The road-map for the paradise and the road-map for the hell
Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal
Muslims’ past glory
Islam’s core agenda is to guide humans towards successes both here and in the hereafter. Entitlement for paradise is the ultimate success. And the ultimate failure takes one into the hellfire. For attaining success, conceptual cum ideological purification is the most important issue that needs to be addressed first. Doing good deeds and detesting bad deeds owe entirely to such purification. It is indeed the seed of attaining all highness in life. No amount of material gains, physical health or scientific progress help attain that. Such conceptual enlightenment is also indispensable to build a sound society and civilization. It works as a key to get real success in life. The promise of success comes from Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la. So it is revealed: “Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself”–(Sura As-Shams, verse 9). But such purification comes not from good foods or drinks but through Divine knowledge. And the Holy Qur’an is the only source of such knowledge.
The key to bring revolution in religious beliefs, concepts, deeds, and character lie in the hand of individuals. It is indeed the highest responsibility of a man and a woman to engage in that revolution. It decides his or her ultimate fate in life. Whether he or she wants to take the path towards paradise or towards the hellfire is his or her own choice. The most crucial test of humans’ wisdom indeed takes place here. Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la reveals, “Certainly Allah does not change the affairs of a people unless they change themselves.”–(Sura Ar-R’ad, verse 11). So, Allah Sub’han wa Ta’la delegates the responsibility entirely to humans to decide his or her own fate. An infinite life in paradise is the gift for the right decision. And hellfire is for the wrong. However, Allah Sub’han wa Ta’la has given humans the necessary hearing, seeing, thinking, and learning ability to take the right decision. In this regard, education is the real change-maker. Its influence is decisive. Humans could add invaluable worth to their own wisdom, ability, morality, and character only through it. In fact, the highest value-adding process for people doesn’t work in industries, rather through education. Hence, from day one of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an, reading (iqra) which implies accessing the Holy Qur’an –the highest source of knowledge on the earth becomes the first obligation on every man and woman. Other obligations like five-time prayer, month-long fasting, giving charity, and hajj came more than a decade later. Hence, whoever ignores this obligation, ignores Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s prescription and methodology.
The Qur’anic knowledge worked as the most powerful tool to add the highest possible values to the early Muslims. In those early days, the Muslims didn’t have any school, college or university, but they had the verses of the Holy Qur’an in their hearts. So every Muslim became a full-time student and a full-time teacher of Islam. As a result, every mosque and every Muslim house turned into an effective learning institution. Because of such sacred educational inputs, the early Muslims grew up with a purified mind and soul and could attain the status of the best people in the whole of human history. Did any ruler of a large country –larger than the whole of Europe make any journey of more than five hundred miles only with a single servant and a camel? Even a petty political leader or minister of any country doesn’t walk alone on the street. He walks with cronies around him. Did any head of a state ever alternate the ride on the camel with his servant? Did any ruler ever pull the rope of the camel while his servant is seated on it? The early Muslim rulers made the history of such practices. Caliph Omar (R) did it while he made his journey from Medina to Jerusalem to take the city from the Christian dwellers without any war. Unlike others, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions not only talked about humanity, equality, morality, and justice but also practiced those lofty principles. Although the early Muslims didn’t build monuments like palaces, pyramids or other wonders, but could raise humans with the highest moral quality. Because of them, Islam could raise the finest civilization on the earth.
In no other segment of human history, men and women received such a huge uplift in their morality. What those Muslims could practice 14 hundred years ago, the non-Muslims couldn’t think about that even a hundred years ago. It is significant to note that the equality of man and women, the inheritance of assets by the daughters, the freedom of the slaves, and the rule of law are not be included in the menu of social reformations in other faiths. Therefore, the occupation of foreign lands, the enslavement of the weak, the stealing of humans from the African continent, and the ethnic cleansing of the occupied lands was the savagery not only of the ancient Greeks and the Romans but also of the modern European imperialists. Burning down the Persian capital Persepolis by Alexander –the great icon of western values still works as a legacy closely followed by the modern protagonists of western civilization. So, the US Army could raze to the ground the historic cities of Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deira’zour, Ramadi, and many others without an iota of remorse. Hence, the ethnic cleansing of the Muslims from Spain, the Red Indians from America, the Aborigines from Australia, the Maoris from New Zealand, and putting Jews in the gas chamber could be practiced in the west with huge jubilation. Even the colonial occupation and barbarity are celebrated as marks of the glorious history of the west.
The Muslims also conquered many lands in Asia, Africa, and Europe; but never indulged in ethnic or religious cleansing in those occupied lands. This is why even after more than 6 hundred years of Muslim rule in India, Spain, and the Balkan states, the Muslims preferred to stay minority rather than launching any religious or ethnic cleansing. But this has not been the case with the Christian rule in Europe, the Americas, the Philippines, and many African countries. The native people of those occupied lands were coerced to Christianity within decades. Because of Muslims’ tolerance towards other faiths, a large number of non-Muslims could live peacefully even in Islam’s heartlands like Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt. Islam brought not only a faith change, rather moral, cultural, and civilizational change. Such qualitative change of humans still remains unsurpassed in the whole of human history.
Physical strength owes to healthy foods and drinks. But the moral strength owes to truthful knowledge and correct understanding. In the annals of human history, the Holy Qur’an indeed proved to be the best source of moral and spiritual nutrition. The relentless current decline of the Muslims also proved its importance. The more they detach from the Holy Qur’an, the more they go downhill. Since the Muslims stand deeply detached from the Holy Qur’an, no amount of petrodollars, economic wellbeing, and numerical numbers could arrest their ongoing decline. In fact, without understanding the Holy Qur’an, the moral and spiritual growth of humans is unthinkable. The Holy Qur’an showed its miracles in the life of the early Muslims. It was the first book in the Arabic language, but within a short span of time, they could develop a huge wealth of knowledge in diverse fields. In fact, whatever glorious achievements the Muslims achieved in the fields of Tafseer, hadees, fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy, and moral science, are the works of those early Muslims. They studied and translated a huge number of books written by non-Muslims. Even the works of the Greek scholars reached the west through their translation.
The mother of the holy revolution
Islam teaches how to prioritize issues in life. It also teaches that the first thing must be done first. Hence education got the first priority. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) didn’t make any political issues out of the socio-economic backwardness of the Arabs. Nor did he prioritize revolutionizing the Arab economy. Rather he brought a 180-degree shift in the conceptual model -a shift in people’s thinking paradigm. The Prophet (peace be upon him) made his followers fully focused on akhera (the hereafter). When such a shift was accomplished, the revolution took a gigantic shape. Such a shift in focus indeed worked as the mother of an overwhelming revolution in people’s thoughts, behavior, deeds, attitude, values, culture, spirituality, and politics. The same people, who were the arch-enemy of Islam and use to bury their daughters alive, became the protectors of people and the devoted khalifa (viceroy) of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la. As a result, promoting the sovereignty of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la and practicing His sharia became the way of their life.
Faith in the hereafter worked as a key to bring such a paradigm shift in the early Muslims’ minds. The aim of succeeding in the hereafter worked as a powerful inspiration to compete in doing good deeds. They spent their wealth, invested their intelligence, and even sacrificed their lives to enjoin the good and annihilate the wrong. Their all efforts and sacrifices were only to please Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la. They considered living on this planet as if sitting in an exam hall, and a good score was reckoned as a key to get more rewards in the hereafter. Therefore, in order to get a good score, a true Muslim spends every moment of his life doing good deeds. Such an akhera–focused belief opened the flood gates of good deeds in the Muslim World. They took the message of the Holy Qur’an to the doorstep of people in many Asian, African, and European countries. In fact, such an understanding of life and Islamic mission added a tremendous speed to the civilization-making endeavors of the early Muslims.
Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la has His own vision vis-à-vis the world and mankind. Such a vision has been repeated several times in the Holy Quran to embed it inside the Muslims’ minds. In that vision, there is no place for other non-Islamic visions and ideologies. The Holy Qur’an reveals, “He it is Who has sent forth His Apostle with the task of spreading guidance and the religion of truth to that end that He makes it prevail over all other religions..” -(Sura As-Saf, ayah: 9, Surah Fatah, ayat:28; Sura Taubah, ayah: 33). As an indispensable part of faith, the prime duty of a Muslim is to align himself with the Vision of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la. Hence, a Muslim’s aim of survival and his educational need is altogether different from that of a non-Muslim. A factory worker or a farmer can’t do the job of an army man, he needs special education, mentoring, and training for that. In the Holy Qur’an, the Muslims are described as the army of Allah. So they need special education and skills to do the job properly. The Qur’anic knowledge plays the most pivotal role in Muslims’ education. So, the role of the Qur’anic education is crucial in Muslim life. But the secularisation of education has made it almost impossible to generate such skills in Muslims.
Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala wants the victory of His religion only in the interest of mankind. Such a victory is indeed the most effective way as well as the only way to save people from the hellfire. Only this way the right path towards paradise can be shown to the people. Only then, a civilization can take a heavenly turn. To play such a crucial life-saving civilizational role, Islam can’t work in solitude. Its works must not be restricted within the confines of mosques, madrasas, and houses, rather they must go all-encompassing to the highest point. To fulfill such a Divine vision, the whole statecraft, the politics, the culture, the educational institutions, the judiciaries, the army, the police, and other executive agencies must be integrated with the Divine mission -the mission of enjoining the good and eradicating the wrong. During the rule of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the early rightly guided caliphs, all such state and non-state institutions rendered their full and deliberate support to promote such Divine vision and mission. Otherwise, the job would have remained un-accomplished. Such a practice indeed stands as the most important legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that could shape the world as per the Divine roadmap. The Muslims possess no other option but to follow that great prophetic legacy.
