your care and protection.
Which makes this whole world,
Your turf and territory,
Your dominion,
And your responsibility.


Not to own,
Not to abuse,
Not to squander,
Not to destroy,
But to serve.


And to protect.


And to cherish.


And to nurture and husband.


And to utilize,
With care and caution,
And with great accountability.


To utilize,
What you need,
To meet your own needs,
And the needs of others.


Needs!
Honest and lawful needs,
Of the truly needy.


Not the greed of the greedy,
Or the wanton ways of the profligate.


To share the planet and its bounties,
With all the others who now share,
Or would in future share,
This wonderful planet with you.


That is your charge,
And your mandate,
Dear Muslims!

*********

And that,
Muslims!
Is the meaning of your dominion,
And stewardship.


For,
You are Allah’s Khaleefah,
God’s representative,
On earth.


That is your charge,
And your mandate as Muslims.


For,
You are,
The instrument,
Of God’s mercy to the humankind.
And to the world.


So, Muslims!
Reach out!


To yourself.
To God.
To Qur’an.
To Hadeeth.
To family and friends.
To fellow Muslims.
To non-Muslims.
To the entire world.
Living and nonliving.


And make this world a better place,


For all.


For yourself.
As well as for others.
Regardless of who those others may be.
Regardless of their color.
Or race.
Or religion.
Or culture.
Or gender.
Or something else.


Leave this world a little better than you found it.
No matter by how little.
No matter in what specific way.

***************

For,
Muslims!
In the ultimate analysis,
That is what it means to be a Muslim!


A source,
Of all the wonderful things in this world.


To be the messengers of Salaam,
Of peace and contentment,
Of wealth and prosperity,
Of joy, happiness and tranquility,
Of well-being of the body, mind and soul,
And of all-round success,
And of personal strength and security,
And communal and societal welfare,
For one and for all.


Right here,
In this world,


As well as in the hereafter,
The next world.

**************

For,
Dear Muslims!
That is what it means,
That little word,
Salaam!


One little word,
And so much meaning packed into it.


And that is who you are,
Muslims!
Allah’s messengers to His creation,
Allah’s representatives on earth,
Instruments of Allah’s mercy,
Charged with the mission and method of Salaam.
Of peace, blessings, mercy.
To Allah’s creation.
May Allah, the Almighty,
The infinitely compassionate, beneficent and merciful,
Encompass you in his love and mercy,


In his peace and blessings!
In a word,
May he wrap the mantle of his salaam around you.
And his Rasool!

END

© 2001 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