, by SYED HUSAIN PASHA
Everyone knows it is open season on Islam. Of course, turkey and deer season in some parts of the world is not too far off either.
That means anyone from any background, and proceeding from any combination of motives, is free to shoot their mouth in any direction they please on Islam and things Islamic. And they will be none the worse for doing that. And that includes friends, enemies and innocent bystanders.
That is why the word Shari’ah gets bandied about a lot these days. By friends and foes alike.
The result is there is a great amount of what some people would call Collateral Damage.
In many instances, you and I, the ordinary people, are an inevitable part of that Collateral Damage. And so is our world – all the innocent, decent, well-intentioned people everywhere.
That is partly why God started his message to the world with a clarion call to everyone everywhere to go and get educated first.
“Read!” said God to the world in the Qur’ān before he said anything else. Iqra’! is the word in Arabic.
For, understanding God’s word requires not only purity of the body but also enlightenment of the mind. A clear mind and a clean soul are prerequisites to get a clear sense of what God is saying to us.
So, when people are educated; when they have worked very, very hard to develop their mind and their knowledge of the world on the one hand and their knowledge of God’s word on the other hand; and when their souls are touched by God’s light; those people understand that so far as the Qur’ān is concerned, expressions such as Deen, Islam, and Shari’ah all pretty much mean the same thing.
They all mean God’s chosen way for human beings for a Good Life – Hayyat Tayyibah – in this world.
And Democracy, in its broadest and most comprehensive sense, is an inescapable part of Allah’s Deen or Shari’ah or Islam.
Given the fact that human beings know no other civilized way of living on earth in relative peace and prosperity, how could it be otherwise?
What is more, it was also Shari’ah that God laid down in the Old Testament and the New Testament and in the message that he sent to Abraham and Noah, may God bless them.
Here, how about letting God Almighty speak to you directly in the Qur’ān:
Shara’a lakum minaddeeni maa wasswaa bihee Noohan walladhee awuhayinaa ilayika wa maa wasswayinaa bihee Ibraheema wa Musa wa Isa An Aqweemuddeena wa laa tatafarraqwoo feehi (Shrua 42: 13).
Paraphrase: He gave you as part of the Deen the same Shari’ah that he gave to Noah, and which we required from Abraham and Moses and Jesus, at the core of which was the message that says establish God’s way on earth, and do not become a prey to dissension and disagreement on it (42:13.)