Uploaded on November 16, 2021
FAITH-INSPIRED COURAGE AND WISDOM OBLIGATORY FOR SOLVING PRESENT PROBLEMS
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Conditions today are, to a great extent, similar to the conditions, which had been created in the country at the time of the foundation of the All India Milli Council. We may recall the memories of the year 1992 when the entire country was thrown into the fierce fire of communalism, putting into dust the real identity of India, which consists of democracy, secularism, and unity in diversity. In such an atmosphere, the All India Millia Council embarked on its noble journey. All Praises are for Allah that under the patronage of Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadvi, with the guidance of the jurist of his time, Maulana Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi, and in association with innumerable theologians and intellectuals, the All India Milli Council reached several milestones. Thanks to Allah’s bounty that even in today’s difficult times, the Council has the privilege of guidance from renowned Islamic scholars and intellectuals. This fact makes us believe strongly that even today, the Council possesses all abilities to guide the community and protect the country. If the dispersed capabilities are brought together by organised planning, faith-inspired courage, and faith-guided wisdom to move forward, Almighty willing, the situation will start changing and positive results will surface.
India is one of the countries that witnessed the arrival of Muslims in the first century AH, followed by the foundation of Muslim rule in India. When the Mughals arrived here, they changed the fortunes of India, bringing India parallel to great world kingdoms. Mughals territories extended up to many other countries. Then, when the British usurped power, Muslims took up arms and started the First War of Independence. When the Freedom Struggle gained strength, Hindus came to aid, and finally, India won freedom in 1947. A free, secular, and democratic came into being. All Indian citizens were given equal positions sans any discrimination on the ground of religion, language, and region. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Dalit, and people of other faiths made a firm resolve to live together, but sadly communal elements also kept on increasing their divisive activities. Consequently, from the day Gandhi Ji was assassinated until the tragic incidents of Muslim genocide, we have been witnessing communal terror and barbarism in a very brazen manner. For seventy years, efforts have been made constantly to tarnish and disfigure the democratic image of India. This is why hatred and communalism have made deep roots in Indian society, and respectability is being conferred on these destructive trends. Besides this, every possible effort is being made to abrogate the spirit of the Indian Constitution, changing completely the real image of India in the sight of the whole world.
At this point, I consider it necessary to explain that countering adverse circumstances, facing difficulties, accepting challenges, and following Islamic teachings to assure their existence, and preparing themselves to lead the world have always been the main characteristics of Muslims. At every period of time, Muslims have worked in this direction. We came across several occasions in Islamic history when we saw the whole Islamic world at crossroads of dejection and destruction, but then the scenario changed, and there appeared a great leader, or there emerged a great society. The Islamic thinker, Maulana Ali Miyan Nadvi wrote his monumental work titled “Tarikh-i- D’awat-o-‘Azimat,” which revolves around this basic point that Islam possesses a spirit that makes Muslims restless; this spirit, which is so unique to Islam, does not keep Muslims away from the spectacle. Conditions might go worsening, Muslims somehow manage their eminence in the world order and bring about their revival, but Muslims owe all this to their faith-inspired courage and faith-guided wisdom. We see that whenever Muslims have not shown spirit, showed cowardice in the face of adverse conditions, and allowed fear and timidity to dominate them, they then suffered humiliation and disgrace. We firmly believe that even in the present frustrating situation, the spirit of Islam still controls the Islamic community, which is a distinctive feature and the real identity of Islam. Therefore, we are perturbed at the present conditions but are not disillusioned.
We should not forget that mutual understanding, unity, and amity are the basic needs of Muslims. The Holy Qur’an has emphasized the need for unity and amity. There is no ambiguity in Allah’s command to hold fast the rope of Allah and don’t create dissensions between them. The Noble Qur’an contains Allah’s message and His teachings and guidance. The Holy Book of Islam states the mode of living of humans. The means of enactment of this in one’s life is reflected in the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Therefore, Muslims should unite on the basis of the Holy Book and the Sunnah. Unity does not mean that all Muslims should give up their individual opinion, renounce their beliefs and thoughts. Instead, the call for unity aims that while maintaining their beliefs, they should display total unity; they should consider it forbidden to bring their juristic and disagreements on minor issues on the public platform. They show tolerance, respect, and a generous heart to others’ opinions and logic. Prejudice should be shunned since prejudice begets controversy and conflict. Along with the importance of unity, Allah regards dissension, disruption, pride, and arrogance as the habit of disbelievers.