As per prophetic legacy, incorporating every individual and every state-institution in the service of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la’s vision is not only a political need but also an Islamic obligation. Any detachment or non-compliance not only forfeits one’s Muslimness but also showcases his rebellion. A Muslim enjoys no other option but to align with Allah SWT’s vision and fulfill the Islamic obligation. But the secularist forces in the Muslim World stand against the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him)’s legacy. They keep the statecraft and the powerful state institutions captive in their own hands to undo any attempt of Islam’s revival. If they foresee any imminent defeat, they even take the help of non-Muslim mentors. The secularists in the Muslim World thus work as the enemy inside. They oppose the role of Islam in shaping their fate as well as the fate of mankind. The secularists thus obstruct the Islamisation of the state and individuals. They put obstacles against fulfilling Allah Sub’han wa Ta’la’s vision. Awfully, almost all of the Muslim countries currently stand occupied by these internal enemies.
The mother of all failures
The most awful failure of today’s Muslims doesn’t owe to the failure in industry, business, or agriculture, but in education. Educational failure is indeed the mother of all other failures. Such failure has caused them to forget or ignore even the main purpose of their creation. Hence they failed to carry out even the most fundamental duty as Muslims. Because of that, many people have even retreated back to the old jahiliyyah –the era of ignorance. Due to such a retreat, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la’s sharia law –as revealed in the Holy Qur’an has been replaced by the kufr law (law of the apostates) in almost all the Muslim countries. To put in practice such manifest falsehood in the Muslim countries, the enemies didn’t need to launch any war. The new native converts to the old jahiliyyah did the job eloquently. Like any physical disease, jahiliyyah –the most lethal illness in the conceptual premise has indeed shown its awful impact. Not only does it damage people’s moral fabric, but also kills iman (the belief). As a result, instead of pan-Islamic brotherhood, the culture of tribal feuds, wars, disunity, disintegration, and rebellion against Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la’s sharia laws thrived in almost all Muslim countries. Islam survives only as lifeless rituals.
For moral and spiritual growth, learning the truth and de-learning falsehood must go hand in hand and must happen all the time. A Muslim needs constant renewal of his relation with Allah Sub’han wa Ta’la, otherwise, death of his belief and spirituality is inevitable. Five times prayers, month-long fasting, zakat, hajj, regular study of the Holy Qur’an, and giving charity are the parts of the Islamic curriculum to prepare a believer for the assigned job. But the devils have their own institutions and methodology to take them away from Islam. Immoral practices like prostitution, gambling, drinking wine, pornography, vulgarity, and obscenity are not the only vehicles to pull people out of the Islamic roadmap. In fact, educational institutions work as the main and the most powerful tools to do such harm. Hence with the increasing number of secular educational institutions, the process of de-Islamization has got a very high momentum all over the Muslim World. So, in most of the Muslim countries, each day the tide of jahiliyyah is getting stronger and the Muslims are getting more away from the Divine path. The impact of such de-Islamization is so explicit that most Muslims have already de-learned the Divine narrative that they are the people who have been appointed by Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la as His viceroy (khalifa). What could be worst betrayal than dishonoring such a Divine assignment? It indeed amounts to dishonoring Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la’s vision. It is also an ugly betrayal against Muslim’s own mission.
The word “Muslim” carries a very meaningful historical connotation. It doesn’t mean merely to be a believer, rather a very committed actor to fulfill the Wish of Allah Allah Sub’hana wa Ta. His or her role is not to invent any new roads, but to follow the Qur’anic roadmap (siratum mustaqeem) -already shown by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 hundred years ago. Failing to do so leads only towards the most disgraceful failure -both here and in the hereafter. Such failure takes straight only to the hellfire. The most important task of education is indeed to generate a deep awareness of this Divine responsibility and showcase the failure of the evil people and the success of the believers. But, in almost all Muslim countries, education has failed to accomplish such a seminal duty. The current education system –even the religious one in madrasas, has failed to nurture such a sense of Divine responsibility.
Awfully, the worst crime in the Muslim World is being committed every day in the name of education. This is indeed a killing field of the Islamic faith. As a result, Islam–as practiced today by most Muslims looks spectacularly dissimilar to Islam of the early Muslims. Therefore, the outcomes of these two sets of Muslims couldn’t be similar, either. Today, the glory of the early Muslims stands terribly replaced by the ongoing decline. The downhill path they are following never takes them to a domain of Islamic state, sharia, hudud, pan-Islamic unity, human rights, jihad, and other Islamic basics. Rather they follow a path that takes them to lands of nationalism, fascism, racism, monarchism, secularism, and brutal military occupation. Can it take to paradise in the hereafter? 1st edition 18.11.2019; 2nd edition 07/08/2021.