by Mohamedarif Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
The recent events cascading the Khoja Shi’a community globally, sparked by a family’s decision to abet the actions of their son, and then not just defending it but using proxies to demand the social and cultural acceptance of the same, has sent shockwaves across the board with reactionary barrage of attacks flinging from one end of the world to another.
The cited instance, a same-gender marriage, outlawed by Islam in explicit terms vide verses of the Holy Qur’an, is just one of the many social behavioral changes that have been campaigned for and won by a Western ideology, that does not use God as its moral compass. And because it is these western ‘democracies’ that currently dominate other nations, their thrust to make others submit to their demands, can be a huge test for both societies and the nations that house them.
With the advent of neo-Islamicism, everything wrong became right by simply attaching it to the name of Allah (SWT). Those who adhere to such philosophies, while doing more harm than good to Islam and Muslims as a whole, are also in fact no longer Muslims in the literal sense of the word. Where Islamic banking disguises an industry fraught with the gains from interest, where halaal has become a marketing strategy for food sellers, regardless of their authenticity, where killing in His name is a promise to paradise; accepting same-gender marriages while still claiming to be Muslims, is a sequel to this fracas that has turned the Muslim world upside down. In this case, it is the Western-influenced ‘Muslims’ who are crying foul. What is more troubling is how leaders themselves have been caught up in this sticky issue amidst their loud denial of course. One is reminded of Marhum Mulla Asgher’s insistence that leaders must be those seen as Muttaqi otherwise the establishment can be taken in an entirely different direction. Naturally, the biggest challenge here is that if it is left up to each one of to judge the others on a scale of taqwa, a game of unending favourites may ensue.
To start with, and for the benefit of our younger readers, this event, suicidally campaigned for by a gentleman claiming to be the family’s well wisher, could be one of many in our community, others not having received such prominence or for that matter reverse defiance. What needs to be understood is that, just as for some people talking about food and imposing their ideas about all things culinary comes annoyingly naturally, there are people around us for whom their idea about sexuality and their adopted practices, must be embraced by everyone else. While retaining an outward appearance of being sophisticated and religious, breaking a major law tends to confuse others in the community, the weaker of whom may actually follow the new herd – the Neo Muslims.
Scientifically and Psychologically, these individuals have a special classification under Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, about which I had written many years ago. While religion – whether Islam, Christianity, Judaism or even pure versions of Hinduism and Budhhism, present a clear path towards self actualisation or perfection in the face of a divine being, where everything material is relegated to the peripheries; societies, driven by the profit motive and ruled by competent capitalist machineries, continuously impede movement in the upward direction of this pyramid, for if people become actualised, then it would spell a premature death for the fundamentals of consumerist economies.
This is what we therefore see – make overeating appear sensual to solicit more people into the junk food culture (religion, and now science admits that disproportionate nutrition is the main cause of many mental and physical illnesses as well as quality of life). Whereas most of these junk and fast foods are not just useless to our mental and spiritual growth, they are equally damaging to our bodies, yet the sensual appeal makes us want them more and more. Now, our lifestyles too are judged by how many times we eat fast food outside and whether we have been to this or that latest franchise in our town.
Another ploy – make it appear that women have been successfully liberated while making it socially compulsory for them, with their own will, to be the way men want them to be – without the garb of shame and conformity. The constant barrage of nudist culture that has led to so much of people’s private lives come out in the open, while constantly attaching concepts of modesty to backward and suppressive lifestyles. All religions talk about these limits, most people neglect this advice and as a result they themselves parade their own women out for everyone to see on social media, for example.
This latest scandal is the newest attempt to break ‘old’ ways of life, the capitalist is desperate that societies remain in the oral and physical stage. Over the years, whether you look at Christianity or other religions, they have been turned into passive forces in people’s lives. It is now Islam’s turn. As it is, we are already witnessing an increase in the way people treat religion as a means to gaining God’s favour, rather than one in which we submit to His will. Our charities, our devotions, our pilgrimages…everything seems to be tainted with the ugly head of worldly things – showing off, publicity, vanity, and social status, so much so that there is a section of people who wonder why Masoom (AS) say that if you are in this or that mausoleum, you will never go to hell (did they really say such things, Allah knows best), then it seems Islam favours the wealthy class. The rest are confined and damned to be burnt in the lowest pit of the fire of hell.
As years go by, there will be more horror for a true Muslim, as he or she will witness the very creed they used to call theirs, has been totally hijacked by new interpreters of this faith, a la Yazid style. Hence the advise to protect your faiths, spend and invest more time indoors with your children guiding them, nourishing their thought processes, answering their questions and preparing them for the real challenges outside their homes, not what we are doing now by unleashing them to the world where they are taught a new lesson in human rights and freedoms. Recognition of the right in the midst of a crowded population of wrong cannot be dealt with in such lethargic terms. We need training, we need His help.
How our leaders will handle this challenge will determine our fate in the medium term, but how we the parents groom our children, will ascertain a successful life not just in this temporary world, but also in the hereafter. I suggest we all go back to roots and lead conservative lives where family has a major role in our daily activity planner. Give them the knowledge you have and arm them with words of wisdom, for if you vanquish that endeared role, society will fill it for you, perhaps not in the way you thought. Tomorrow, will bring in more horrors, are we equipped to deal with them?