Islam plans to achieve its objective of Grand Peace and takes all possible steps in that direction. A society devoid of peace cannot be a civil society. A civil society is one that has a two-way relationship with its members; society protects and secures members and all members contribute to form a civilised society. The system that Islam proposes to establish has to develop in a way that ensures the attainment of the ultimate goal. Islam is the religion of God, and is therefore not affected by the arguments based on presumptuous sentimentality. It has its eyes focussed on the goal and prefers to achieve that goal, taking harsh measures whenever required, in order to avoid widespread chaos rather than indulging in false notions based on apparent humanism, which ultimately lead to widespread human sufferings. It likes to punish the minority to save the majority rather than endanger the majority to save the minority. Islam is not a religion in the ordinary sense of the word; it is not even just a way of life; it is a grand system (Deen), which does not merely guide individuals and society but governs them. This governance is neither weak nor meek; it is alert, normally benign but firm whenever boundaries are trespassed. The forces of economic fundamentalism have created systems where fundamental rights roar, fundamental duties linger and fundamental prohibitions have already been cremated.
Islam, in contrast, creates a three-dimensional system giving equal voice to all the three. The three-dimensional approach is the basic necessity of peace and essential for the establishment of a civil society. Fundamental Rights without Fundamental Prohibitions is a licence to licentiousness for individuals and green signal to the corporate sector for commercialising human weaknesses and susceptibilities for their growth. Without emphasis on fundamental duties, and without the provision of fundamental prohibitions, there is no way individuals can be prevented from falling victims to the designs of the market or other corrupting influences. When we examine the three-dimensional system of Islam, we can easily find that each of the fundamental duties, rights and prohibitions helps in a significant way the attainment of one or more aspects of total peace
The two-dimensional approach (comprising rights and duties) is inadequate in maintaining order in society. Besides, it is inherently dangerous, as it unleashes forces of evils and exploitation. No society can maintain order and tranquillity unless it has its sets of restrictions. Its members must not only claim for their own rights, but must also be duty-bound to help in its survival and development and they must not be in a position, even if they want, to do what is expressly detrimental for society. A three-dimensional approach is therefore mandatory if the totally paralysed and redundant legal system has to be rejuvenated. The two-dimensional constitutions, without any express provisions of fundamental prohibitions, guarantee rights only for the strong and those rights of the weak that the strong seek to exploit. The three-dimensional approach, on the contrary, with explicit Fundamental Prohibitions, is a guarantee for the rights of all the members of society, including the weak and the underprivileged. Fundamental Prohibitions must be aimed at ensuring the trio of objectives – Individual Health, Family Peace and Social Order, the three essential components of Grand Peace.
The modern approach is influenced by economic fundamentalism that seeks to commercialise both strengths and weaknesses of human beings. In order to commercialise weaknesses, it is necessary that “prohibitions” should be totally prohibited and greater emphasis should be given to rights not duties. In Islamic social system, on the other hand, the above-mentioned rights as individual member of family and member of society are harmonised with duties and prohibitions. In the edifice of Islamic society, duties form the foundation, rights the roof and prohibition the walls; a building cannot be a building without any of the three, and all the three must be adequately planned and built.
A system cannot be deemed complete unless it categorically answers three questions: what is one enjoined to do, what is one permitted or entitled to do and what is one prohibited to do? A proper balance between these three is the most wonderful aspect of Islamic constitution that makes it far superior model to the other systems.
Muslims must not hesitate to lead an aggressive campaign for Fundamental Prohibitions. Seminars must be organised not on Fundamental Rights but on Prohibitions. It must be explained to people, with the help of easily available statistics, why prohibiting certain practices is necessary. They must be told in unequivocal terms that Alcohol, Smoking, Drugs, Gambling and uninhibited sex outside the boundaries of marriage have no place in a civilised society. They are too dangerous for the humanity to be tolerated anymore. Murder and other crimes including rape cannot be allowed to go unpunished; the punishment must be equal to the crime. Economic exploitation should be forbidden and its dimensions thoroughly exposed; harshest possible measures must be taken to minimise the economic disparity.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
‘Freedom’ is the catchword for the champions of modern “civilisation”. This augurs well for them because it opens a great number of avenues for their business. A free man tends to do whatever he feels like doing at a particular moment of time, irrespective of its consequences on his own life or on the lives of others. The rationale behind this, according to liberalists, is that man is himself responsible for the consequences of his acts, and others have no business to interfere in his personal matters and to teach him morals. If one wants to drink, it is one’s right even if it causes severe mental anguish and financial burden to one’s dependants and well-wishers, and makes one vulnerable to several life-threatening health problems. If one wants to lie with a person of one’s choice, one must have full liberty to do so even if it destroys one’s family, and leads to several other unforeseen problems including fatal or incapacitating illnesses. If one wants to roam in minimal or no clothes, it is one’s prerogative to dress as one likes even if it arouses the passions of onlookers and drives them to commit rape. One must be free to commit suicide even if one’s self-destruction brings intolerable pain and suffering to one’s relatives and friends.
