Islam can be the alternative. It stands for truth and the right path, which has no option. It would be wrong to attribute its birth to the coming of the last Prophet––Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him)––but Islam is in the world since the creation of universe. The very first man, Adam, was the first Prophet of Islam to be followed by Noah, Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), David (Daud), Jesus Christ to name a few. The true followers of all these Prophets during their respective ages were Muslims and not Jews, Christians etc as is generally made out or understood now. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is only the last Prophet of Islam.
The terminology Jews, Christians etc can be used for only those who did not follow the teachings of their own Prophets.
When the Quran recalls the misdemeanour and transgression of say, for example Bene Israel, the followers of Prophet Moses during his time it in fact points out to the wrongs committed by the hypocrites among them. True sometimes even the right-minded followers of Moses also got carried away by the diabolic design of Satan, but then they would soon return to the fold of Islam but the rebellious among them would not.
In the same way the hypocrites among Bene Israel connived with the ruling class of Palestine to get – what the Christians, not Muslims, believe – Jesus Christ crucified. The true followers of Christ of that age were as good Muslims as the followers of Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
Since Islam is the main ideology for the entire humanity even in this fast world of materialism, various nations – even if they are not Muslims by name – would try to follow the fundamental qualities Islam teaches – such as equality, justice, fraternity, truthfulness, honesty, etc. No religion in the world is against them. Even the non-believers and atheists appreciate and consider them as a guide to success in this mundane world.
MORE EMPHASIS ON RITUALISM
The problem with the Muslims of today is that, even many of those who consider themselves practising and devout, harp more on rituals and over-religiosity. In the process they have forgotten the great responsibility entrusted on them by Allah. Those who are embracing Islam are doing so because of the inherent quality of its teachings which is not found elsewhere and not because of the present-day Muslims.
Simplicity, modesty, humbleness, raising voice against exploitation, ostentation, and the Pharaohs of time – that is the rebellious tyrants – of the world are the basic tenets of Islam but perhaps we have left this work for others to do.
True, there are Muslims who are following the true essentials of Islam yet the propaganda machinery of those engaged in ritualism has neutralised their achievements. The very thought process has got so much blurred by discourses and debates of the age, many times over TV channels, that now unintentionally we too forget that Islam is the alternative to the existing philosophies and ways of life. This is becoming evident day by day by the failure of Communism.
The Ummah, which has been destined to be the Imam (leader) of humanity, now only knows how to follow and imitate others. When Islam was the main, and not relegated to the status of alternative, Muslims were the world power and were scientifically, educationally, politically, socially, culturally the leaders of the world. Following the teachings of the Quran they explored the world and guided the destiny of the Ummah for over 1,000 years.
But now when Muslims are down in the dump we relish in committing the mistakes made by our monarchs, nawabs and the landlords who would build palatial mosques – even if they do not offer prayers – as if they are in competition with Somnath or Golden Temple. These emperors exploited the inherent weakness for spiritualism to build grand structures for prayer so that the common masses do not challenge their illegal authority.
We relish in boasting that the prayer rooms at the John F Kennedy or Heathrow airports are only used by Muslims for offering Namaz yet we have very few examples of Muslims coming to the rescue of fellow Muslims be it in tsunami-hit Indonesia and South-East Asia or at the time of other natural calamities elsewhere in the world. These works are left for the Christian missionaries and other aid agencies. When they would adopt thousands of orphans to bring them up in their own faith some Muslims would make meek protests.
Expecting Muslims to go as volunteers in the relief and rehabilitation works in earthquake devastated Haiti or any non-Muslim world is perhaps unthinkable – as if it is not a part of Islam. Except a few, none believes that this is a part of their Islamic duty. This happened in the case of deluge caused by river Kosi in Bihar exactly two years back. Thousands got swept away and 33 lakh got displaced in the region dominated by the Muslims but only a few Muslims volunteered to go and work.
There is nothing wrong in offering prayers in those rooms at airports, but Salat used to be offered anywhere during the Prophet’s time – in the battlefield, on horseback or camel-back, desert, etc. So it can be offered anywhere, even while sitting on the seat of the plane or train. Therefore, boasting that Islam is spreading because more people are offering Salat or more mosques are being built is wrong.
Finally, yes Islam is the alternative, but it requires hard work, more dedication and ceaseless efforts to implement it in our individual and collective life.