The Positive Change
Translated Speech of
His Eminence Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
Shaikh Silsilah Naqshbandiah Owaisiah
If a person, who doesn't have the sense to live properly in this world, considers himself a good Muslim, he is sadly mistaken. He can be a Muslim though, but never a good Muslim. This is because the real Muslims, nurtured by the holy Prophet-saw, were great men of reason, research and science, who spread the light of real knowledge and civilisation in the whole world. During the present time, different forms of government have been adopted by various countries; some practise communism, others socialism, while many praise and follow democracy. Even in our country, all and sundry admire democracy, but somehow the democracy of each country is different. Pakistan's democracy is different from the Indian and the French is different from the British, while the democracy of its champion America is different from all of them. There is no consensus even on this popular form of government.
The Muslims, educated by the holy Prophet-saw, were the first to present the concept and form of a model state to the world. The basic structure of government was devised by the Noble Caliphs. The state was centrally ruled by one Ameer, and its subdivisions (known as provinces) were administered by governors. The state maintained two forces: the police, to maintain internal law and order, and the Army, to counter external aggression. The justice department was an independent organisation having the authority to impeach both forces, as well as the government, and even the Ameer. A measurement of the land and its division in administrative districts and subdivisions was undertaken during the time of Caliph ‘Umar Faruq-rau. The Revenue Department was established during his rule, even the Secret Service or the Intelligence Department was also founded by him. The manufacture of gunpowder and the concept of naval warfare were introduced by the Companions. The basic structure of a government has remained unchanged ever since. The government may be communist, socialist or democratic; it may follow any ideology, but it has to conform to the basic design of government introduced by the Companions. The concept is so perfect and practical that nobody, to this day, has been able to add or subtract anything from it.
Muhammad Bin Qasim (May Allah shower His Infinite Mercy on him), the great Muslim general, who brought the Light of Islam to the Indian subcontinent, fell victim to the political upheaval, was recalled and sentenced to death. The warden of his prison could not reconcile himself to the thought of sacrificing a general of his calibre, only for the sake of political rivalries. On the eve of his execution, the warden arranged for a horse and went fully convinced and prepared to help Muhammad Bin Qasim to escape. When he opened his cell, he found the general drawing lines on the floor with a piece of charcoal. “It's good that you came.” said the general, “Sit down and try to understand this.” “We don't have much time. We can talk later. Just come out with me,” said the warden. “Where to?” inquired the general. When the warden explained the escape plan to him, he said, “If I wanted to escape death, I wouldn't have returned from India. I certainly possessed greater strength than the present government. However, that would have sparked internal fighting within the Muslims and I cannot think of causing dissent in the Ummah, for the sake of one life. Thank you very much but I cannot flee to save myself. That should satisfy your anxiety. Now sit down and listen to this.” Pointing to the drawing on the floor, he continued, “This is the drawing of the catapult currently in use, which is, somehow, not very accurate. If it is modified according to my drawing, I am sure it would become more accurate, longer-ranged and thus more effective.” “Strange indeed,” murmured the amazed warden; “most probably you will not see the light of dawn tomorrow. Of course, Allah can do what He likes, but you are likely to be put to the sword before sunrise. Now what are you going to do with this sketch?” The general replied, “You think the whole Ummah is going to die with my death? No! They have to live till the Last Day and I must continue to think for them. Give this drawing to someone who can benefit the Muslim Ummah.” That was the level of greatness of the people trained by the Companions. They were the pioneers of civilisation; they changed the entire economic system of the world. Today, we are caught in a web of an economic system spun by usury and interest. We argue that this is the universal financial system and we can neither change it nor escape from it, and if we try, we would isolate ourselves and ruin our international business. But we forget that the same system was in vogue at the dawn of Islam. Didn't the Companions change the entire economic system of the world? You can never change any system by only highlighting its flaws and persuading the people to discard it. No! If you want to change any system, you must offer a much better system as its alternative, and that is exactly what they did. They presented a perfect economic system that heralded unparalleled economic prosperity in the world. It is on record that during their period, the rich and wealthy searched in vain, for the needy and destitute to accept their alms and Zakat. Every member of the society earned enough through labour, service, agriculture or business to suffice his needs. That was the reward and singular success of the system presented by the followers of the holy Prophet-saw.
