Is Islam a Name of Fundamentalism?
English Essay on “Is Islam a Name of Fundamentalism?”
Would you call it an irony of fate or international vilification of Islam by some nations that a religion which, by its very name, is peace-preaching has come to be associated with Terrorism and condemned under, the newly coined term fundamentalism. Basically, fundamentalism means nothing more than sticking to the fundamentals of one’s faith. Is it bad? Do not many Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, even the nonreligious communists stick to the fundamentals of their faith? Are they not fundamentalists by the very definition? Why is the term applied only to Muslims specifically and discriminately? Just to condemn them under a new name?
For centuries the Western nations have been condemning Islam on the accusation that Islam had been spread by sword. When Western scholars themselves exposed the fallacy of this proposition, anti-Islam minds thought of a new pretext. They coined the word fundamentalism to equate Muslims with terrorists. Their policy is to give their opponents a bad name and kill them. Islam means peace arid submission to the Divine Will. It preaches peace of all types — peace between man and man, between man and God, between man and the universe, between man and his environment, between man and the plant and animal kingdoms — peace at individual, family, social, national and international levels. The whole life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the early history of Islam testifies to the peace-loving nature of Islam. Any offensive steps taken by early Muslims were in self-defence in the sense that they were meant to check oppression and aggression and bring in durable peace. How can a religion whose prophet preaches that bravely lies not in bringing down one‘s rival to the ground but in overcoming one‘s own evil tendencies, tolerate, much less promote, terrorism?
Peace is internally linked with justice and human rights. All disorders and disputes arise from denying to others their due rights and a violation of basic human rights. That is why the Holy Prophet (PBUH) throughout his life emphasized peace, justice and human rights through personal example and through precepts and preaching. In AH 6 he negotiated a peace pact with the Makkans (known as Hudaibiya Treaty) even on apparently humiliating terms, just for the sake of peace and avoiding bloodshed.educationsight.blogspot.com It was perhaps, the sole occasion at which even the closest companions of the Holy Prophet CPBUH) like Hazrat Abu Bakr (PA) and Hatat Umar (PA) felt unhappy and aggrieved at the Holy Prophets (PBUR) decision. All felt that the peace terms were humiliating for the Muslims. But the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was guided by Allah in his decision that proved to be a blessing in disguise. More and more infidels came to accept the peace-loving religion that ultimately led to the conquest of Makkah.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) epitomised his teachings on human rights, on the occasion of the Hajjatul Wida. This year the Holy Prophet (PBUH) led the pilgrims for the Haj himself. The previous year he had got declared through Hazrat Ali (PA) that hence forth no infidel shall enter the Holy House nor shall anyone be allowed to perform Haj rituals in naked state as was done by the infidels earlier. Thus he had prepared the ground for Islamic triumph by restoring the Haj rituals to their original Ibrahimi manner. On the 26th. of Zilqa’dah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) marched towards Makkah as the head of the intending pilgrim’s procession. At Zul Hulaifa they dressed themselves in ihram and proceeded reciting Talbia: Labbaik, Allahumma Labbaik (at Thy service 0 Lord, we are here, at Thy service. There is no partner with Thee, we are at Thy service. Verily all Praise, all Bounty and all Kingdom belongs to Thee. We are at Thy service.) On reaching Makkah the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslims performed the Haj.
At Safa and Marwa Hills he delivered short sermons. But the most important was his last sermon known as Khutbae-Hajjatul Wida. Short as it may appear, the sermon is a Declaration of Human Rights. Couched indirect, pithy language it puts forward in quite unambiguous terms a gist of Islamic values and fundamental principles of an Islamic order. It touches upon almost all aspects of the Islamic way of life at the individual, family, community and national levels. And not only for Muslims, it is a declaration of Human Rights for all mankind.
Presenting a free translation of the Khutha its contents will be analysed to bring out clearly its significance.
