Following the Letter

Mohamedarif Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)

Allah (SWT), with His profound eagerness to guide humankind to eternal prosperity, and to ensure that the species passes the mundane test with flying colours, did not leave any stone unturned when it came to both implicit and explicit instructions in the Holy Qurán. And yet when we often murmur to one another that the Holy Book is a complete code of conduct, we seldom appreciate the weightiness of such a statement.

Using clear instructions and disguised sentences, Allah (SWT) reminds man from start to end, the vitality of eternal salvation over worldly taste and  greed. In typically noteworthy discourses to momineen in Nairobi, Alhaj Mohamedraza Datoo, covering an open-ended subject “Wake Up call”, recently did cover these very pointers with efficiency and fluency. He cited variously the avenues where the Book mentions parables and similes to convey to mankind the issue at hand.

In Sura 5:6, it is stated: “This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the people of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the people of the Book, revealed before your time, when you give them their dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).”

A closer look at the extensive verse will reveal various key words (Lawful Food, people of the Book, Chaste Women, Lewdness, Dowry or Bride Price and Faith). It is a fairly light minded verse which does not require much interpretation by a cleric. Even then, if Muslims, on one hand proclaiming unanimous love for Qur’an, indulge in the very things that have been categorically mentioned in such a verse, what would be one’s judgement about Muslims? This verse is just one example where we choose to exercise oblivion to the teachings of the Lord. Perhaps, most of the time, many do not even know that even such things have been mentioned.

And that is alas the biggest tragedy of our generation. Muslims themselves, having failed to learn and practice their own religion, have surrendered willfully to the vicious practices of the materialistic kingdoms of our time. When Muslims suffer at the hands of their own brethren, when there is female oppression in Muslims more than in any other religious communities (despite the highest accord of women in Islam more than other schools of faith), and when there is moderation and convenience of practice, why on earth should anyone blame an outsider for their misdemeanors against Islam and Muslims?

Then, on a trip to the UK, tucked away from any gazes, we would partake a big slice off a bif Mac (lawful?), or engage in marriages with members of the idol worshiping sects (People of the Book?), and also prefer more “modern” women over the hijab-donning woman, and expecting lewdness at times (refer the rich Arab society), (Chaste?)

So, what is the bottom line? What is all this hype about blaming outsiders when the real people to blame are we? On the Day of Judgement, there shall surely be an accounting for our active preference of luxury and pleasure of this world, of name and fame here, over any privileges that we so ardently pray for (with understanding?) during the month of Ramadhan after Dua Al Iftitah. Or are there other interpretations, such as the one that we have today seen with Jehad being to destroy and destruct, rather than to struggle and to strive? Do we now see why it is so easy for outsiders to conquer Muslims?

About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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