Bismillahi wa salatu wa salamu ala Rasulullah wa ‘ala jami’il ambiyai wal-mursalin wa ‘ala ahlihi wa sahabihi ajmain, amin.
We thank Almighty Allah ta’ala for His favours on us. His bounties, goodnesses and blessings are surely countless, innumerable, and our debt of gratitude is ever on the increase. May salam and the best of all goodnesses be showered eternally on Allah’s Habib and the noblest of servants, the Sayyed-il mursalin and the seal of Prophethood, Rasulu-karim Muhammad Mustafa (alaihi wa ahlihi wa sahabihi salawatu wataslimat attamuha wa akmaluha). May these favours from Allah U extend to the pious ones of this Ummah, past and present. Through the barakat of these great gems, may Allah U raise us to piety, may He save the Ummah from His anger and afflictions and place much barakat and effectiveness in the efforts of those struggling sincerely to revive this great Deen.
We thank Allah U specially for aiding us in our intention to be in this workshop. It is one fortune worthy of mentioning that we have been honoured with the courage to brave all fears, distractions and hindrances to be part of this gathering.
This is a gathering of aspirants to Allah’s U love via the pure and illuminating Sunnah of Rasulullah u. This is a gathering of zealous Muslims who are determined to work for the protection of our unique but threatened traditions, and this is a forum for evaluating our past in order to reposition ourselves spiritually for the great victory in the Hereafter. Just as sick men lose appetite for food, the sick and clouded hearts also lose appetite for ibadats and service in the cause of Allah U. Workshops like this are designed to raise our appetite for ibadats (worships), increase our zeal to work for eternal Jannat by giving us insight to the reality of Dunya and its fleeting, ever precarious nature and by showing us our limits as servants of Allah U and followers of the exalted ones of His servants (alaihimu ‘r-ridwan).
We are in the age of spiritual loss and absolute moral decadence and expectedly, the negative forces at work must have Islam and its sacred values as sworn enemies. So whatever insults, misrepresentations and even outright slanders we encounter should not provide an occasion for losing our patience, for these are challenges we must feel honoured to embrace. To the sincere Muslims enemies are no more than gadflies that make the horse trots. The steadfast will certainly emerge victorious.
Unfortunately, today, Muslims are divided between the complacent camp who swallow every pill from the spoon of Islam’s enemies in the name of civilization and the extreme zealots who would call for violence confrontation at every provocation. In situations like, this the middle course suffers, and our Deen is a religion of moderation between two extremes. Without this sense of moderation and the patience to actually apply the traditional principles of our Deen in difficult times and situations we are bound to waste the capacity to revive and protect what is left of our values. H.A.R Gibb writes in The Reaction in the Middle East Against West Culture:
‘Everything depends on the capacity of Muslims’ society to defend and protect its values and cultural traditions against western invasions. If it fails in this task, it is lost as a Muslim society. It will inevitably become a more or less faithful copy of western society with secondary characteristics peculiar to different countries and languages.’
This great Ummah holds as sacred the oneness of Allah U, the One and Absolute, Whose Book is a law and the Sunnah of His most beloved Prophet u, the guide to happiness, temporal and eternal. Man remains equal before Allah U in this unique path and the Akhirah is prized greatly above the finishing Dunya. The life of our great ancestors (alaihimu ridwan), our governance, our learnings and our madrasahs were geared towards these sacred principles. Any deviation from these goals and values which has Allah`s U pleasure at the peak of its aspiration renders Muslims incomplete or completely deprived of a true life. The ‘powers’, their agents and other enemies of truth are united in their purpose against Islam; the destruction of its salient values and principles. Charles F. Gallagher, an American scholar, wrote in his Language and Identity:
‘A methodical policy of deracination and deculturization was followed in Algeria in the 19th century, was repeated to lesser extent in Morocco over shorter period, and carried out most slightly in Tunisia. The main effort … was to destroy the colonized (Muslims) by a complete denigration of their fundamental values.’
How was the destruction of our values carried out?
- I) Through a thorough destruction of our educational systems and its library, the corruption of its methodology and the inversion of its goal. G. H. Jansen writes in Militant Islam:
‘But there is one sphere education in which colonial rule did have a profound effect on Muslims’ society, because the foreign rulers with rare unanimity and unusual purposefulness, and pertinacity, sought to give as little education as possible, the wrong sort of education when it had to be given, and to bring about schism, a division, in the soul of the Muslim community.’
Will Durant in his Story of Civilization says among other things:
‘When Baghdad was destroyed by the Mongols, it had thirty six public libraries. Private libraries were numberless. It was a fashion among the rich to have an ample collection of books. A physician refused invitation of the Sultan of Bukhara to come and live at his court, on the ground that he would need 400 camels to transport his library. Imam al-Waqidi, dying, left 600 boxes of books, each so heavy that two men were needed to carry it. Princes like Sahab ibn Abbas in the 10th century might own as many books as could be found in all libraries of Europe combined.’