The world has used the original ideas and concepts of the Companions to develop modern systems. Look at the mail system, for example. The Muslims had developed a perfect mail system during their time. They had established posts after every fifteen to twenty miles along the entire mail route. Each post held about twenty horses and riders. Each courier was responsible to carry the mailbag at top speed, non-stop to the next post, where another courier was already mounted and waiting. This arrangement delivered the mail to distant destinations within a short time. The Muslim forces, busy in far-flung areas remained in constant communication with the Centre. Those operating in the Persian and Roman theatres could seek instructions from the Centre within one day. Even India was connected with the Centre through this mail courier on horseback.
The whole universe has been designed to serve just one human being and a Muslim is not just a human being, but the real human being. A person who doesn't acquire the Light of Faith is not worthy of being called a human being. What happens if the real human being evades his duty? This complacency stems from a notion that worship alone constitutes the whole Deen. After prayers, a Muslim feels satisfied and relieved of his religious obligations: that is a slipshod Islam. The real Islam expects you to fly the most modern aircraft after completing your prayers and also pioneer the latest technological research and development. After all, why can't a Muslim invent new things like a non-Muslim can? The intelligence quotient of a non-Muslim is decidedly lower than that of a Muslim. It is because the Light of Faith not only illuminates the heart but also enhances the mental faculties. A non-Muslim requires greater time and effort than a Muslim to understand and comprehend. That has also been my personal observation during my travels around the globe. However, the problem with us Muslims is that we pay no attention to this side. Naturally, you cannot learn anything without effort.
The second and more important point which
needs to be clearly understood is that everything is lawful in Islam unless
otherwise specified. For example, a swine is completely prohibited in Islam. Therefore, its
flesh, hide and its trade in any form is also prohibited. That is not the case
with arms and ammunition, these are not inherently prohibited.
You can use them for Jihad or for mugging or for murder. It is their use that will determine
their legality. If a Kafir uses modern technology to propagate his secular ideology and
other evils, why can't you use that technology to preach the truth and virtue?
Would it be sane to try to eliminate technology from the world? Should you then
vacate this field for non-believers? Isn't it a pity, that at a time when nonbelievers
are launching satellites to conquer space and claiming to land on the moon, we
can't use even the simplest technology? What type of Islam is this and
what service are we rendering to our religion? Aren't we a liability and a
stigma for Islam? Ignorance and inefficiency are neither virtue nor piety. The real
piety and virtue is that whilst you may be capable, you willingly abstain from
evil and direct your potential to a noble cause. If you claim that a blind
person is very pious because he doesn't look at any evil, it is an absurd claim
because the poor man can see nothing even otherwise. Similarly, an old man may
become virtuous because he can sin no more; but that is no credit to him. Be
strong, but prefer good over bad by the strength of your conviction. The world
should respect you and be impressed by your knowledge and strength, but should
feel equally reassured and secure that you will never use your strength for an
evil cause. To lag behind in knowledge is not Islam. Unfortunately, we have
not kept ourselves abreast with the latest knowledge and advancement. In response
to our insistence to eliminate usury from the economic system, our Muslim
rulers demand an alternate interest-free system, but our scholars have failed
to provide a practical, workable substitute. Our demand to implement Shari‘ah in the country is similarly
repulsed, because we don't adhere to Islam in our practical lives. We
prefer to follow our customs and traditions instead of the Sunnah, because we
feel that our age old customs earn us greater honour and respect. How can we
ask the rulers to enforce an Islam that we don't even practise ourselves?
If a person cannot implement Islam on his six-foot body, what right does he have
to demand its implementation on the whole country?
Why doesn't any positive change begin within us? Why do we exhibit this visible paradox in our claim and conduct? Probably it is because we think that worship alone is the entire Deen. The holy Prophet-saw could mend his shoes and stitch his clothes. He brought groceries from the market and helped his noble wives in preparing food. He could do all the routine domestic work with his own hands, even when he was fully committed in his mission to replace the existing systems with the best and most perfect social, economic and political systems in the world. The blessings of his systems benefited the believers and others alike. Even non-believers adopted his principles and brought their countries under the blessed umbrella of Islam.
If you go through the history of this subcontinent, you will find that Muhammad Bin Qasim had landed on the shores of Gawadar with only a few thousand soldiers, but he did not require any reinforcements to conquer the whole country. The natives were greatly impressed by the conduct of Muslims and realised that the Islamic way of life was far better than their own way. They decided to adopt it voluntarily and joined with Muhammad Bin Qasim to spread that Light farther. But, who had given this way of life to the Muslims? It was of course, given by Muhammad-saw, the Messenger of Allah, and practically implemented by the Righteous Caliphs-rau. If however, they were also weak Muslims like us, and didn't carry the Light of a new civilisation with them and were unable to respond to the problems of the vast horizons that they traversed, then, who would have believed them and gone along with them? Could they have ushered in the Islamic revolution with the might of their swords? Of course not! They instead, offered an alternate system which was visibly far better, easier to follow, and more peaceful than the systems in vogue, and thus successfully redirected the course of civilizations and nations.
