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Whither Indian Muslims – Part Two

DR.PASHA | June 18, 2009 | Section: Articles | 2004 reads


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That is the contrast between the Islamic notion of Hijrat on the one hand and the world it built and the European notion of Colonization and its long-lasting effects in the world on the other hand.

That is a little bit a khurchan, as Pundit Sundarlal, a disciple of Gandhiji, used to say, left over from this amazing Days of “racial parity” and mixing that Muslims accomplished nearly a millennium and a half ago and continued down the road to this day. While others sought “racial purity” and turned God’s earth into a virtual hell, we Muslims pursued the goal of “racial parity,” equality and integration and turned the same earth of God Almighty into a virtual heaven.

We showed the world how to do it: how to eliminate racial disparities and create a sense of equality and unity among a mix of people that were welded into one unit from all kinds of races, religions and nationalities. To create, you can say, a sense of Ummahood.

And it has lasted all these 1400 plus years, even though lately it is getting frayed at the margins due to all kinds of corruption that is creeping into the lives of Muslims from so many different directions and sources, some internally generated and some externally foisted.

“One Nation under God” – A Quintessential Islamic Expression

One nation under God!”

Whoever said this took it directly from the pages of Islamic culture with its roots in the Qur’an. And he took it from the ways and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. It would have been nice if this debt to Qur’an and Sunnah had been acknowledged openly and unreservedly.

Not only would it have been the honest and the right thing to do, it would also have filled this effort with God Almighty’s choicest blessings. But that is who human beings are. They often steal from each other and seldom give credit where credit is due.

Let me change that word “steal” to “borrow.” They borrow from one another but forget to remember that fact or mention it to others, even though there are blessings in doing so. So this beautiful expression “One nation under God!” is a quintessential Qur’anic expression.

And here is how the Qur’an outlines this concept in Aaayat 92 – what people call verse – of chapter 21:

Inna haadhi-hi ummatukum ummatan waahidatan wa a-na rabbukum fa’budoon.

Paraphrase:

“This nation of yours is indeed one nation and I am your lord, God and master, so obey and worship me.”

What is noteworthy also is the fact that this particular Aayah is preceded by the mention of the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus Christ, Alaihis Salaam.

Does it sound like a direct translation from the Qur’an then? Of course it does. But was it done knowingly and deliberately? I don’t know. But could it have been? Sure it could have been. The pioneers of the American Revolution and the founders of the American nation were men of great learning and erudition.

Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of an English translation of the Qur’an – and apparently used it. It was the same copy on which Keith Ellison, the Congressman from the state of Minnesota, first Muslim elected to the American Congress, took his oath of office. So, human beings have always borrowed ideas and cultural expressions from one another. But they have not always been candid about it.

Western cultures, societies and civilizations have been particularly guilty of blatantly plagiarizing and thieving from the rich treasures of other cultures and then either concealing that fact or lying about it. That is why you never hear about the debt the famous European socio-cultural movements and phenomena such as Reformation, Renaissance and Industrialization owe to Islam and Muslims.

And that is also why you do not hear about all the wonderful scientific and other accomplishments of the Muslims that spawned nearly 800 years from the 7th Century to the 15th Century. Instead, Europe refers to this radiant period of Muslim glory and achievement as the Dark Ages.

A Culture Called Truth

Hence Islam’s emphasis on truth, whether you call it Sidq, which in some ways you may consider to be small, everyday, even conversational and verifiable truth at a more human and worldly level. Or you call it Haqq, the big and all-inclusive transcendental truth that ultimately ends in God Almighty himself.

As the Qur’an says, Annallaha huwal haqqul mubeen: God Almighty, he is indeed the clear and open truth!

What a statement! What an assertion! What an aayat! What a miracle! What an amazing proof that this Qur’an is indeed from God Almighty!

Regardless of which one of the two expressions you use, Sidq or Haqq, truth is the panacea Islam proposes to heal the many ailments that plague humanity, including all that may be wrong with the Muslim situation. For example, Islam enjoins truth as the basis for all dealings among all human beings, whether that is among neighbors; among friends; or among members of a household including husband-wife and parent-child duos.

Islam also requires that Muslims make truth the foundation of all their dealings with their fellow-Muslims in general – from speech to behavior: speak to them and deal with them truthfully and honestly. And do so all the time and with regard to everything.

So also Islam makes it clear that truth must form the basis of all dealings and interactions – personal, professional, social and business – between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Allahu Akbar, it is mind-boggling, this emphasis that Islam places on truth in every aspect of human life. And in many ways that is what sets Islam apart from many other systems of thought, belief and behavior that are out there in this world.

Furthermore, Islam makes it clear that the only conversation or relationship between God and human beings that has any merit is one that is based on truth. That means it is a relationship in which one’s mind, body and soul are all in synch with one another and where all three are completely grounded in and buttressed by truth.

 

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