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Wake up Pakistan ! Presently the Muslim societies are in a state of ideological confusion and flux. Materialism, terrorism,...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Islam through Evolution or Revolution?

The influence of religion in society has become increasingly contentious in recent years. In the past few centuries, most stable societies have been underpinned by a single religion. There have been competing factions, organisations and sects contained within a society. Often, as in the case of different sects, there has been a division within the society on religious grounds as well.

Nevertheless, there have been indisputable conflicts, often politically based. These have been present in all the major religions of the world for several centuries. A number of factors have led to the importance of religious divides in recent decades.
Religion has influenced societies mainly through two kinds of religious organisations — reformist and political.

A reformist organisation generally has a flexible framework. There is no hierarchy and the leader does not have absolute authority. As merely the head of an organisation, he remains obscure and does not assert authority. There are no low or high ranks and all members have equal status with membership open to all. The only restriction is to strictly devote their time to the organisation; the main approach being to change a society immersed in corruption and worldly affairs.  [Videos on Tablighi Jamat]

A reformist organisation believes in an evolutionary process to change the minds of the people, emphasising mainly on simple preaching for the misled. The best methods advocated to convert people are meditation and praying. The organisation holds its general gathering regularly to bring all its members and sympathisers together which creates a social bond. One of the best examples being the Tablighi Jamat, an organisation founded before partition by Maulana Ilyas in 1926. Its main task was to counter the Shudhi movement to reconvert those Muslims who had reverted back to Hindu practices.

To restore Muslim communities to Islam, Maulana Ilyas adopted the simple approach of asking them to repeat the kalima saying that the person believed in God and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He did not force them to forsake their tribal customs or cultural practices. After partition, the Jamat continued to work both in India and Pakistan. Every year a large congregation is held where thousands of people participate to show their devotion to and sympathy with the organisation. Besides, their members travel in delegations to different cities and towns to preach religion.

The Jamat does not believe in propaganda. Its motive is ‘na kharcha, na charcha, na parcha’ or no expense, no propaganda, no pamphlets. They are not interested in politics and stay away from political disputes. They are not in favour of issuing statements on Palestine or Kashmir and do not condemn any country as imperialist, nor as an enemy of Islam.

Their belief is to convert the whole world to Islam, and that would ultimately solve all disputes and would, in their opinion, bring about world peace. Their policy therefore is tolerance, not violence. They do not interfere in the country’s politics, neither support any political party in elections.

Being non-political, they devote their energies to reforming the corrupt society. They remain silent on government matters and do not criticise democracy or dictatorship. Since they are in no conflict with the government, their non-political character suits every type of government.

The Tablighi Jamat’s popularity is increasing in Pakistan. This is indicated by the huge public attendance at their annual gathering. It attracts retired civil and military officials who can not only find time to go on trips and missions to different parts of the country and abroad but can also bear their own expenses.

The main reason for their success is that the Jamat communicates with the common man. Since they believe that human nature is basically good, therefore it is possible to change the people from evil to virtuous. The Jamat is not looking for radical change or revolution but only for people who join and promote its mission sincerely and not for any personal or political benefits.

The other type of religious organisation is politically oriented and wants to transform society from the top. Many believe that human nature is evil and can only be reformed by force and coercion. They are well organised, have a systematic structure where the leader enjoys absolute power and authority and all its members are obliged to obey him.

Since the political organisation has an advisory board or council, its membership is based on certain requirements: one should be religious according to their standards alone, which makes the organisation hierarchical. The main agenda is to achieve power by any means, be it through a revolution, armed struggle or democracy.

A political religious organisation propagates its agenda, uses all available sources of publicity and often has its own publications. It organises public meetings and processions. Its policies include supporting causes like Palestine and Kashmir and condemning America and other powers as anti-Muslim.

The Jamat-i-Islami is an example of such a politically oriented religious organisation. It has contacts with similar organisations in the Muslim world such as the brotherhood in Egypt. They have compromised in the past with dictators to share political power in order to change and reshape society according to their manifesto. They form a coalition with different parties to contest elections and are intolerant of liberal and secular groups.
Such religious organisations have an impact on all political parties which include religious issues in their manifestos. Moreover state institutions such as bureaucracy and the army are heavily influenced by their religious teachings and make attempts to impose Shariah. Though religious parties cannot win an absolute majority in elections, even the so-called liberal political parties are prepared to be partisan to their agenda.

"The means and the end"  By Mubarak Ali: http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/19/past-present-the-means-and-the-end.html

Allah does not need us to spread Islam, it is for own good that we ourselves practice and invite/remind others about message of Islam. How to do it, it is clearly known  through Quran and Sunnah of Prophet (pbuh) and his noble companions. All those who are sincerely committed to the cause of Islam according to their best of understanding are doing good job, Allah knows it & may reward them. It is trendy to criticize while we do nothing ourself. 
  • There be no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. [Quran:2;256-257]
  • If Allah wanted He could have made all of you a single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you in what He has given you; therefore try to excel one another in good deeds. Ultimately you all shall return to Allah; then He will show you the truth of those matters in which you dispute.[Quran;5:48]
  • Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance.[Quran;16:125]