In the present environment in India, it is necessary that, along with the unity between Muslims, we should also maintain good relations with the people of other faiths in our homeland. The time demands that while maintaining self-esteem, tradition, and Islamic rites, we should meet our brothers from other faiths, invite them to our homes, increase contact with them, and stand with them in misery. Doors for dialogue and debate should always remain open. Learning a lesson from an aspect of the life of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) known as “Half al–Fudul” (an alliance of confederacy), we should take an interest, for the sake of humans, in everyone’s welfare and problems, extending a helping hand to solve his problem. However, while making such efforts, one should take guard and control himself. Those who come forward to help people of other faiths under some pressure or impact abandoning the community interest and working in self-interest only don’t succeed in the end. We should understand that some people in authority and government try to exploit the meek to accrue some advantage, and we become, knowingly or unknowingly, tools in their hands. We even fail to realize how we are being used and who is drawing benefit from our steps. So, at every moment, we should stay alert by exercising faith-guided wisdom.
In the present environment in India, it is also very much required that the community maintains communications with the governments at the centre and states. These interactions should be governed by wisdom. We should create courage to negotiate with government authorities at a level of equality without fearing and standing in awe. We should also avail opportunities to talk with those who we know well that they don’t bother about the country’s constitution, nor do they take care of minorities or the democratic identity of the country. In such meetings, we should behave in such a manner that they become awestricken on account of our actions, thoughts, determination, and our human-friendly passion. This will happen only when we cast off the robe of awfulness.
I want to say one thing with great emphasis that in the conditions prevailing in India, we should hold fast to the Qur’anic lesson of human dignity and human magnanimity. We shall have to prepare future strategies by combining the Constitution of India with the Qur’anic teaching of human magnificence.
With a strong and cohesive policy, we shall have to overcome the social confusion and place ourselves close to backward sections of society. I feel that without connecting with the ground-level reality and making the people of India join our voice, we can’t move farther in our forward journey. This can’t happen unless we consider the problems and difficulties people are facing as our problem. To achieve this aim, we shall have to create a temperament that leads us to support every good and welfare work and stand against all evils and oppressions.
Yet another very important need of the time is to create, among Muslims, a sense of hygiene, educational awareness, and a strong desire to adorn his personality with high ethical values and character. In history, no revolution happened without education, and similarly, it can never happen without education in the future. To meet this end, we shall have to assert our previous determination to achieve literacy for every Muslim child by the year 2050. We shall have to go for higher education, particularly in the field of law, technology, and media studies; we shall have to convince and persuade our youth by concerted effort to opt for these particular disciplines in large numbers. If we employ individual, collective and organizational means and resources as a beautiful loan and promote more and more resources of medium-scale income, it will strengthen the economic foundations of the community. In addition, we shall have to exercise as Indian citizens our right to vote with thorough consciousness. In this regard, the Council had earlier experienced the tactical election strategy with great success. In my opinion, if this strategy is replicated across the country, positive results would come out. Another area in which we need to work with commitment and sincerity is to prepare a new narrative of our history, culture, and traditions that can be presented to our nation and the whole world.
What has been said in the present context of the country is valid for the present and can benefit our future planning. All this exercise can be done only when we use faith-inspired courage and faith-guided wisdom. No milestone can be crossed over without this kind of wisdom and courage. If we possess courage and wisdom, our path will become smooth automatically, and the work plan and newer plans would be revealed to our minds.
I pray to Almighty Allah that He grants us divine guidance to act with faith-inspired courage and faith-inspired wisdom.
May Allah guide us to revive the tradition of penning the history of determination and firmness! Aameen!
(The above is an edited version ofthe speech delivered by Dr. Mohammad ManzoorAlam, Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies and General Secretary, All India Milli Council at the 21st Annual Session of the General Body Meeting of the All India Milli Council on November 12-14, 2021 at Patna)