Whither Indian Muslims
– Part Two
Education and Character: A Twin Approach to Changing Muslims and Changing the World
Question: So, how do we change the condition of Indian Muslims then? And how do we change the world?
Answer: Take all the things I suggested above and pour them into two simple categories: Education and Character.
And then watch the results. You will have automatically, and without fail, changed the condition of Indian Muslims. And changed the world.
That means, absolutely, most assuredly and without a doubt. That is what Inshallah means – God Willing. It is your passport to the future. It is your key to the unknown. It is your lifeboat to cross the ocean of uncertainty as you set sail for the future.
So don’t leave home without it as they say. Don’t leave your present and plunge into your future without it.
So, give Muslims and the world education and character and see how everything changes. It is as simple as that. And it is most eminently doable
Change character and you will change individuals, groups, nations and societies. Open the doors to education for all and your will change the world and change the course of history. You will then write your own history.
That is precisely how Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did it. He changed Allah’s world, even as Allah’s world stood around and watched. And he changed it in the blink of historic time. In about two decades or less.
And he built a whole new world in its place that has already lasted a millennium and a half. A world that is built on his image; on the image of his God; and based on the plan that his God laid down in the noble and wise book that his God gave him: the Qur’an.
Or “Our Holy Book,” as Muslims loosely refer to it – or libel and slander it in fact. For, God does not call his book “Muslims’ Holy Book.” He calls it “The Book” – or “That Book” in fact.
So, that is the book Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, used as blueprint to change the world during his time. And that is the book that we need to use as blueprint to change the world – and of course change the Muslims in India and elsewhere – now during our own time.
And that is the world in which we live today. It is the world that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, built and left behind – using the Qur’an as his blueprint and model. But it is a world that Muslims have allowed to deteriorate over all these centuries and come to its present sad and dilapidated state.
Yes, it is the fault of the world that it ended up where it did. But make no mistake it is also the fault of the Muslims that they allowed this to happen. And the Muslims did this by neglecting the twin-pillars of success and civilized living on earth: character and education. Both for themselves and for the world.
Nature of this World
At the same time, we should not forget that this is the world that fought Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, every step of the way, as he tried to change it and continues to do so to this today. That is how the world is. That is the nature of this world. That is how it was then; that is how it is now; and that is how it will continue to be in the foreseeable future.
Maybe it is more accurate to call it the non-Muslim world. And this non-Muslim world, even as it was fighting him and his teachings, nevertheless often turned to his teachings and methods and embraced them. And it did so often grudgingly and only when it was left with no other alternative for escape or survival.
It is a world that, even then, embraced his teachings only reluctantly and half-heartedly. And often did so without attribution and without giving him or the book he brought from God any credit. Nor did this reluctant world give his followers any credit. And yet this world took his teachings and used them at will when doing so suited its purposes. And often it did so when it was left with no other alternative and when it had tried everything else – and failed.
But still it is this same world that took his universal call “Read!” and turned it into its own personal passport to worldly success. It is a world that took his clarion call to universal education – Ta’aleem – and made it its own battle cry in the war against hunger and poverty.
And yet it is a world that approached his call for universal character reform – Tazkiyah – only warily and with considerable reluctance, reservation and trepidation. This world in some selected ways did embrace the notion of truth – Haqq and Sidq – that he used to guide his actions and pronouncements, not because it was the right thing to do but mostly because it found honesty to be the “best policy.”
Because honesty paid dividends in the long run.
Thus, this world adopted a policy of honesty and truthfulness mainly because it thought such a policy would turn out to be profitable in the long run. Similarly, this world was also forced to turn to abstinence outside of marriage, not because that was the divine command, (remember the Bible and the Ten Commandments: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery?) but mostly because it was frightened of deadly diseases such as AIDS and other sex-related diseases such as Syphilis and Gonorrhea.
The world was forced to concede a smidgeon of human rights and civilized treatment to prisoners of war because it was frightened of the possibility of what might happen to its own prisoners in enemy hands if it did not. Even then it threw those concessions aside – many of them generally lumped under the label of Geneva Conventions – whenever it thought doing so would better suit its purposes.