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This article was originally published in Urdu language, titled “Sirf Eik Sawal” by Idara Tolu-e-Islam
Translated byUbedur Rahman Arain

THE QUESTION

It has been a concern for centuries that Muslims irrespective of the sect, group or country they belong to, have left Islam. As a matter of fact this is true for the whole MUSLIM Nation.

Of course it is true, but has any one ever thought about the reasons for it? How come the whole nation has left Islam? It was not for a few days, but centuries! why is all this? This much is clear that we have to think about it and try to analyze the prevailing situation.

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THE ANALYSIS

You ask a communist about the definition of "Communism", he will answer you in clear, distinct, and definite words. You ask the question repeatedly to several communists, every one will have the same answer. In the light of their answers, it will not be difficult to assess if somebody is a communist or not, and whether a nation is still communist or not and whether a nation is still communist or has left communism.

Similarly you ask a socialist about "Socialism" , they will also give you a definitive answer. In the light of their answer you can easily judge if an individual or a nation is still socialist or not

Likewise, if you ask a western democrat about "Democracy", he will be able to give you a definitive answer.

Now if you ask a Muslim about Islam, he will give you a certain reply. When you ask the same question to different Muslims you will be surprised to note that every one's answer is different. This is true even for religious scholars let alone the common person. Every one of the scholars gives a different answer. This contention is not all imaginary, it has been proven.

In 1953, in Punjab, a province in Pakistan, riots took place in connection with "Tehrik Khatam-e-Nabuwwat" (Movement for Last Nabuwwat of Mohammed p.b.u.h). An investigation committee was set-up by the government which was commonly known as Munir Committee. It asked religious scholars of different Muslim sects, how would they define a Muslim. This report has been published and is available. Some of these scholars refused to answer the question saying that they would need a lot of time and pages to answer it. The committee report said the following about them:

"Amongst these scholars even two did not have the same answer."

(English Report pg. 218)

You don't have to accept this report. You can yourself ask the religious scholars of different Muslim sects the definition of "Muslim" and "Islam". The replies will themselves convince you of the correctness of the Munir Report.

It is imperative that when we say the Muslims have left Islam, we should establish a definitive concept of Islam. If we don't, it is meaningless to say that Muslims have left Islam.

This is the primary reason that the Muslims all over are unable to adopt Islam in-spite of their agreeing that they are no longer good Muslims. They do not fully comprehend what they have left and what they should do to remedy the situation. We would like to clarify here that every Muslim sect may be able to define "Islam" as their sect considers it to be, but the Islam which should be common to the Muslim Nation and by virtue of which they are known as the Muslim Nation; none will be able to define.

We are sure, at this stage you must be wondering that although this question is of fundamental importance, you have never thought about it. Further, that you are an ordinary person and your knowledge of "Al Deen" (Islam) is limited and therefore you are unable to answer such a question. At the same time you must be wondering what has happened to our religious scholars that even they could not give a unified reply and in-spite of it they have been able to keep their position in Muslim Nation. How come they have been able to satisfy the Muslims about Islam?

It needs a special technique; and that is creation and use of certain terminology about which the people are convinced that it is "Holy" . These so called scholars keep these terms a little vague, that is, clear and concrete concepts attached to these terms are never defined. On certain occasions they would use a particular term and that will be that. For example, one of the fundamental terms is "Islam" itself. Every day you hear them saying "Islam orders you to do this or that" or "Islam says this” or “Islam desires you to do the following ......”. "Islam" is not a name of an individual that one can attribute a saying to ... They must give reference to any document from which one can find out who has given this order or whose interpretation is it! They will never do that; they will mostly keep it vague. The reason being that mostly it will be their own decision which they have presented in the name of Islam or sometimes it will be the decision of their own sect. Of course the decision of any particular sect cannot be considered as the decision of Islam. They will always keep this aspect vague.

