By Abdul Hamid Lachporia
Alhamdulillahi wa kafaa, was-Salatu was-salamu
` alaa `ibaadihi-lladheena Stafaa.
“And give glad tidings (O Muhammad) unto those who
believe and do good deeds, that theirs are
Gardens underneath which rivers flow”.
[Surahtul Al Baqara verse 25]
“Oo see kum Ibad’allah Bi Taqwa’llah”
Beloved People of Imaan! There is only one way for our salvation and that is to acknowledge that we can only attain true piety by making the necessary changes to our lives as demanded by Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala Who invites us to examine our lives by the crucial criteria of Imaan and Islam. What appears to be the decay of Islam is, in fact, nothing more than the decay and bankruptcy of our hearts that have become too small and too lazy to respond to the Divine Call that Almighty Allah has been made crystal clear to us in of verse 11 of Surahtul Al Rad:
“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people
until they change it themselves (with their own souls).”
This verse explicitly informs us of two changes. The very first is the changing of a community [“Allah will not change a people’s lot”], which implies change in the conditions of a community, its life, its social superstructure and its external manifestations. This does not occur without change in man’s inner content. Therefore, the basic change is that which takes place in the consciousness of a community, and the change that follows it as consequence is that which takes place in its qualitative, historical, and social state.
And it is obvious that “by change in their own souls” is meant a change in a community’s psyche, a change involving the general inner human content of a community, as an Ummah, as “a blessed tree perpetually yielding fruit.” Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala is not intent on punishment. He created man virtuous and pure: He gave him intelligence and knowledge; He surrounded him with all sorts of instruments of His Grace and Mercy. If, in spite of all this, man distorts his own will and goes against Almighty Allah’s Will, yet is Allah’s forgiveness open to him if he will take it.
It is only after he has made his own sight blind and changed his own nature or soul away from the beautiful mould in which Almighty Allah formed it, that His Wrath will descend on him and the favourable position in which Allah placed him will be changed. When once punishment comes, there is no turning it back. None of these things that he relied upon – other than Almighty Allah Jallah Wa’ala – can possibly protect him. The inner spiritual content of an Ummah, not of this or that individual, is the real criterion and basis of super structural changes through the course of history.
Islam and the Most Glorious Qur’an believe that the two processes go hand in hand. That is, the process of man’s development of his inner content – his being, thought, will, and aspirations, which constitute his inner makeup – necessarily goes hand in hand with the external superstructure, and no separation between the external and the internal structures can conceivably exist, except when the external structure is shaky and about to collapse.
Hence, should you be committed to the Holy Shari’ah of Islam and to the duties of a slave and unsparing in your efforts to obey and worship; should you make a sincere effort to make the necessary changes to your life; should you not rely on your works and consider them insignificant; should your hope rest on Almighty Allah’s Mercy, Grace and Bounty. Should you consider yourself entitled to every kind of blame, reproof and wrath on account of your deeds; and should your sole reliance be the mercy and generosity of Almighty Allah – should you be prepared to make such necessary changes, then, Alhumdoelillah, you are indeed in possession of the state of hope.
Beloved Ummatul Muslimeen! This is the reason why Islam names the process of developing a healthy inner content “the greater Jihad” [al-Jihad al-Akbar], and the activity of building a healthy external structure as the “lessr Jihad” [al-Jihad al-Asghar]. Then it links the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad, considering the former to lose its intrinsic worth, content, and the ability to bring about a real change in the historical and social domains when divorced from the greater Jihad.
As an Ummah honoured with the noble title of Khair-al-Uman [the best of all people], let me implore myself and all of you to guard the wealth that we possess in Islam. We must not lose it at any cost. If only we fully realised how short the life of this world of glitter and glamour has been and how long is the life that is to come and through the difficult stages that we are to pass in the Aghirah, our hair would stand on end in awe. We will be the greatest losers if we gain everything but lose the wealth of faith. According to a common explanation of verse 11 of Surahtul Al-Rad, no positive revolution appears among a people unless they themselves do not correct conditions around them to bring about that positive revolution. There is a very popular Urdu couplet by the poet Hali that carries this very sense:
“To this day, Allah has never changed the condition of a people
who have no plan of changing their condition themselves.”
The Most Holy Qur’an presents one out of several situations that may arise due to the separation between the process of external building and that of inner making. Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala Most Exalted and Glorious informs us in verses 204 and 205 of Surahtul Al-Baqara:
“There is the type of man whose speech about this earthly life may dazzle thee,
and he calls Allah to witness about what is in his heart; yet he is the most contentious
of enemies. When he turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through
the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah loveth not mischief.”
Here the Most Holy and Noble Qur’an points out that when the process of change does not penetrate into one’s heart and the depths of one’s soul, when one does not build for oneself a righteous self, it would never be possible for him or her to speak righteously. It is possible for the righteous word to transform into a righteous social structure only when it springs from a heart regenerated by the values that it signifies. Otherwise, it remains a hollow utterance without meaning or content. Thus it is the ‘heart’ that gives meaning to words, content to ideals, and direction and goal to outward development.
