The crippling incompetence
The most disastrous incompetence or disability of a human is not physical but intellectual. The people with physical disabilities -like a broken arm, missing leg, or blind eyes can incredibly cope with day-to-day difficulties. The insights of such men or women still may remain intact; therefore, still can live a life as a sensible and responsible man in a society. But the intellectual inability takes away the necessary moral, ethical, and societal skills and makes them incompatible with a life with self-respect, dignity, responsibility, and insights. This is why Alzheimer’s dementia -which causes awful depletion of intellectual abilities, is so much dreaded in civilized societies. In dementia, memory loss is global: it affects all domains of mental recollection and destroys the whole intellectual ability. Such a man fails to recognize even his own wife, children and house of residence. He doesn’t have any sense of his death and the life after death. If such a person gets out onto a street, can’t return back to his own residence. He loses his most basic cognitive power; therefore fails to differentiate the right from the wrong, the good from the bad, and the friends from the foes.
But awfully, people with intact memory may even behave as if they have no memory vis-à-vis some fundamental truths and no insight to judge right and wrong. Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala described them in the Holy Qur’an as the people who have eyes but can’t see, they have ears but can’t hear and they have intellect but can’t think. They are the people inferior to the cattle. Their selective amnesia of some fundamental truths leads to an incorrect understanding of the real worth of life. The people with such restrictive focus concentrate only on issues that help maximize the immediate gains. In their relentless personal pursuit, even the most important issues like success in the infinite life in the hereafter gets ignored or goes to oblivion. They even make mockery of the very purpose of the creation. They are the people who fail to align with the vision of their own Creator –the Almighty Allah. They exclusively take their selfish interest, motive, and vision as the sole criteria to make decisions on family values, morality, justice, politics, culture, and other societal norms. Truth gets accepted or rejected on the basis of its compatibility with their personal lust, agenda, or whims.
Such selective disregard of the Divine Truth and the realities of life is indeed the root cause of humans’ failure to grow up as the best creation on earth. Such an arrogant and selfish attitude frustrates Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s vision of overwhelming the world with His Own Qur’anic prescription for the common and the ultimate benefit of mankind. Indeed, this has been the core crime of the kuffar in all ages. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala repeatedly reveals the story of how people deliberately rejected the Truth -revealed to them through prophets. Such arrogance not only makes them disobey the divinely assigned role but also prompts them to stand against the Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s project for humans’ salvation. In Alzheimer’s dementia, the victim’s functional power gets markedly compromised; therefore, it diminishes the power of his criminality. But in selective amnesia, people retain the power of deliberate wrongdoing. Therefore, the most dreadful man-made disasters in human history are not caused by the people who suffer from dementia, rather by the people who are afflicted with self-induced rejection of the Divine Truth, the moral responsibility and the core issues of life.
The forgotten issue
What’s the most forgotten issue in life? Is it the belief in Allah – the Almighty? This is not the case. Even the non-believers of Makkah didn’t disbelieve in Him. In those days of pre-Islamic jahiliyyah (ignorance), the belief in Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala was intact. As evidenced from the tradition that they even preferred naming their son as Abd’Allah –the slave of Allah. Even today, the huge scientific advancement couldn’t annihilate the faith in God either. Even the secular Americans express their faith in God by printing “We trust in God ” on the currency notes. So, disbelieving Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala is not an issue. Even the basic pillars of Islam -like salah, fasting, hajj, and jakat are not forgotten either by the common Muslims. The crowded mosques in Muslim countries, the mammoth gathering during the hajji in Makkah, and the fasting millions in Ramadan give the testimony that none of these pillars of Islam has been forgotten in the Muslim World. Even many dishonest men and women believe in Allah. They offer prayers, keep fasting, give charities and even go for hajj and umrah.
In fact, the most forgotten issue in human life is siratul mustaqeem –the right path shown by Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala through His prophets and the Divine books. The creation of the right path is not within the domain of humans’ intellect. In fact, the most incapacitating inadequacy of humans lies in finding the right path and not in scientific discovery. So, showing the right path to the humans has been taken by Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala –the Almighty Creator, as His own responsibility. So, in the Holy Qur’an, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala says, “Inna alainal huda ” (certainly, on Me rests guiding the people). In order to discharge such a crucial responsibility, more than a hundred thousand prophets were sent down to the mankind. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is indeed the last prophet in that Divine chain. In fact, it is the most important blessing of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala for all humans.
Humans are created for an endless life. Death doesn’t end it, rather transfers life to a deathless station in the hereafter. The success in the infinite life entirely depends on getting a place in heaven. Otherwise, this life ends in endless horror in hellfire. Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala wants humans to succeed in this world as well as in the hereafter. To ensure the success of His beloved creation, He has sent down prophets like Nuh (peace be upon him), Ibrahim (peace be upon him), Musa (peace be upon him), Isa (peace be upon him), Muhammad (peace be upon him), and more than hundred thousands other prophets of the same Divine chain with the same Divine roadmap called siratul mustaqeem. But their followers made awful history in forgetting as well disobeying or concealing that Divine path. In Islam, such acts are condemned as kufr that takes one to the hellfire. Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala considers such denial, disobedience and arrogance as great crimes that bring down the Divine punishment not only to the worldly life but also to the life in the hereafter.