Similarly there are terms like "Islam Shariat (Islamic Jurisprudence)" or "Shariat-e-Haqqa (True Jurisprudence)". Every day one hears statements such as "This is the order of Shariat" or "This decision is as per Shariat" or "This is not allowed by Shariat" etc. etc. You must be assuming these to be decisions as per Islam but actually these are decisions of any one of the sects. Every one of our sects have their own Shariat. The one which you may want to call "Islamic Shariat", that is, the one which all Muslims as one nation agree to be Islamic, does not exist today.

Another of these terms is the "Sunna of Rasool-Allah (p.b.u.h.)”, which means the way the Last Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) practiced Islam. You must be thinking that this has to be agreed upon by everyone to be the same since the Last Messenger of Allah, whose name was Mohammed (p.b.u.h.). was an individual, lived in this world only once and therefore practiced Islam only once. But it was not so. As a matter of fact each one of the sects have their own “Sunna of Rasool-Allah (p.b.u.h.)”; so much so that the definition of the term “Sunna” is also different among them.

Similarly there are many terms in use since centuries which have got similar treatment from these sects. Since politics have become very important in recent times, therefore instead of old terms, which are mostly associated with Religion", new terms have been created. One of these terms is "Aqamat-e-Deen", meaning establishment of Deen. This term has been publicized a lot but nobody, has yet explained what does it mean in definitive words. If the flag bearers of this term explain what do they mean by this term, the religious scholars of the other sects will protest disagreeing with the definition of Deen and cause chaos. Therefore, the promoters of this term consider it in their interest to keep this term vague.

Now a days the word "Nizam", (system) has become more popular in place of "Deen". Based on it, a term "Islamic Nizam" has been floated. We have already seen that the term "Islam" itself does not carry a definite meaning, therefore the term "Islamic Nizam" has not been explained nor it can be.

The fact is that in modern day politics, creation and adoption of slogans has a purpose of its own. Our religious scholars use similar slogans for their purposes. The idea is to use words that do not carry a clear concept, but which could be made popular easily and thus could be used as a weapon against the opposition. If you ponder on it a little deeply you will realize that these slogans serve the same purpose as was served by the hocus pocus words such as "Abracadabra" in the ancient age of magic. The magical words did not mean anything by themselves but, they were supposed to carry hidden meanings. For example, if you repeat a word so many times, you were told that your enemy will be overpowered or things like that.

Just as a slogan looses its charm and magical powers after repeated use, so do the religious terms. The weight and effect previously carried by terms like "Aqamat-e-Deen", (Establishment of Deen), or "Hakoomat-e-Illahia", (Government of Allah), or "Islamic Nizam" is not carried by them any more. Therefore there was need for a new term; and that is "Nizam-e-Mustafa (p.b.u.h.)” (System of Mustafa p.b.u.h.). Since all Muslims have a very special regard for their beloved Nabi (p.b.u.h.) in their hearts, hence this term is more attractive and effective for most of the people. You must have noticed that even this term has been kept vague since the concept attached to it varies from sect to sect just like”Sunna of Rasool Allah (p.b.u.h.)". Leaving the different sects beside, the two major sub-sects of Sunni Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent, Barelawi and Deobandi have their own concepts of the Sunna. In the present turmoil (late 70' s ), Barelawi sect is represented by Maulana Noorani and the Deobandi sect is represented by Mufti Mehmood. They don't even agree on the personality of Mustafa (p.b.u.h.), let alone "Nizam-e-Mustafa (p.b.u.h.)". Therefore it is to the political advantage of both of these to keep the term "Nizam-e-Mustafa (p.b.u.h.)" vague. Under these circumstances, it is impossible to have a clear concept of this "Nizam" which could be unanimously acceptable to all of the sects as Islamic.

