By Mohamedarif Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)
More than anything else needed today of all the living Muslims is the courage and capability to introspect. By this, we mean the ability and purity of judgement regarding one’s own actions and inactions.
The fabric of today’s world is built around materialist and consumerist ideals; we live in times when not only those living in the West but also those in the East, have little time for society. Each is embroiled in his or her own little thing, and it may not be wrong to say that a great number of people looking at their communities or societies today, have mixed motives, or whose driving force is other than the pleasure of Allah (SWT)
Given the teachings of the modern society, it has become a common practice for people to rationalize their wrongdoings or to justify their actions by using religious principles in their favor and as per their own convenience. One of the signs that was mentioned in last week’s issue, as a sign ushering in the last day, is that wrong and evil will be regarded as right and virtuous, and vice versa. And it so happens, that no one individual engaged in such an act will even realize it. He will continue committing this misdeed by failing to recognize what is right and what is not.
Introspection is the answer. To every action, there should be an analytical approach and understanding of why we have done so and so, or why we did not do this. Then, instead of rationalizing each action, one will be forced to review the circumstances that led him to do this or that.
It is a very common sight, for instance, for people to say that rather than engaging in gossip, I would rather watch a movie. Here is a typical example of self-rationalization, in which we appease our souls by convenience comparison, choosing the lesser of the two evils, that is!
Nowadays, with newer rulings on issues such as raffle and music, it is commonplace for one to say that my Niyyat is not to win the prize but to help the cause. While no one will ask us why we are not helping the cause until the organizers of such a task have to launch a raffle, the final judge knows the inside of our hearts, and what our true intentions are. So we can walk around masquerading the cause, but He knows it all. But if truthfully we are clean at heart, we certainly have nothing to fear.
The beating of wives is frequently used as an excuse that if let “unherded” they would bring a family a bad name. While the reasoning is correct, the statement fails to address women as human and responsible beings. It also fails to comprehend the Islamic teachings of respect and honor for women.
In one of his lectures at the Jaffery Islamic Centre, Nairobi recently, Dr. Sayyid Amjad Ali Shah of the Al Mahdi Institute in Birmingham, said that during the time of Imam Hasan (AS), history reflects that there was nothing in the society that resembled the Prophet’s true Muslim society, except for two things that the call for prayer was heard publicly, and that people were seen heading for congregational prayers. Introspection will tell us and especially among the more affluent Muslim brothers in the Middle East that this time may have come back. It is not uncommon to see wealthy Arabs wooing women in public, but heading for prayers as soon as Adhaan is proclaimed. What about us?
In a recent documentary on the Discovery Channel, it was revealed that a Brahmin King by the name of Raja, who lived a life of dual personality. His successful empire demanded that he continue conquering neighboring states so that others do not digest his own empire, and for this he had to kill. His belief in God bit his conscience for doing so. So, a clever priest, advised him to continue doing so while building as many temples as possible as a means of washing off the sins of war. This, he did, and hundreds of temples mushroomed during his rule. Introspection might reveal similar personalities amongst us!