- II) By presenting our ancestors as ignorant, uncivilized people and our history as that of savages. By encouraging the young Muslims to ‘break free’ and follow their whims with deep distrust for the truly learned approved and honoured by the exalted Prophet u.
I seek your pardon to quote this lengthy passage again from the British G. H. Jasen’s Militant Islam as he adequately capture the sources of our distance from Islam’s pristine tradition and the depravity and faithlessness that resulted from this satanic plots;
“The cultural offensive mounted by the colonial powers against the societies of their Muslim territories struck at those societies in three different ways:
- a) Through the neglect of traditional education system, it weakened the older set of values, both secular and Islamic.
- b) A spiritual and cultural vacuum was created by allowing traditional roots to wither away unnourished.
- c) For the majority of those now without roots the Western rulers did not provide an alternative through their own system …. The blow these deliberate attacks on traditional Islamic education inflicted on Islam is to say the least catastrophic.”
‘Traditional Islam’ Jansen concluded, ‘has been held together through the tradition and organization of the Ulama. These people, the learned men of Islam, have managed to this day to preserve their status as the proprietors of the symbols of Islam. Their exclusive right to interpret Islam has only recently come to dispute.’
The imperative question which majority of ‘modern’ Muslims failed to ask is where have we got the daring, the boldness to question our extremely noble history and its scholarship. Jansen’s statements on the west’s cultural offensive and its Fir’awnic campaigns for freedom have the best answer to this question.
Islam is a religion of following based on trust, like those between a patient and his learned doctor. As long as the layman does not get the training for becoming a doctor, no matter how much he reads about medicine it will be criminal to open a clinic for treating people. This is the reason why the best of our Scholars in sciences of Ahadith are also followers of fiqh Imams. It is unfortunate that today’s ignoramuses browse through books of hadith and declared themselves Fuqaha.
The noble Imam al -Dajawi t indeed said:
By Allah U, this view (that the non mujtahids should not follow the learned Imams) is nothing than an attempt to fling the door wide open for people’s individual preferences, thereby turning the Book and the Sunna into playthings to be manipulated by those deluded fools, driven by their compounded ignorance and corrupt imaginations.
The most characteristic qualities of the great Ulama were dignity and serenity, respect for other scholars, compassionate concern for the Ummah, and following the Prophet u whose view was always broad, his wisdom perfect and his tolerance superb.
The exalted Imam Shatibi t also said:
‘True fairness is to regard all the fiqh Imams as worthy, whoever follows the madhhab of a Mujtahid because he has not attained the level of ijtihad is not harmed by the fact that other Imams differ from his own.’
The blessed Shaykh Ibrahim al-Samadi t, a pious scholar of Damascus, once prayed to be given fours sons so that each might follow one of the recognized madhhabs, thereby bringing a fourfold blessing to his house.
III) Initiating and funding a propaganda which places Dunya, its wealth and pleasures above the Akhira; which promote entertainments to the heights of idols and which holds sacred the triple evils of Music, Zina and Riba (interest).
As taken from the invaluable sayings of the best of creation and Allah’s greatest servant, Rasulullah Muhammad Mustafa u when Muslims prefers this world to the Akhirah their enemies would be victorious over them, excessive and haram entertainments lead to lost of Iman. Music is Satanic and the most potent accessory to zina, surely the punishment of Allah U becomes just on a people among whom zina has become widespread. Riba (interest) is undoubted a herald to material and spiritual bankruptcy. It is needless asking why the enemies of Islam would do all they can to force these poisons down the throat of Muslims cleverly wrapped in candy.
Today, we have found ourselves at the bottom of our sacred spiritual ladder and the heritage of our noble ancestors is no more threatened at another time than now. It is our responsibility to find our way back to the heights of the ladder or else the coming generations would meet nothing of these sacred and invaluable values.
Down the hill ride is always pleasurable but going back up is very tasking and harzardous. Yet, we must endeavour to revive and preserve this noble tradition putting our absolute trust in Almighty Allah U and making the perfecting Sunnah of Rasulullah u our pivot to success, La haola walaquwwata illabillah.
Revival and restoration of values are tasking assignments that would not yield to haste nor be procure through violence. Our exalted Nabiyy r was sent to restore faith, values and ethics lost by humanity due to their longing for Dunya and its temporal pleasures and the worship of false gods. He r was never a sage of haste nor a war monger. As a matter of fact the Qur’an al-Karim says:
…You will never cease to come upon some act of treachery on their part, except for a few of them. Yet pardon them, and overlook. Allah loves doers of good (Qur’an 5:13).
