The contemporary world is witnessing a major downfall of moral civilization despite appreciable technological development. Perhaps the technology only has made humankind devoid of ultimate life-goals and inner peace. This fast-paced and materialistic world has completely changed the perspective of every approach and now man pursues things to gain an immediate result and thus gets caught in the labyrinth of this temporary world without a single moment of inner peace and contentment.
Basic questions of Life
Since time immemorial humans have wondered questions like, “Why were we created?”, “Where did we come from?”, “What happens when we die?”. Merely existing in the world without an aim is not an answer to these questions. There has to be a purpose for man to live. Not knowing the secret of our existence, the aim of our life or the outcome after our death leaves us untethered, ignorant & oblivious leading to vulnerability & faint-hearted.
Japan, Greenland, South Korea, etc are among the top ten nations to have the most number of suicides in the world. These countries being the most advanced in terms of living standards still fail to satisfy human needs. To be specific, the needs of a soul are unattended.
Islam is the only way of life that teaches humans contentment of heart, peace of mind, the spirituality of the soul, and how to face adversities, all while dealing with the worldly affairs simultaneously.
Qur’an tells us “Who created death and life that He might try you as to which of you is better in deed. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Forgiving.” (Al- Qur’an 67: 2)
It furthermore enlightens about the completion of this transient life and the beginning of an eternal afterlife. “Do they not think that they will be raised up again on a Great Day? – The Day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of the worlds.” (Al- