The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“A time will come when nothing will be left in the minds of the people from the Quran except its calligraphy and from Islam except its name. People who call themselves Muslims will be the furthest from Islam. Mosques would be filled but empty from guidance. The Ulema (scholars) of that time are the worst under the heavens. From them, the elements of division and misguidance are spewed and unto them, will return” [Reported by Tabarani, Daily and Al-Hakam]
This hadith as every other hadoih has the ability of expressing very profound thoughts in a very few words. The Prophet (saw) is describing a time which frightfully fits the time we live in. The hadith signifies the path of a Muslim being remote from the true understanding of Islam. What can be more further from Islam that those ‘People who call themselves Muslims will be furthest from Islam’ as the Prophet (saw) mentions in the Hadith.
Unfortunately, the Hadith describes the present Muslim Ummah. The Hadith applies to us because of our current understanding and perception of the Deen of Islam. Our behaviour reflects the perception of Islam as a ritualistic/spiritual creed. Our respect for Islam has dipped to an all time low by our attitude of ‘picking and choosing’ from Islam i.e. that part of Islam which suits us and rejecting the other parts which conflict with our adopted lifestyle. As as result of this selectivity the ayat and ahadith are twisted and decontextualised to suit our purpose. We have made Islam subordinate to our mode of living, when it should be the other way around. Islam should be the one and only source which will order us to conform our lifestyle to the orders of Allah (swt)!
The problem emanates from the absence of a comprehensive understanding of Islam. An epitome of this occurs in Ramadan when millions of Muslims take it upon themselves as an objective to finish the complete recitation of Quran atleast once. However, much to our dismay, millions fail to realise the absence of the Quran from their lives. The Quran has become an isolated book which is recited on the occasion of Ramadan or at the death of an individual. Further more, more penetrating is the failure of the masses to connect the Quran with their program of life daily activities from the simple transactions at the supermarket, to the oppression in every corner of the globe. The Quran has been reduced to an object of reverence, calligraphy and recitation. It should be retrieved from the graveyards and dusty bookshelves and put into implementation where all of humanity will reside under its shade of justice. The highest level of admiration of the Quran can be witnessed by all humanity when the Muslims apply it in aspect of life.
It is blatantly clear that we have forgotten that Islam which concerns itself with the systems of ruling, economics, education, social relations and foreign policy. These essential aspects of Islam seem to be have been dismantled one after another and the first and foremost principle being that of the system of governance i.e. Khilafah.
Our Islamic Aqeedah from which we derive our actions is not longer a conviction anymore. ‘La Illaha Illal Allah’ has become a fossilised phrase and by our compromising attitude on each and every issue. All of us at one time or another have witnessed this compromising attitude. For example, this compromising attitude can be clearly seen when Muslims plead their case to the United Nations, local MPs or politicians. And when they are reminded by the explicit Quranic injunctions against such actions they respond by advising the use of Hikmah (wisdom) or indicating the times have changed. We should ponder this unfortunate reality and ask, isn’t this lip service to Allah (swt)?
Why do we continue to trouble ourselves with completing the recitation of the Quran during Ramadan, when we fail to give it the grand respect which it so rightly deserves by implementing it in our lives. Our current outlook on Islam has dehydrated the Islam Aqeedah, from an Aqeedah which regulates man, life and the universe to an Aqeedah that resembles the creed of Christianity or Judaism which openly accepts the Kufr principle of the separation of religion and state. In contrast, when a few hundred sahaba(ra) possessed the Islamic Aqeedah and from it manifested their uncompromising attitude towards any issue between Islam and Kufr, it drove them to a momentous victory which mankind is eager to witness one more time.
The above mentioned observations clearly point to a fact of our ideological depravity. We have failed to realise the importance of the role of the messengership of Mohammed (saw). These types of attitudes towards the Quran shows clear distortions in our Aqeedah with Allah (swt). If we grasp with full conviction the concept that Allah (swt) is all perfect, all knowing, the creator, we should not have this attitude of treating Islam as Yateem (orphan)!
Muslim related from Thawbaan that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “There will continue to be a group from my Ummah, steadfast for the truth, not being hurt by those who let them down or disagree with them until the order of Allah comes and they are victorious” [Bukhari & Muslim]
The choice is before all Muslims to rekindle the torch of Islam as it was given to the Sahaba from its text (wahy) and not from OUR customs, traditions or experiences. This torch can be rekindled when we return to the text (wahy), and then apply it upon the Ummah so that we may InshAllah fulfil the obligations of a just Ummah.
Extract from Khalifornia Magazine January/February 1993