Islam has nothing but flowers in its lap. No system offers as much love, peace and comfort as Islam. We claim this because Islam is our religion. But even non-Muslims have to accept that Islam is a religion of love. Islam's love for humanity revolutionised the concept of warfare and replaced it with Jihad. Previously, wars were fought to annihilate, humiliate and plunder the adversary. Islam forbade all bloodshed and plunder, and ordained Jihad in its place. Jihad doesn't mean destruction of the enemy; it signifies the effort to check the cruel and the oppressor. This effort may start with the word of mouth and may extend to the use of sword; it will continue so long as that evil persists. However, if the oppressor restrains himself, the drawn swords will be returned to their scabbards. Even during the heat of a battle, if a non-believer accepts Islam, the Muslim soldier will put his weapon down and embrace him. This concept doesn't exist anywhere outside Islam. How abounding will be the love of a religion that has replaced hatred with affection, even in its doctrine of warfare? Islam doesn't condemn modern technology but defines its most appropriate and correct usage; but, if you don't learn it, how would you use it for Jihad?
Once, I heard a lecture at Lalamusa about the greatness of the Companions. The audience was large and the scholar was making his point forcefully. However, I could restrain myself no more when he emphasised that enemy strongholds and fortresses fell and the non-believers fled just on hearing Companions' battle cry of 'Allah-o Akbar!' (Allah is the Greatest). I told him that he had either misread or misunderstood. The foundations of this religion were fortified with the bones of the Companions. Their blood was used as water and their flesh as cement to raise this building. Some of them sustained as many as a hundred and twenty wounds to their bodies. Yes, their speech had a great effect; Allah was also with them, but they had to endure many difficult trials. Drop the notion that walls collapsed on their shouts only; no, they knew the real technique of knocking them down by force. Each soldier was a strong Muslim in his practical life. Their strategy of war bewildered the whole world; seasoned generals of centuries old mighty empires, failed to anticipate and understand their battle tactics. A renowned Persian general Rustam, completely frustrated and defeated by their superior strategy, passed a venomous remark against them. What he said was Kufr, but it is permitted to quote such nonsense for the purpose of education. He said, “What sort of a man is this ‘Umar? How has he trained the dogs of Arabia? We cannot anticipate or understand their battle moves and formations.” I have quoted this sentence because Rustam is considered an esteemed hero in our society. People name their sons after him, and the government has also instituted rewards and titles bearing his name. I wanted to highlight his opinion about Islam, Muslims and the Companions. He was finally killed fighting against Muslims. There is yet another person, Pervaiz, after whom Muslims name their sons and even daughters, while he was the accursed scoundrel who tore the message of the holy Prophet-saw, spat on it and trampled on it. He was the only one and the most unfortunate person who disrespected the letter of the holy Prophet-saw. When the holy Prophet-saw heard of his reaction, he prayed, “Oh Allah! Rip his empire into pieces as he has torn my letter.” Muslims of today, however, continue to name their children after him. What Rustam said was absolute nonsense, uttered in a state of rage and helplessness but it explicitly highlights his confession of the superior war strategy of Muslims. No general of today would dare to cross the vast deserts, even with modern mobility that the Companions crossed on horseback. The blazing oceans of sand, spanning four hundred miles, don't favour the existence of life in their roasting temperatures. The adventurers, who try to drive through these deserts, carry eight extra tyres for their vehicles. The burning sand doesn't puncture their tyres but actually melts them. When they manage to cross through, their vehicles are usually running on naked rims because their tyres are burnt en route. The Companions crossed these deserts within a fortnight, while the jeeps of today take much longer.
