Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)
Some of those whom Allah had blessed with wealth and resources thought Islam meant going to Hajj over and over and over again as if Baitullah meant, may God Almighty forgive me for uttering such nonsense, Ma’adallah, that it was the place where God lived.
They forgot that Hajj was a Fareedah – a requirement – only once in their life. Thereafter it was extra stuff that you do when you have nothing more important or urgent to do in your life such as, for example, the following:
Taking the Qur'an to every home and heart that needs it – and which one does not.
Feeding every mouth that was hungry.
Clothing everybody that was naked.
Protecting every orphan.
Ensuring honourable remarriage options and opportunities to every widow.
Making sure every child – male as well as female – received the best education possible.
Stopping every oppressor.
Guaranteeing the rights of every oppressed.
Ensuring peace and security to every human being that was fearful.
Protecting every animal from abuse.
Saving every forest from wanton destruction.
Keeping everybody of water safe from pollution.
Safeguarding every natural resource from waste or abuse.
Keeping every people and region of the world from domination and exploitation by others.
Keeping earth and its environment safe from pollution.
Reshaping a dysfunctional and archaic educational system.
Working to usher in more freedoms to their own people.
Doing something, anything, to relieve the chokehold of feudal structures from the throats of Muslims.
Working to break the stranglehold of usury, interest and Riba on the lives of those around them.
Making arrangements to provide interest-free loans for the people in their communities and neighbourhoods – both Muslim and non-Muslim.
Trying to replace the tyrannies in their societies with political structures and institutions that were more open, responsive and accountable to “The People.”
Working tirelessly to replace the various dictatorships in their midst by individuals and power arrangements that were freely elected by a well-informed citizenry.
You can add your own list of priority items here in the light of the Qur'an and Hadith – And Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And common sense, for, a great deal of Islam is common sense.
These are all compulsory things in the sense that they are all required of all Muslims. They are thus moral, social and “religious” obligations. And they are political and survival and success imperatives in any society.
But these pseudo super-pious Muslims in search of a purer ‘Aqeedah and a clearer and more direct shot at Jannat keep boosting up their credentials with multiple extra-Hajj and other supererogatory rituals, while forgetting the obligations they have toward the widows, the hungry, the needy, the poor and the orphans in their midst.
And they forget those groaning under the burden of crushing and impossible debts right before their eyes. They forget that helping people to pay off their legitimate debts is an Islamic obligation.
They ignore the most pressing social and political issues in their societies. They develop myopia about the dictatorial, tyrannical and corrupt governments and power structures that dominate their lands.
They rarely if ever stop to shed a tear or move a muscle about reshaping the shamefully derelict educational systems that prevail among them.
They see Riba – or interest-based economies and dealings engulf them from every side and do little to change that state of affairs. They see the poor and the hungry and the sick claw at their clothes constantly and brush them aside and keep on walking.
In a place like India they see a curse like Dowry dominate Muslim social life and blight the marriages of young Muslim maids and the lives of their hapless parents, and they pretend as if they were not even aware of it.
They see near-total illiteracy define the culture of places like Afghanistan, and they do not shed a tear. Nor do they lift a finger to change that situation. In places like Pakistan they see and live in the middle of a gaping social, educational and cultural black hole where a dynamic, most up-to-date and creative educational system should have been, and it does not bother them.
They see oppressive feudal social and agrarian structures dominate places like Pakistan, reducing hundreds of millions of Muslim men, women and children to generational serfdom and slavery in modern age and sowing the seeds of corruption everywhere, and they do not say or do anything about it.
They see Muslim resources plundered and squandered by Muslim rulers and their non-Muslim cronies, masters and mentors and they pretend it was not happening. They seem to hold the view that it was not their business.
Their oil – Muslim oil – ran and powered the world and acted as the life-blood of modern civilization for decades. Yet that oil sold for $2 a barrel for the longest time. The money from that oil was used to support a life of personal, moral and social decadence on the widest scale by those in power in their societies.
And to service and sustain the faltering economies of the lands and societies that controlled and protected them.
That money was used to turn their lands into slave-holding pens and concentration-style labour camps of the like the world had never seen in centuries using mostly cheap labour from impoverished Muslim lands, while “expatriates” with second- and third-rate qualifications and dubious pasts and questionable motives and intentions lived like lords and princes in their midst as supervisors, guests and visitors.
They see Muslim land after Muslim land lapse in the grips of the worst political and socio-cultural tyranny and dictatorship in centuries and they do not even complain or protest about it. Not even in private. Not even, it would appear, to their God. They simply go about their lives as if it was all business as usual.
To many of these super-Muslims it was all about so-called ‘Aqeedah and ‘Amal and it had nothing to do with common sense or reality or rationality or everyday practicality, things that constitute the very essence of Islam in the Qur'an and in the life of the most blessed Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
These pseudo super-pious are thus quite comfortable, in fact quite smug, in their imagined supererogatory refuge. They seek refuge in what they consider to be the “religion” of Islam from the very Deen of Islam that Allah sent into this world to help human beings run and mange the affairs of this world in the best possible manner.
[Write to the author at Drsyedpasha@aol.com. Also visit www.IslamicSolutions.Com and Listen to Pasha Hour International.]