What sort of freedom is this that kills people, maddens men, women and children, leads to sexual assaults, destroys families, makes parents and children alien to one another, turns the old into destitute and kids into orphans and gives people sleepless nights? Today’s men and women are not humans but another species of animals, the Homo sapiens whose animal instincts are always positioned in the driver’s seat. They are in fact even worse than beasts, as beasts do not manufacture weapons, drinks and drugs for their own destruction, and their actions are simply the result of impulses and reflexes that ensure their survival. Whatever animals do is without the foreknowledge of the consequences of their actions. Man is mostly prescient of the possible adverse consequences of his actions on himself and on society. Still, his knowledge does not stop him from indulging in evil acts. The king of the jungle rules only due to his sheer physical force and commits “excesses” on fellow-animals only to fill his empty stomach, having no other option to satiate his hunger. Lions neither exploit the other inhabitants in their territories nor do they prevent them from availing themselves of the products of nature. The rulers of the world of Homo sapiens commit excesses, oppress and cheat their species-fellows for their own nefarious designs. They are worse than carnivores and saprophytes. It is not the compelling necessities but their covetousness that makes them ruthless dictators. They kill people not to fill their hungry stomachs but to perpetuate their rapacious hold on the economic and political power; their intention.
None – individual, society, corporate sector or government – can be allowed to offer the choice of death to people; freedom of choice must be limited to choice among the good. A choice between life and death cannot be given to people. A child cannot be left on a highway hoping that it will take all the necessary precautions to save itself from being crushed by fast moving vehicles. People are like children who more often than not are guided by baser instincts that suck them into all forms of life-threatening and peace-destroying habits. Addiction has hardly any regard or fondness for knowledge and sanity. Who knows better, about the evil effects of alcohol, smoking and sexual perversions, than doctors do? Still they often succumb to the temptations. A smoker, a drinker, a drug addict and a promiscuous person understands that he faces huge risks on account of his habits; but such is the effect of these on baser instincts that he finds it hard to be governed by his knowledge.
The so-called Islamic and Muslim organisations have been unable to recognise their role. Either they have been busy in reforming individuals, or are trying to strengthen Muslims as a community. There is no endeavour whatsoever to influence the direction the world is heading towards. It is high time Muslims rose to the occasion. They must clearly know that Islam aims to achieve comprehensive peace throughout the world. They have been fighting in the fields, in which they are weak rather than in those, in which they are strong. Instead of getting entangled in military warfare, which though must remain an open option wherever required, they must engage in a full-fledged ideological and intellectual aggression. And this aggression must transform into social movements that must culminate into the formation of what can be called a true civil society.
Fundamental Prohibitions must be aimed at ensuring the trio of objectives – Individual Health, Family Peace and Social Order, the three essential components of what can be called ‘Grand Peace’. When I was in Bangalore last year on a lecture tour, the one week schedule ended in a brain storming session that prepared an action plan to campaign for “Fundamental Prohibitions”. It was decided that the Fundamental Prohibitions must include at least the following broad headings:
Unhealthy Sexual Behaviour;
Promiscuity, Prostitution, Pornography, Distorted Sex-education, Misuse of Media, TV, Cinema & Internet;
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking;
Gambling, betting, lottery, match-fixing;
Crime, Rape, Murder, Riots;
Economic exploitation; and
It is high time we started a joint effort to enforce Fundamental Prohibitions. This surely requires a concerted, long, Islam-led campaign, which must try to take along all religions and all like-minded people.
[The author can be reached at email@example.com]