Uploaded on April 20, 2022
Desperate times calls for Dignified Actions
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
“And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him ease in his matter.” (Quran, 65:4)
As Ramadan entered the second half phase of its completion, we are left with a limited number of days till we bid adieu to this pious month. This month has been rough for the Muslim community in India. And this makes the month of Ramadan even more precious this year. One would wonder valuable, how? Well, we all are aware of the payback Ramadan has to offer. The multifaceted guarantee of multiplying our good deeds and the promise of Allah to make people more conscious of its presence and maximizing the possibility of gaining Taqwa are some of the highlights of Ramadan. So yes, the significance of this sacred month is unparalleled and critical, more so in testing times like such.
Globally, Muslims are suffering persecution at the hands of anti-Muslim forces. But this is more apparent in India, especially after the festival of Ramnavmi. Violence against Muslims across the nation has even surpassed the humanitarian ground of coexistence in civil society. Incidents of playing loud and provocative music during prayers, vandalizing and hoisting saffron flags, bulldozing Muslim ghetto areas, carrying guns and swords during the procession, etc., are very commonly seen since the month of Holy Ramadan began. The compliance of police forces to side with the rioters and arresting Muslims in the name of “clash” and “stone-pelting” signifies the inherent hatred towards the marginalized sections of society accumulated by the majoritarian squad. Violence in the name of religion that starts with physical abuse, economic and livelihood shunning, which can go up to arrests and killings, has a clear-cut motive—maiming the voice of the voiceless. The objective of discrimination and injustice against the weaker sections of the society also indicates their desperate intention of creating fear psychosis. The minorities of our country have been physically and mentally harassed and tormented so much that they fear for their lives each day.
In the intense communal tension engulfing the nation, there is no guarantee whether they will return home safely or not when stepping out of the house. The fear of one’s own existence and safety in their motherland at the hands of their fellow countrymen is heart-wrenching. The normalization of such incidents acts as a deterrent for raising the voice of thousands of young Muslims who fear for the well being of their loved ones. The anxiety, horror and panic of Hindutva violence are as real as they can get. Unquestionably, no one has the authority to demean the experience of millions of Muslims. So what is the Muslim community left with? We have to look for answers provided by the Almighty Allah SWT. The discourse of fear reminds of the concept of Taqwa in Islam. The Holy Qur’an talks about the logical fear (Taqwa) a great deal.
Taqwa, from the linguistic point of view, means precautionary and preventive actions to avoid difficult situations. There have been many distinct discussions on the subject to understand the essence of the subject. In the present context, the best we make sense of the discourse of fear is to know what Allah SWT has decreed its people about it. Allah has guided us with the concept of logical fear— a rational and healthy approach to stay away from any difficult situation. Allah wants the Ummah to be conscious, alert, and awake to our surroundings. Fear is an essential survival instinct that humans have been rewarded with. Fear in balance is constructive. Imagine crossing a busy road with our eyes closed due to the lack of fear; what would be the outcome of being completely fearless? Children, who are still in the process of complete sensory and motor development, are always accompanied by elders for fear of hurting themselves. We do teach children to be attentive to their surroundings and fear anything that could possibly harm them.
Likewise, Taqwa helps us connect and be closer to the Merciful Allah. If we stop fearing the consequences of evil deeds, we may never make an effort to become the righteous, kind, and empathetic person that Allah guides us all to be. The absence of the fear of Allah while committing a sin or hurting someone physically or mentally may lead to a chaotic, self-centered, wicked society. There would be no perception of justice, equality, freedom, and brotherhood amongst people, and it is unlikely to desire an unjust and disproportionate social order. It is imperative to note that this fear is supposed to be held in reserve for Allah SWT and Him alone; none other than the Almighty deserves this stature.
If we are on the righteous path, as described in the Holy Qur’an, we need not be scared of the people, especially those who intend to cause suffering and trauma to the Muslim community. Be assured that the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Allah is with us and is not going to leave our side just like the shadow of your body. We have to be conscious of His presence, be afraid of His anger, and be mindful of His mercy. Since we are approaching the end of this pious month, our remaining attention should be focused on deeds to please Allah SWT, for it is only Him who could get us through trying times like these. The ongoing disruption should not distract the Ummah, especially the younger generation, to take part in upright and virtuous actions, helping those in need, taking good care of their health to maximize their participation in helping others in whatever way possible.
We can also learn from Taqwa to demonstrate positive action and behavior in our day-to-day lives. This optimistic approach is mentioned in the Qur’an, which emphasizes upholding and uplifting human dignity. Allah SWT demands its people to never violate human dignity. We, as Muslims, should always work to safeguard and enrich the integrity and honor of humans at large. Extending our helping hands to promote justice, equality, morality, lawfulness, democratic social order, peace, and compassion in society will go in the long run. The Ummah can take lessons from the Battle of Uhud and understand the implication of adopting rational, patient, and moral high ground actions to overcome the beleaguered state of affairs that we are in. We should be the model of the Qur’anic teachings and reflect them in our measures and behavior.
And always remember: Indeed, Allah is with those who are patient. (Quran 2:153 and 8:46)