The Holy Qur’an gives vivid descriptions of the crimes of the rebellious people of different ages and also tells about the punishments that were sanctioned on them. The Qur’an goes into a great detail on the failures of the Bani Israel (the people of Israel) and projected them as the example of careless, failed, and disobedient students of Islam. In order to help people take the lesson from their failure, the Holy Qur’an not only reveals the right path towards paradise but also demonstrates paths of deviations that take people definitely to the hellfire. In the collective memory of these people, only the name of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala and some prophets survived, but not the revealed true path. The memory of the right path of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala –siratul mustaqeem went into oblivion. Likewise, only the name of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala and the names of Ibrahim and his son Ismail survived among their Makkahan descendants, but not their deen-e-haneef -the Ibrahimic way of life. Thus, the deviation went so far and deep.
As part of the same Divine chain, the Holy Qur’an came as the last warning cum the last revelation of the siratul mustaqeem. It is no less shocking that the case of today’s Muslims hasn’t been different either. In the Muslims’ collective memory, though the names of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala, His prophets, and the Qur’an still survive, but seldom they follow the Qur’anic road-map in their educational, political, judicial, cultural, and social life. So, they too made a history of awful failures. As a result, the onward march of the Muslims’ decline continues.
The Qur’anic roadmap is all-inclusive. Not only it shows the right way of performing daily prayers, fasting in Ramadan, giving charity, performing hajj, and other forms of ibadah, but also prescribes halal foods and drinks, right judiciary, politics of justice, fair distribution of inheritance, economics of welfare, culture of personal and societal reconstruction, and war for promoting peace. Practicing any non-Qur’anic prescription is tantamount to clear disbelief in Islam. One can’t think of any success in this life and in the hereafter without strict adherence to the road-map –the siratul mustaqeem, as revealed in the Holy Qur’an. But unfortunately, this is the most missing element in the Muslims’ life today. Muslims’ statehood, trade, dress, culture, morality, politics, laws, and economics do not match with that of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions. These are not based on submission to the Qur’anic revelation and the Prophetic tradition, rather on rebellion against Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. They invest their intellect, energy, wealth, and even life to fulfill their secular, national or tribal aspirations, not an Islamic one.
Between two destinations there can’t be more than one straight line. But the deviations may be in thousands. The Qur’anic roadmap never shows different paths for different ethnic or linguistic groups of the people –the ummah. Overwhelming disunity, disarray, and conflicts in the Muslim world reveal the level of their deviations from siratul mustaqeem. The Muslims proved to be the most divided people on the earth. They still hunt for issues to make further divisions. The Christians, the Hindus, and the Chinese –each could build their own huge united states. Previously, the Muslims could do that too. But now the Muslims cannot even think of that -let alone achieve that. In the early days of Islam, Muslims built a state with the civilizational purpose. It was based on Divine faith, values, and vision. Building such a state is not politics, rather Islamic obligation on every believing man and woman. Otherwise, it becomes impossible for the Muslims to achieve their civilizational objectives. Then, a Muslim can’t invest his or her potentials for the greater benefit of the ummah –especially for its defence and security. As a result, his energy and abilities take other routes; get spent on causing more divisions inside the ummah in the name of land, language, ethnicities, and other parochial agendas.
The Qur’anic roadmap cannot move further towards the Divine aim without establishing a civilizational state; a secular or anti-Islamic state stands as a stumbling block against such a move. Such non-Islamic states keep that Islamic aspiration captive inside mosques and madrasas. The early Muslims could go incredibly high to make a glorious impact on human history because of an Islamic state. In those days, major efforts and sacrifices of the Muslims were made to fulfill that civilizational goal. But today’s Muslims are making history with decadence and failures. In those days the Arabs, the Persians, the Kurds, the Levant, the Turks, the Barbers, the Moors, the Tatars, and many others -all formed a united state with a single Qur’anic vision. But now they have fallen apart on parochial agendas. They are divided to pursue national, regional, tribal, or secular goals. This indeed depicts precisely how Muslims have failed badly to grow up as true Muslim.
Prior to making a footstep on a road, every sensible man or woman firstly takes a deep look at the roadmap of the planned journey. And becomes sure about the right destination. Otherwise, the journey ends up at the wrong destination. In comparison, a Muslim’s journey towards parasise is not a casual tour, rather the most important task in life. Nothing in life can be more important than it. A slight deviation takes one to another destination called hellfire. So the roadmap with all of its landmarks, signposts and mileposts needs to be known by heart by every Muslim man and woman. Otherwise, following the right path and reaching the Divine destination in paradise become impossible. And the Holy Qur’an has been revealed to show the right roadmap of the journey. Therefore, the Qur’anic literacy is crucial. It is the only tool of knowing the roadmap; hence it is a religious obligation on every man and woman to learn the Holy Qur’an. And staying ignorant of the Holy Qur’an is a major sin that opens the gates of other sins.
The Qur’anic road-map (siratul mustaqeem) -with all its all signals and signs is not hidden from public eyes or kept in the custody of a few, rather made known to all in all possible ways. Whoever reads the Holy Qur’an, whoever studies the life of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and whoever explores his sayings (hadees), will get the elaborate guidance to stay on the right path towards the paradise. He will receive clear signals on what to do and what not to do, where to take the turn and where to restrain. No one can’t be a true Muslim unless he or she follows the Qur’anic roadmap. But the real picture in the Muslim world is different. The commonly pursued paths are different from that of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Their politics and policies, education and culture, courts and laws, economics and banking do not follow that Divine guidance, rather they follow the road of the known deviants and the anti-Islamic non-Muslims. They deliberately pursue such clear deviation to fulfill their personal, national, sectarian, or tribal objectives.
The most important issue and the disastrous neglect
What is the important issue in life? Is it a good job, better house, decent wife, clever children, respectful profession, high income, or worldly successes? Most people spend their whole life and abilities on these common issues. But the most important issue is to successfully follow the right path towards paradise. This path takes through ibadah, combative politics, mischievous ideologies, warfares, corruptive cultures, and many other crucial issues. Humans are usually at crossroads on these issues. Most crucial mistakes are made at these junctures; most people get lost on the wrong track. Only those who pick up the right path at each crossroads reach paradise. Humans’ real intelligence, wisdom and knowledge are judged here. Mistakes made at the crossroads can never be undone or compensated by gains in professional, marital, economic or other areas. Here, the Holy Qur’an –and no other book or tool, works as the perfect compass to show the right road at every crossroads. For that, the Qur’anic literacy is the most crucial. This is why the Holy Qur’an is the most precious gift of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. Nothing can match its worth and importance.
None but the All-Knowing Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala is fully aware of every inadequacy of the humans –the creations of His Own. Man takes worldly gains and achievements as the real markers of success in life. But Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala reveals otherwise. In the Quran it is revealed, “(O Muhammad!) Tell them, should I inform you about those who are the ultimate loser in their deeds? They are people whose whole efforts in this world have gone in the wrong way, and they think they are doing well in their deeds.” (Surah Al-Kahf, verse 103-104)
It is the saddest reality that most people fail to identify the most important issue in life. Such ignorance is very awful. In fact, the great deviation in life towards hellfire indeed starts from ignorance. Civilizations collapsed and nations perished -not due to lack of foods or drinks, but due to such deviations. If wealth, wife, children, business, professions, political power, and worldly pleasures get priority in one’s life and ignore the hereafter, he indeed fails to set the right goal in life. Such people definitely miss situal mustaqeem -the Divine path. Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s greatest gift comes not as food, drink, or other essential stuff of livelihood –these are given to animals too. In fact, the greatest blessing of the All-Wise Almighty comes as guidance on every important issue in life. He has also given us the necessary means to keep our focus constantly on the Divine guidance. It is through the deep study of the Holy Qur’an, five-time salah, month-long fasting, contemplation (zikr) on His blessing, and other good deeds. Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala wants our success, and obligatory prayers to draw our attention to the path of that eternal success. The supplication in Surah Fatiha is indeed the most important tool to fix our mind on the right path of eternal success.
The wrong prioritization
A human has to live amidst hundreds of issues; and the success depends on the correct prioritization of issues. To attain the ultimate success, knowing and addressing the priorities are crucial. It is so important that Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala opens the first Surah of the Holy Qur’an to highlight the issue. All men and women need to be focused on it, and the issue must not get out of the radar at any point in time. Since dowa (supplication) is the expression of man’s most cherished desire, the intended right priority of a believer has been embedded in the Qur’anic supplication in Surah Fatiha, recited in every unit of prayer (salah). The most important priority in life is to attain paradise in the hereafter. And to meet that target, seeking the right path of paradise becomes the next priority. Thus a hierarchy of priorities come in Muslims’ minds that constitutes the all-time exclusive slavery of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala, seeking only His help, pursuing the siratul mustaqeem –as per the Holy Qur’an and avoiding every deviation and rebellion.
The man who has no belief in Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala and in the hereafter is deprived of any interest vis-à-vis following the siratul mustaqeem -the Divine road map. Therefore, issues like slavery of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala, seeking His help, following the siratul mustaqeem, and avoiding the deviation do not find any place in his priorities. As a result, his philosophy, belief, behavior, attitude, deeds, and road map are understandably different from a true believer. Man’s activities indeed bear the imprints of his prime motive and desires. So the molding of his faith, the correction of his deeds, and the purification of his soul indeed start from his inner longing. Such longing works as the guiding compass. Islam teaches humans to make paradise as the right summit of the longings and reveals the right roadmap to reach there. So, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala addresses that issue first of all in the Holy Qur’an; therefore starts with Surah Fatiha. So it is rightly named as Fatiha -the opening. But those who deviate at the start, how can they be right at the end? In fact, here lies the real pathology of Muslims’ failure. 18/10/2021.
Disclaimer: The failed Muslims and the pathology - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view