Al-Jaahiliyyatil oolaa: meaning the era of Pre-Islamic Jahiliyyah.
Islam came to put an end to this time of pre-Islamic darkness. Islam came to bring knowledge and enlightenment to the world. It came to remove the darkness that had laid hold of human life on earth.
It is this all-round enlightenment that the Qur’an calls “Guidance.” It stands for the most complete, valid and enlightened answer to every question you may ever have. About this world or about the next world.
Thus, Islam came to educate the people.
It came to give them the most complete and comprehensive education possible on every conceivable subject. Part of that education was to tell the people that Deen is Dunya and Dunya is Deen. And never shall the twain part till the Dunya (this world) is ended and the Aakhirah (next world) is the only reality left.
That means you can’t build one by destroying or neglecting the other. They are both two sides of the same coin. You separate the two, and the coin of human life on earth vanishes without a trace and leaves human life – both aspects of it, the so-called “secular” as well as the so-called “sacred” – knocking about in darkness without identity, without destination and without hope.
A Model Community of Newly Minted Muslims – Cast in the Old Mold
So, you want to change the condition of Muslims in India and elsewhere, let us get on with the task of character building. Let us start now and let us not stop or look back till we have accomplished that goal. Till we have filled God’s earth with generations of Muslims like Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them all!
These will be people who say what they mean and mean what they say. They will be people whom both their foes and friends can trust – in good times as well as in bad.
These will be generations of people who will toil mightily during the day to build a better world, not only for themselves, but for all of humanity. And who will toil even more mightily during the night building their own and everyone else’s soul by crying before God as if their hearts will shatter in their bosoms.
These Muslims with the truly Islamic character will be the greatest scientists when they turn to science, as they will do most regularly and most instinctively. And they will be the most masterful and creative artisans and craftsmen when they turned their attention to those fields of human enterprise, as they will do at every opportunity the get.
Education will be their handmaiden and entrepreneurship their national character.
For an oppressed and benighted world, these new kind of Muslims, who will be molded and patterned after the old kind of Muslims of the Prophet’s (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) days, will be an embodiment of love, liberty and compassion. But in the face of tyranny, cruelty, injustice, greed, exploitation and domination of man by man, they will stand imperturbable like the Himalayas (I took that from Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru). And they will roar fearlessly like the lions of Serengeti (and that came directly from television).
Muslims fired up with the right kind of Islamic character will be the greatest workers and managers as well as farmers, factory hands and landowners. They will be the most visionary and at the same time the most practical economic planners and institution builders.
And they will be legendary leaders in the world of finance. At the same time, they will also be unrivaled designers and practitioners of social support networks for all. You can see that I am deliberately staying away from using dubious expressions such as “Social Engineers.”
These Muslims will be great soldiers, strategists and commanders, even as they work diligently and tirelessly to better and improve the neighborhoods and communities in which they live. They will be the best judges and policemen and the finest civil servants and tradesmen.
They will be the best husbands and wives; parents and offspring; neighbors and friends; colleagues and fellow-workers’ as well as supervisors and subordinates.
They will not pass by objects and events in this world as mere spectators or disinterested tourists. Instead, they will carry the burden of everyone and everything in this world on their shoulders.
And they will feel everyone’s pain and go to everyone’s rescue.
In a word, these newly minted Muslims, cast in the old mold of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and his noble Companions, will be people whom the earth in turn will carry on her shoulders with great pride and joy. The birds in the skies and the fish in the oceans will bless them everyday and sing their praise and the glory of their lives and deeds to Allah, their creator.
They will not destroy the earth and its environment, no matter how great the temptation. Nor will they plunder or waste its resources, no matter how strong their desire to do so. They will not be makers of mischief or corruption on earth. Instead, they will fill the world with the divine message of hope and love that proclaims, a la Qur’an, to all those who can hear: “Sinners of the world! Despair not. For, God Almighty stands ready to forgive everything.”
What a people these new kind of Muslims will be! As individuals, groups, organizations, nations and societies! And what a wonderful world they will build – not just for themselves but for everyone everywhere.
In a word, they will be Muslims. Pure and simple. And they will be Mu’mins. Meaning: They will be those who submit to God in every way. And they will be those who believe in God in every way.
Muhajirs, Not Colonizers
These new Muslims of the new age will not colonize, pillage and plunder this world. Just as the earlier Muslims of 1400 years ago did not colonize, pillage and plunder this world. Nor will they conquer and enslave the people of the world and exploit and abuse them.