• 23:01
  • Wednesday ,06 August 2014
العربية

Absent truth in our lives

By-Hassan Abou Taleb

Opinion

00:08

Wednesday ,06 August 2014

Absent truth in our lives

In his address marking the celebration of Laylat Al-Qadr by the Ministry of Religious Endowments, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi mentioned non-Muslims in Western countries who malign Islam as a religion and Mohammed as the good prophet (PBUH). Then he asked an important question: Do we — as Muslims in Egypt and elsewhere — not insult our own religion? "Do we distinguish ourselves among nations with honesty and compassion?"

He also noted that it is not enough for someone to memorise the Quran only; they must also understand it well and apply it as one should. "There are people killing us who know the good book by heart," he said.
 
All this shows that abuse by Muslims of their own religion is worse than that of others, and allows and justifies others to do the same. Here, we realise our own responsibility for the disasters and setbacks that afflict us because of one main and important reason: lack of truth and subsequent lack of honesty in word and deed, loss of conscience, treachery and shameful behaviour. This is all contrary to true faith.
 
Insulting the other is primarily linked to conflicting interests and perceptions, histories of clashes and wars, and understandings — at least for some — that are peppered with misjudgments and stern behaviour. But for a Muslim to defame himself and his faith is something we must stand against with resolve.
 
Self-deprecation can be explained in many ways, including misunderstanding of religion and subsequent exaggerations, fanaticism and extremism without cause. Also, contradictions between the fundamentals of faith and applying them in reality; focusing on the superficial rather than the core; lack of rationale and endeavour in light of human advancement; and haste in reaching conclusions without scientific discourse. These are all elements that contradict the core of faith that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) taught us. He is quoted as saying that faith is what resides in the heart and truth in action.
 
Faith here means Allah, his prophet, teachings of the Quran and Sunna (practices) of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Without belief in the heart and evidence in action, faith is lacking and perhaps even non-existent. A person may say the testimonial of the faith, memorise the Quran and be aware of the Sunna, but practices none of it. This is where faith is lost, or is at least incomplete. But of course, final judgement is always left to Allah.
 
In contemporary Egypt, Iraq, Libya and others, we see people taking life — which Allah prohibits except in justice — in the worst, cruelest, treacherous and insidious methods. In their statements, they quote verses from the Quran to justify their actions and boast that they killed this many officers and soldiers, destroyed these many public and private buildings, disrupted the lives of Muslims, and stirred fear in their hearts as a precursor to imposing blind obedience that negates their minds and destroys their souls. Once in a while, they issue direct threats against the lives of people, leaders and figures they view as opposed to them and their malicious plans. They believe that is the essence of jihad in the name of Allah and his true religion.
 
This is a serious contradiction of word and deed, between claiming to be religious and upholding faith and insulting Islam itself and the good prophet (PBUH). In fact, they are furnishing justification and reason for anyone to further insult Islam and Muslims under the pretext that their religion does not respect the right to life, or the natural diversity of people's beliefs and behaviours. Also, that it is a stagnant religion that does not recognise progress, which is a universal process created by Allah who ordered us to contemplate it and think it about deeply, delve into its origins and implications in order to realise God's great and limitless power and strengthen our faith in the capacity of the Almighty Creator. It should make us more adherent to His teachings in the Holy Quran and Sunna.
 
The contradiction of the words and deeds of some Muslims is not limited to individuals, groups or organisations, but also entire societies. And herein lies the threat to Islam and Muslims. When a Muslim fights another under the pretext that one of them is right and the other is wrong, and that the former will go to Heaven and the other to Hell, then this is a society that knows nothing about their religion — or at least generally does not have a deep understanding but instead incomplete knowledge. Although there are less extreme examples of individuals and groups, they are still deviant in understanding what faith means, namely the importance of an integrated Muslim person in understanding, behaviour and deed.
 
There are those who neglect their work and do not appreciate the current conditions in the country; those who betray and cheat to win something they do not deserve; those who receive privileges unduly; those who subvert truth and promote falsehoods in the name of venture and courage to earn the admiration of their peers, translating this admiration into position and wealth or transient moral influence; those who resort to sordid manoeuvres and instigate chaos.
 
These are all examples of bad Muslims, hypocrites, liars who are audacious, disloyal and treacherous, no matter how much of the Quran they boast to have memorised. Once these people become a group that is only concerned with seizing power at any cost, they are a stark example of insulting their religion, themselves and the teachings of the prophet (PBUH).
 
Standing up to these people with full strength and resolve is a fundamental of true faith. A true Muslim is responsible in front of the Creator and his conscience for what should be done to confront these people, and present a correct model of understanding faith and apply its teachings. Allowing these people to wreak havoc has nothing to do with Islam, and anyone who allows it is encouraging these people to spread more havoc and corruption.
 
Let us contemplate the clear warning in verse 27 in Surat Al-Anfal: "O believers, do not betray Allah and the Prophet and what you are entrusted with, knowingly."
 
If treachery afflicts a people, they lose their direction and fail in their quests; they are humiliated and become reliant; and want and need spreads among them. They become a weak and helpless people who fall prey to others and cannot defend themselves. Allah shield us from the fate of those who betray and misjudge.