…Each time they kindle the fire of war, Allah extinguishes it. They rush about the earth corrupting it. Allah does not love corrupters (Qur’an 5:64).
…Then to be one of those who have faith and urge each other to steadfastness and urge each other to compassion. Those are the companions of the Right (Qur’an, 90:17-18).
The teachings of our great Deen, al-Islam, is that those who seek reformation through violence and those who seek immediate restoration without painstaking endeavours are wrong for these characteristics; haste and rage, are symbols of westernization itself. This would not mean that Islam condones apathy in any way. Lack of concern for the Ummah and its traditional values, disrespect to the traditional pristine methodology and assumption of authority when it comes to the adillat–i Shariyya (Islamic sources) are all signs of decadence and corruption.
The middle course presented by Islam and which will hold till the end of the world is to work assiduously to raise a traditional, balanced, conscious and courageous human machinery who would patiently work for the sustenance and preservation of the purest values left for humanity, the laws of Allah U and the moral values and ethics of His Rasul u. This forum is meant to be a starting point insha-Allah.
Traditionally, this revival only comes with a three point agenda. These points must work together at the same time for maximum effectiveness, thus if anyone is deficient, the zealot, no matter how much zeal and enthusiasm he displays, will never reach his goal.
- i) Proper understanding of the Islamic traditional methodology and how it operates. This knowledge will come with sincere effort at studying the great lives of our noble ancestors y and their old books some dating more than a thousand and three hundred years. This study will confer humility on our hearts and Fir’awnic arrogance would give way to true traditional Islamic Submission. The results of this are that we would understand the right and acceptable way to follow as well develop great reverence for our history and the great sages who personified it. Their invaluable example would give the impetus to live and serve our Deen insha-Allah.
- ii) True revival of the tradition commences with the great examples of our exalted spiritual ancestors impacting our private lives. We start to spend more time in ibadats, concentrate more on those things that would lead to salvation in the Akhirah and calling others to such. We then gradually bring our immediate families into this focus, then the extended families and also groups outside our families.
iii) The tradition truly comes alive when it lived, written and propagated with every speech and action. If everyone of us can live our life somewhat close to that of the last Prophet and best example r kufr and all forces of opposition would sooner or later bow. The foundation is the right knowledge, patience, forgiveness and total emulation of the moral conducts of Rasulullah u and this forum is to kick start this renewal, the true traditional Islamic revolution, the most effective Islamic Jihad.
Penultimately, it is a well known fact that a religion without its traditional structure is like a castle built on the air. This is the reason why the enemies of Islam, past and present, are doing their best possible to destroy this sacred foundation of our Deen through misrepresentation and a resolute commitment to selling the idea of freedom of decisions and conclusions and distaste for the past to the Muslims. Our past is great, noble and unsurpassable, our success in the present is linked directly to the past, our Deen is hinged on revering the past sages, their works and their methodologies for survival. We are mere followers and lovers of true lovers of Rasulullah u and we will be proud to trail behind them to Jannat on the Day when every group would be called with names of their leaders (Imams) who would have led them to salvation or perdition.
The noble Imam, the exalted Mujaddid and Mujahid, Hadrat Shaykh Uthman bn Fundi t wrote in his invaluable Ihya Sunna:
Allah U preserved His Book al-Qur’an through the Ashabul kiram, the exalted words (Ahadith) of Rasulullah t were preserved by the tabi’un and the third generation (the taba tabi’un) deducted rules from these two noble sources for Muslims till the end of the world. Therefore, whatever they (the three earliest generations) did we shall do and whatever they abstained from we shall refuse for Allah‘s Prophet u witnessed to their truthfulness and their righteousness.
Finally, I want to reiterate that whatever is committed individually and collectively towards this gathering, this coming together, would only be a wise investments if we leave here with the resolution to dig into our history in order to discover the appalling reality of invaluable Islamic heritage, If we commit ourselves into a patience, non-violence, and tasking duty of living and reviving this invaluable sunnah in and outside our homes and when we finally team up with brothers of like conviction no matter how few, sacrificing our time and other resources for this cause, the greatest and most profiting investment.
May Allah U accept your coming rewarding you with His eternal pleasure. May He descends His barkat in our midst so that we go back as changed and better focused personalities with great love for Allah’s most beloved u and most sincere concern for his Ummah, amin. May the best of prayers and fortunes be on our beloved Prophet, Muhammad Mustafa r, his household, his companions and on all our elders, the heirs to the Prophetic virtues and excellences, (ridwanullahi alaihim ajmain) amin. And thanks be to Allah U, the Lord and Sustainer of the worlds.