When the Day of Pilgrimage arrives, the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) came to Arafa and made a stay there. And when the sun began to decline he ordered his she-camel, Quswah, to be prepared for him. Riding it he came down in the Valley and there he addressed the people and explained in it whatever he explained. First he praised Allah and glorified Him, saying, “there is none worth worshipping except Allah, the Only One. There is no partner with Him.. He has made His promise come true and has helped His servant and brought defeat upon the enemy forces, one and. all.” Then he said:
1 – O people, listen to my words, for I do not feel that you and I shah again come together in this assembly after this year.
2- O people, Allah says: O men We have created you out of a man and a woman, and have made you into clans and tribes so that you may recognise one another. Verily, the most honoured among you near Allah is the one who is most cautious God fearing). So nether has any Arab any superiority over a non-Arab, nor is any black man superior to any white man, nor i any white man in any way superior to any black man except on account of piety.
3- All men descend from Adam, and Adam was created our of dust Beware, all claims to superiority or blood (race), or of wealth which you reckoned with now lie trampled down under these my feet, except that the guardianship of the Sacred House and the provision of water for the pilgrims will continue as before.
4- Then he said: 0 Tribe of Quraish, let it not be so that on the Day of Judgement you come heavily laden with this world on your necks while other people come with the Hereafter (good deeds). In such a case I shall not by avail to you against Allah.
5- O Tribe of Quraish, verily Allah has removed from you the vanity (of the Days of Ignorance) and the boasting on account of your predecessors.
6. O people, your blood, your property and your honour are sacred (i.e., taboo) as among yourselves, till you meet your Lord. These areas sacred as this day of yours (Haj), as this month of yours (Zilhaj) and as this city of yours (Makkah). Soon you shall meet your Lord and He shall enquire about your deeds.
7- So, beware, don’t get misled after me that you begin to smite the necks of one another. Whosoever comes to have anything entrusted to him must hand it over back to the person who entrusted it to him.
8- O people, every Muslim is a brother unto every other Muslim (for all Muslims are brethren). As to your slaves, they are after all your slaves. Feed them with whatever you feed yourselves and dress them with whatever you dress yourselves.
9- Listen, everything that belongs to the Days of Ignorance lies trampled under my feet, deserted. All blood of the Days of Ignorance is cancelled. And first of all I remit the blood (due to us) of a son of Rabia bin al-Harith who was still at the nursing stage when he was murdered by Banu Hudhail.
10- And the usury brought forward from the Days of Ignorance stands cancelled. And the first usury that I remit here is the usury due from Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, which now stands totally remitted.
11- O people, verily Allah (glorified and honoured) has given the rightful claimants all their dues and rights. So now there is no need of any will in favour an heir.
12- A new-born belongs to the man on whose bed (in whose home) it has taken birth and for the (proven) adulterer there is stoning and his account is with Allah.
13- Whosoever shall ascribe his pedigree to a person other than his true father, or a slave ascribing his guardians hip to a person other than his real master shall be open to curse from Allah.
14- All debts must be paid back, all things borrowed must be returned, all gifts (and favours) are to be compensated. A surety undertaking to pay (in default) is bound to pay.
15. It is not permissible for any person to take anything from hi brother (Muslim) except what he later gives him willingly and out of his own free consent. So, do not be unjust towards yourselves or your brethren.
16- Beware, it is not permissible for any wife to give away anything out of her husband’s property except under permission from him.
17- O men, you have a right upon your wives and they too have a right upon you Your right upon them is this that they should not admit anyone else to their beds, for that would certainly annoy you, and that they should not commit any open indecency. If they do so Allah has permitted to desert them in their beds, or to beat them, not severely. Then if they stand back (from evil), they are entitled to customary food and dress. And among yourselves also advise one another to do good towards their wives, for they are under your protection and are not free to do whatever they like. So keep fearing Allah in matters pertaining to the rights of your wives. You have taken them as wives in the name of Allah and have made lawful to yourselves their private parts with the words (permission) of Allah.
18. And I am leaving with you a thing to which if you hold fast you will never go astray. That is the Book of Allah. And be mindful of any exaggerations in matters of deen (Islamic way of life), for those before you had perished because of their exaggeration in religious matters.