As another examples, recently two articles have been published in the daily Nawa-e-Waqt titled `What is Nizam-e-Mustafa (p.b.u.h.)". One of these articles describes the Nizam as:

“A system of virtuous equality.... a political system of security and justice ....an economic system of justice and provision .... a spiritual system of meditation thinking, and remembering Allah .... and a social system of brotherhood"

(Nawa-e-Waqt 29/7/1977)

In the other article, the Nizam is explained as:

"Universal Knowledge........Godly Worship ..... Cleanliness of Behavior..... Great Politics...... Knowledge due to fear of God...... and extreme intellect due to fear of God”

(Nawa-e-Waqt 5/8/1977)

These words will give you an indication of the delicate and superficial covers which are used, intentionally or unintentionally, to hide the definitive concept of the Islamic System. This is done, because by explaining the system in a clear and understandable way, their claims that all of the sects are unanimous in this respect, may be shattered. This unsuccessful trial to hide the truth is very similar to the one that took place once before in Pakistan's history.

In 1951, twenty one Muslim religious scholars from different sects passed a unanimous resolution that all Government laws in Pakistan should be based on "The Book (Holy Quran) and Sunna". After a lapse of twenty years one of the main supporters of the resolution had to declare:

"It is impossible to make a set of public laws as per The Book and the Sunna which all Muslim sects will unanimously accept as Islamic."

(Maulana Maudoodi)

This declaration broke up the so called unanimity of their demand, which they have been presenting since 1951 as Islamic.

The past twenty five years or so have been generally spent on theoretical discussions, it seems that now this issue will be put to test practically. In the forthcoming elections in October, 1977, if the government control is handed over to the flag bearers of the “Nizam-e-Mustafa (p.b.u.h.)”, the foremost task will be the formation of the unanimous set of public laws. Obviously these different sects will not be able to agree on any such laws. One wonders what will happen then ?

The Pakistan Movement was established on two principles :

1. The two nation theory

and,

2. The Pakistan Ideology, that is establishment of an independent state based on Islam.

The Congress party (the party in British India which opposed creation of an independent Muslim State) and their supporters all over the world used to say, that on these principles no one can make a state, and that gone are the times when the states could be created on religious basis; in today's world no one can do this any more.

On the tragedy of fall of Dhaka, that is, the creation of Bangladesh from what used to be known as East Pakistan, most of the leaders of the Congress party and their supporters declared with a loud voice that what they used to say proved to be correct, and that the two nation theory proved to be wrong. Further, they claimed that in due time one will see the failure of the notion of establishing a state based on religion (Islam).

Now if the parliament made up of scholars of different Muslim sects fails to make a set of Islamic Laws to which they could all agree to, the same opponents of creation of Pakistan will get an opportunity to say that their point of view has beer proved correct once again.

Our fright of that dreadful day compels us to present, this request to these gentlemen, that if they are under the wrong notion that that whatever they are doing will result in stability of the country and prosperity of Islam, the sooner they correct their misconceptions the better. Their present attitude will result in shaking the foundations of the country and Islam will become a laughing stock for the world. If they really want that Islam should be reestablished, then they must decide and declare how the laws which could be acceptable to all the sects will be made prior to their becoming the law makers.

If these gentlemen are not willing to comply with the above, we will request the nation that instead of following the slogans-of these leaders blindly, they should demand that these slogans should be explained in clear and concrete words.

THE ANSWER

The answer to this “Question” is not difficult. The readers are requested to think and ponder while they are trying to understand.

1. As we have written before, the flag bearers of “Nizam-e-Mustafa (p.b.u.h.)” belong to different Islamic sects. Each one of these sects have their own Fiqah (jurisprudence). It is evident that as long as all of these sects will consider their own Fiqah as unchangeable Islamic Law, no set of laws could be made which will be acceptable to all. Their differences are so deep that each one of them have declared the other one “Kafir”, the non believer, at one time or the other.

2. Only one thing is common to all of them; and that is the Holy Quran. Therefore for them to agree on any point, they have no choice except to make the Holy Quran the only basis of law making and ignore all their Fiqahs. Further they should consider the Holy Quran the judge and the final authority.

