Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)
Islam cannot afford the luxury of caving in to pressure from its professed adherents.
Islam is not a mammoth organisation that is constantly worried about survival and therefore must retain its worldly viability at all costs. Islam is not a membership structure, whose existence is threatened every time the membership volume flags.
To the contrary, Islam is a do-it-yourself Deen. That means it is a simple message of personal hope, practice and piety that any man or woman can practice and preach in the privacy of their own hearts as well as in the public glare of the mosque and the market.
Islam, therefore, does not dilute or compromise its teachings to retain or attract membership. It lays out what is right and wrong in fairly clear terms and allows people to make up their own minds.
That is why in Islam there is no such thing as “Halal” beer or “Halal” pork. As a result, the Islamic spirit is not served by Muslims, or anyone else, trying to market or consume non-alcoholic substitutes for beer by calling them “Halal” beer.
Alcohol carries with it a simple count of Haraam or forbidden. Those who imbibe it commit a single sin. But inventing or selling or drinking alcohol substitutes that are made to pass for the forbidden spirits is much worse.
It undermines the basic validity of Islamic teachings. And it opens the door to the charge of fraud and pre-Christian Philistinism. It is a throwback to the suspect ways of the Pharisees and the Money Lenders that corrupted the Temple in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, May God bless him.
ISLAM ROLLS WITH THE PUNCHES AND RISES UP STRONG EVERY TIME
As a result, whenever pressure builds on Islam from those who would either disregard or tamper with its teachings, Islam rises up fresh and strong every time. Rather than change its ways, it stands tall and proud as a beacon of hope for the lost and as a point of return for the wayward.
That means Islam would continue to frown on women roaming outside the privacy of their homes in T-shirts: regardless of the waist and bust sizes of those women; regardless of whether or not those T-shirts are wet; and regardless of whether the wearers of those form-fitting, contour-enhancing T-shirts live in Cairo or Karachi or in Australia, London or Hawaii.
And regardless of whether this happens in the year 2000 or 4000, if the world lasts that long. And regardless of how unattractive or objectionable it makes Islam in the eyes of however many people in this world.
Nevertheless, will some of those who profess Islam continue to engage in these dubious practices?
Yes, they would. Without a doubt.
But most of them will not want to change Islam. And most of them would know that what they are doing is wrong and most of them would leave it at that. And Islam would march on with or without them the way it always had – firm and immutable in the core of its teachings.
WILL SOME MUSLIMS MISBEHAVE? SURELY THEY WILL!
Will some people claiming to be Muslim drink, engage in fornication or adultery, gamble and backbite or miss Fajr Salaat? Yes, they most surely will.
Will some women from Muslim households go out on streets or go to the beach wearing T-shirts? They are quite likely to.
But will any of these forbidden or questionable practices find legitimacy in Islam or alter the norms of Islamic belief or behavior?
Today, tomorrow or at anytime in future?
That means Islam would not brook Zuhr or Asr Salat (prayers?) being reduced from the mandatory four units to one Rak’at or unit.
Nor would Islam allow the Salat (prayers?) to be read or performed in any language other than in original Arabic.
Nor would Islam allow the fast of the month of Ramadan to be cut down in length from dawn to lunch time.
It never did in the past, and it never could in future.
Thus, regardless of who follows or does not follow Islam, the Islamic teachings themselves will continue strong, firm and unaltered, as humanity’s most cherished and needed possession on earth.
That is why they have God Almighty’s eternal protection behind them.
GOD ALMIGHTY’S COMMITMENT TO PROTECT ISLAM
Islam is God’s gift to humanity and he has undertaken to protect and preserve it for all time so that humanity will have some place to turn to when it really has its back to the wall.
Islam is the special arrangement that God has put in place to be the guardian of true faith and practice on earth for all of humanity for all time to come. It is the standard against which all other human ideas and teachings are compared and validated.
And that is the story of the straight path of Islam in a nutshell: Islam came into this world to protect all other divine “religions,” as their adherents call them. As a result, what Islam seeks to do is to change the world while itself remaining pure and unchanging in its core beliefs, norms and practices.
This is one of the great miracles of Islam. For, no system of human invention can conceivably pass this test.
It is added proof, if I may use that expression, that Islam is indeed a divine and not a human system and that it came directly from God Almighty.