In the somber world of today, few enjoy true happiness and serenity. We see turmoil and chaos everywhere. Everything seems to be in a state of anarchy. In a global village, people stay aloof. They care not for the priorities of others, and are concerned with molding their own whimsical fate according to their fey desires.
Unfortunately, this scenario prevails in Muslim communities, as well. Many Muslim communities find the source of this anarchy inside the soul while others consider it as merely an affliction of the flesh.
Both are false. The average Muslim considers foreign powers blameworthy for his own inefficacy. He knows not that the problem lies not in his stars, but in his own actions that he is still an underling.
Over the annals, many reformist movements have started, taken on a lead, and then fallen back into the shadows. None of them could produce the effect desired, for most of them bred in the waning political climax and died when delivered the coup de grace by some insolent dictator.
The situation needs a clear and unequivocal assessment. Islam is not simply a religion commanding the Muslim to resign to the odd whims and fancies of fates. It has no need of any reformer, for it conveys the persona of the Ideal Man as the role model for the whole community.
One wonders, therefore, at the state of Muslim societies. Many Muslim societies adhere to an ideology whose spirit is foreign to Islam; yet they name it as Islam. Yet others trudge on with the notion that abnegation of secularism is the only way to achieve God’s grace—even though it may defy all bounds of reason.
The young reformer, therefore, finds himself in a difficult position. He finds the society full of flaws, and feels that it is his responsibility to find a panacea. He treads on thinking along those lines, and often ends up blaming his religion for the ills prevalent in his society. He reaches a cul de sac and finally ends up either as a part of the system he had so vehemently opposed or as a pessimist.
Muslims need no new guide. They need no new code of law. Muslims need only to go back to the religion they have left while meandering, to the book that lies dusty in their shelves, to the code of law that gave a plebian more rights than the caliph or the qadi. They need only to step back 14 centuries and find a comprehensive code whose validity is perpetual. They need only a reformation of the soul. They need Islam; the only religion which is free of jingoistic propaganda, the religion which promotes fraternity and brotherhood, the religion which advocates equality, the religion which recombines the secular and religious aspects of man’s life in a fine mélange.
They don’t need to simply read the Qur’an; they need to understand it. What they need is the creative ability to think for themselves and then reflect in accordance with what this great book of Allah teaches and communicates to them. They need not an ecclesiastical commentary; they only need to read what the Qur’an actually tells them to do in order to attain eternal bliss.
They need not a panacea, for they already have the Divine promise that in remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.
They need not to wander on the lustrous path of destiny; they need to implement what is theirs.
The parchments have dried, and the pens have been closed, but the Muslim wanders listlessly among the gay bazaars and gleaming shops, trying to find joy.
The message has been conveyed. “Remember Me and I shall remember you”, says the Book in Surah Al-Baqara, but he tries to discover the message in the words of scholars who can only reason by the mind.
The task before the Muslim reformer is enormous. He needs to find his own Self. Only then can he hope to gain an audience with the tired, bored people who slumber in mosques and try to block that pitiful note in which the muezzin delivers the Adhan.
We need only to reform ourselves, and the society will reform on its own. The individual makes the society. He can only hope to reform the society once he finds his own self following the Message of Allah: For believers are those who when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and they hear His signs rehearsed, find their faith strengthened. They put all their trust in their Lord.
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