My brother, our personal weaknesses are contributing towards the weakening of Islam, because we are its representatives. A weak Muslim will mean a weak Islam. The religion will not be recognised and respected if its followers fail to keep pace with modern technology and advancement. Nobody will acknowledge the greatness of Islam if you fail to present better alternatives to solve present day problems. You will have to acquire modern knowledge with the same sincerity and devotion, with which you pray and do Allah's Zikr. Your effort to learn, with the intent to glorify and serve Islam, will certainly be graded as worship of a high order, second only to the Fardh (obligatory) worship. If one Muslim offers Nafal (extra) Salah for one hour, whilst the other, after his Fardh (obligatory) Salah, devotes the remaining time to learn modern knowledge with the intention to serve Islam and contest Kufr, then the first Muslim will get the reward for Nafal Salah only, while the second would get the reward of Jihad. Don’t disgrace Islam, don't make it weak and subservient. Strive for its respect and honour. Become its sharp intellect, clear sight and strong arms. Acquire modern knowledge and use it to serve the cause of Islam. During one of my visits abroad, I learned about an education system recently introduced in the USA which significantly increases the IQ and memory of children, I immediately ordered one package for our school. If a non-believer can learn faster, why should Muslim children lag behind? We are also introducing the computer into our Academy. We may be able to educate our children to understand, use and ultimately design such modern machines. Try to keep abreast with modern knowledge and technology. It becomes a Jihad if undertaken to serve the religion. Don't feel satisfied that we have fulfilled our religious obligations by offering Salah only. Our Salah is the means to establish our personal relationship with Allah, it doesn't glorify Islam in any way. How should the effect of this relationship be reflected in our lives? As a rule, a person who claims a stronger relationship should be a better person with a greater potential to work for Islam. May Allah make everyone who offers Salah a better, practical Muslim than the one who doesn't and may every Muslim acquire greater knowledge than a Kafir!
See this point from another angle. Some of the worst enemies of Islam, those who left no stone unturned to efface Islam, were taken prisoners during the battle of Badar. Those who were wealthy paid a ransom and were set free. The holy Prophet-saw decided for the remaining, who didn't possess anything, that each educated prisoner should teach ten Muslim children as his ransom. That was a time when the Kafirs were instigating and mobilising the whole of Arabia to wipe out Islam. Had the prisoners been put to the sword, it would have reduced the enemy strength by that much. But the holy Prophet-saw preferred the education of Muslim children over the risk of continued insidious enmity by the freed prisoners. If that was the decision of the holy Prophet-saw under those precarious circumstances, what stops us from acquiring knowledge? This weakness is not only affecting us but it is also causing Islam to woefully lag behind. For this reason, the Muslim Ummah, totalling over two billion, is pathetically subservient to Kufr. When we purchase our locally produced items, we certainly have misgiving about their quality, but we feel completely reassured by the quality of goods produced by non-Muslims. A medicine produced in a non-Muslim country contains pure and correct ingredients, but the same medicine produced in our Muslim country contains neither of the two - is this Islam? You may argue that this is the conduct of those people who neither offer Salah nor do Zikr. My question is why don't pious people, who do both, enter practical life to end the monopoly of bad people and restrain them from spreading evil. Normally you complain that the bus drivers do not halt for Salah. My question is why don't you learn to drive yourself? You should adhere to your worship as well as drive a bus. Whenever prayer time starts, you can stop at an appropriate spot and invite the passengers to pray along with you. How can good prevail, if good people don't try to replace bad people in every field of practical life? If you choose not to take your piety to real life, why should you expect the angels to come and put things right for you? I recommend that you should learn all of the business of practical life, teach it to your children and send them as strong practising Muslims to contribute positively in all spheres of life. Our problem is that a Muslim who imparts worldly education to his children, doesn't teach them religion. As a result, they emerge as the elite, no doubt, but of secular thought and conduct. On the other hand, a father who imparts religious education to his children, who wants to protect them from the evil effects of modern secular knowledge, as a result, he has to remain content by decrying the secular elite that keeps ruling them throughout their lives.
For Allah's sake, take stock of yourselves. You are the real asset of humanity. Muslims have the potential to hold mankind. But, if Muslims go astray themselves, the rest of humanity has no chance of survival. You are the best of nations raised for mankind, you have been created to guide humanity. All guidance, peace, satisfaction and justice required by humanity, can only be provided by you. However, if you can't even write your name, how will you guide others - isn't this criminal neglect? Revolutions are not initiated by words alone. The most difficult task is to bring about a positive change. Mischief and destruction are not difficult jobs. Instigate people with ‘hot words’, give them weapons and just ask them to loot a bank and cause destruction; they will comply without question. How did the Khawarij gain strength? Their only strength was in their slogan: ‘It is lawful to kill people, loot their wealth and take their women’. For this reason, all bandits happily joined their ranks and they gained formidable strength. Destruction is not difficult, but one has to devote a whole lifetime, spending every ounce of energy to bring a positive change. One has to learn, teach others and practically prove that his way is superior, easier, more beneficial and peaceful. That is when people may pay attention and adopt his way. That will create some hope of a positive revolution.