Had Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala Most Exalted not bestowed on us the principle of free will and were He not every instant to endow us with life, resources and energy, we would never be able to do anything. For it is His unchanging will that has determined that we should perform volitional acts according to free will, thereby fulfilling the role He has assigned to us. He has willed that we should construct our own future, good or bad, bright or dark, in accordance with our own discernment and desires. Our volitional acts are then connected both with ourselves and with Almighty Allah.
We can use the resources that He has placed at our disposal in full awareness either to uplift and improve ourselves as a single united brotherhood in accordance with a correct choice, or to plunge into disunity, corruption, sin, and self-indulgence. It remains of course true that the scope of our volitional acts lies within a fixed framework; power is from Almighty Allah, and the use made of it, from us.
We are free either to obey or disobey the commands of our conscience. Each and every one of us is the master of his or her soul and will. We may choose rectitude and purity, unity or division, liberate ourselves from the bondage of lust and endless desires, make chivalrousness our motto, abstain from injustice and cruelty or make the necessary changes in order to change our ways, our lives, our environment and our attitudes as true Muslims. These qualities and virtues are within our reach and we may adorn ourselves with them through persistent efforts.
We may also take an opposite path of disunity, the path of decadence and vice, and dive into the deep ocean of variegated lusts and pleasure. Instead of growing in spiritual stature under the weight of the most tragic onslaughts against us by the avowed enemies of Islam, we appear to have sunk to almost unbelievable depths of disunity as an Ummah. We are voiceless and the so-called leadership throughout Muslim nation states has refused to blink an eyelid to bring an end to the genocide and suffering of the Ummah.
The failure to do so is an indication of the level of their faith in Islam. Everything that Islam stands for has been utterly belied by their recent behaviour. Is this our true faith? How sad! There would be no sense even in hoping for a betterment of a nation’s outward condition for that will never come about by a miracle. Why? Because Almighty Allah has made this crystal clear to us in verse 11 of Surahtul Al-Rad:
“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people
until they change it themselves (with their own souls).”
Alal Muslimeena Jami’ah! This is a hard and immutable law, and there is no going away from it. If, therefore, our present debasement could be taken as revealing the true face of our nation, there would be no room for the expectation that things could ever take a turn for the better. But this is just the point: we cannot believe that all these shameful things happenings to us reveal the true face of our Ummah. We cannot believe that we, the sons and daughters of Islam, are truly as worthless and as disunited as portrayed by the enemies of Islam.
We cannot and must never ever believe it – for the very feeling of defeat that now fills so many of us at the sight of our suffering proves that our vision of spiritual truths has not yet extinguished: and as long as the vision of Islam and Imaan is alive in a nation, the nation itself is alive. It may be well that our present conditions throughout the world today is but the condition of a new start, the deeper darkness that comes before the real dawn, the chaos out of which new leaders are born.
But there can be no new beginning, no new dawn and no new starlight unless we realise how disunited we are as an Ummah. If we stand united as an Ummah in these days of genocide, hatred, Fithnah, and subjugation and if we show greater tolerance towards each other with consciousness of purposes and honest determination, then Insha’Allah, our long cherished dream of a single Ummah united under the banner of Taqwa and Tawhid will succeed despite the hatred being perpetrated against the Din of Haqq by its avowed enemies.
But, if we remain disunited and persist in our senseless squabbles, nobody will be happier than our enemies for that would be a victory for them. The circumstances in which the Muslim Ummah presently find themselves, the odds against them, the Fithnah of the enemies within and without – all these are tests and proofs of the quality of belief. For it is not sufficient for believers to claim, “We believe”, and than suppose that the claim would not be put to the test: [Surahtul Al-Ankabut verse 2].
“Do people imagine that they will be left (to live in ease) because
they say “We believe”, and will not be tested with hardship?”
The Muslim Ummah are passing through a very difficult, uneasy and uncertain time. We are witnessing Fithnah, hatred, death, deception and destruction in many parts of the world. In an increasingly interdependent world, people of conscience need to be a voice for justice, and say, enough is enough. It’s time to bring madness and insanity to an end. Otherwise, history will not forgive us. Amidst all this, one united cry echoes in all parts of the world, calling to the banner of Islam, crying out for Islamic unity, Islamic brotherhood, peace and Justice based upon the Holy Shari’ah of Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala’meen.
And Almighty Allah knows best.
All Praise belongs to Almighty Allah, for His Majesty and His Beauty.
The Truth is from Allah. The mistakes are mine and I stand to be corrected.
Baarak Allaahu Feekum wa-sal-Allaahu wa-Sallam ‘alaa
Nabiyyina Muhammad sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.
Was Salamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.
Abdul Hamid Lachporia