3. The Holy Quran does not give slogans. It explains everything in clear words. In Soora 16 “Al Nahal” verse 89, it says :

(the book which) clarifies and exemplifies everything.

4. The Holy Quran does not have any contradictions. The evidence which Allah Himself has given for the Holy Quran to be divine is that it does not have contradictions. In Soora 4 (Al Nisa) verse 82 it is said :

If it was from any one other than Allah, you would have found many contradictions in it.

Therefore after accepting the Holy Quran as the common value, no differences can sustain.

5. Al Deen, that is, the way of living as ordained by Allah means that one should make Allah, the Hakeem (meaning the one who gives the Hukum or order) and Hakem (the one who decides whenever there is a dispute, that is, the judge). In Soora 12 (Yusuf) verse 40, it is said :

Allah is the only one whose orders should be obeyed.

and

He orders you not to submit to anyone other than Allah (that is, one should not take orders from anyone else).

and

this is the established and definite Al Deen of Allah.

6. The practical way of making Allah, the Hakim or the Hakam is to make His Book "The Hakam". In Soora 6 (A Inam), verse 115, Rasool-Allah (p.b.u.h.) has announced the divine message Which reads:

Do you want me to accept some one other than Allah as the Judge; whereas He has revealed such a book which explains everything clearly.

This means that if you accept Allah's Book as Hakam, you have accepted Allah as Hakam.

7. This is the only book which distinguishes Kufr, meaning the act of non-believing, and Islam. In Soora 5 (Al Maeda), verse 44, it is said:

The ones who do not accept Allah's revelations as Hakam are the ones who are Kafir.

8. Even Rasool-Allah (p.b.u.h.) was ordered in Soora 5 (Al Maeda), verse 48:

You should make your decisions as per revelation from Allah.

9. This is the Deen of Allah (refer Soora 3, verse 82). This is what should be called Al Islam; to accept Allah's Book as the Hakam. In Soora 3 (Aal-e-Imran), verse 84 it is said:

Whosoever will adopt any system (Deen) other than Islam, that system will not be accepted by Him (Allah).

It should be clarified here that since Allah has named Islam as His Deen, it should always be called Allah's Deen. Since Allah's messengers (p.b.u.h.) were destined to establish and deliver Allah's Deen and they did not create one themselves, therefore it is not correct to call Islam "Deen-e-Mustafa" (p.b.u.h.). It should only be called Allah' Deen.

10. The only problem, which must be addressed is the method by which we can prove whether we have established Allah's Deen or not. The first evidence about the nation where Allah's Deen is established is that different sects can not survive in it. Wherever are religious sects, Allah's Deen cannot be there, nor that nation will have anything to do with Rasool Allah (p.b.u.h.). In this regard Allah's message is very clear. In Soora 6 (Al Inam) verse 16, it is said:

The people who create sects in Deen, and become a group, (O! Rasool) you have nothing to do with them.

The people who proclaim "Nizam-e-Mustafa (p.b.u.h.)”, and belong to any of the sects should think about the aforementioned verse. As per this verse, as long as they have nothing to do with Mustafa (p.b.u.h.), how can they proclaim the "Nizam -e- Mustafa (p.b.u.h.) ".

We appeal to the intelligentsia of the nation that they give due consideration to the above mentioned verses of the Holy Quran, and think how can the claim by different sects that they will establish "Nizam -e- Mustafa", be considered as genuine.

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Translator's Note:

This article was originally published in Urdu language, titled “Sirf Eik Sawal” by Idara Tolu-e-Islam, 25-B, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan in 1977.

The English translation has been done by the undersigned to enlighten the non Urdu speaking readers. While translating quotations from already translated English material, the meaning has been kept as close as possible to the original text, although the words used may not be the same.

For the original article in Urdu and other Quranic literature, please contact Idara Tolu-e-Islam at the above mentioned address.

Ubedur Rahman Arain
Kuwait
March 7, 1989.