19. And Satan shall henceforth have no hope of being worshipped in his land of yours. But he shall still come to be obeyed in matters that appear slight to you and this will please him. So beware of his meddling with your deen.
20- Mind you, worship only your Lord. Offer your five prayers and observe fast du1ing your month (of Ramazan). Pay your due Zakat willingly, perform the Haj to the House of your Lord. Obey those with authority among you so that you may enter the Gardens of your Lord.
21. Mind you, a criminal commits crime only against himself. He does not commit crime to the detriment of his children, not does a son commit crime to the detriment of his father.
22- Listen, let those who are present here deliver my message to those who are absent. Sometimes recipient of a message is more capable of understanding it than the direct listener. You shall be asked about myself also. Then what will be your answer? The people said: We shall say we bear witness to the fact that you had entrusted the Trust (Islam) to us and had delivered the message faithfully and had wished us all good. There upon the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) pointed his finger towards the gathering, said thrice, 0 Allah bear witness.
Now let us analyse the contents of the Khutbak to bring out clearly its significance. The first clause hints at the universality of the Message. Twenty-two years earlier in his sermon at Mt. Safa he had addressed only hisfamily circles and his tribe, Quraish. Now the message is general, it is addressed to O People. Clause 2 declares in unequivocal terms the basic unity of mankind. Islam recognises no differences of race, colour, Language, descent or social status. All are equal in the eyes of Allah. Any superiority is on the basis of piety only, i.e., conformity to the’ Islamic order.
Clause 3 also stresses brotherhood of man. Islam has replaced all pagan beliefs and rituals repugnant to its teachings. Clause 4 is L safeguard against relying on others. Islam stresses personal accountability and allows no concessions to anyone in religious matters because of his high connections. Clause 5 also dismisses any claims based on races descent, wealth and tribal affiliations. Clause 6 guarantees full protection to the lives, property and honour of all citizens of an Islamic State. These are inviolable except under provisions of Law. Clause 7 condemns civil war, emphasises discharging of trusts and obligations arid declares equal rights of slaves for the first time in world history. Blood revenge and usury are prohibited as antisocial activities in the next clause. Clauses 9 and 10 stress the fact that example is always more effective in curbing evils than mere precepts and sermons.
Clause 11 dissuades us from giving arty person undue share in property. Clause 12 settles an important issue of the guardianship of a suspected baby. The father cannot disown the child on grounds of suspicion about the character of his wife. It is for the courts to decide. The next clause condemns the tendency to ascribe one’s descent to anyone else than one’s real father. Repaying of all debts, financial or favours, is stressed.
On the one hand is curbs the tendency to borrow unnecessarily and on the other it promotes free contacts and love for others. Paying back of debts is so much emphasized in Islam that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did not offer janaza prayers of a person dying under debt, nor would he allow a person to go to Jehad unless he clears his debt. Thus Islam safeguards financial rights of all citizens. Misappropriation of other’s property without his free consent s condemned. This i to uphold the sanctity of one’s property under Clause 6 above.
Clauses 16 and 17 detail the mutual rights and obligations of husbands and wives. High-handedness on the part of husbands is as much condemnable as faithlessness and misappropriation on the part of wives. Fair dealing on a give-and-take basis is the golden principle in family life. Clause 18 is important because it emphasizes sticking to the Quran. All sectarianism is based on differences in details. The clause also disapproves exaggerations in religious beliefs and practices as they create imbalance in life. Over-zealousness in celebrating religious festivals and exaggeration in naats thus stand condemned. Islam is a balanced religion and disapproves any exaggerated tendencies as was done by Christians and Jews in deification of their prophets. Clause 18 teaches us to be mindful of all our actions. Are we not usurping rights of others? Clause 20 stresses the basic practices of Islam. Individual accountability is stressed in Clause 21. The final clause places on all of us who know an abiding responsibility to teach those who do not know. Thus education becomes not only a State responsibility but also emphasises independent thinking and understanding of Islam.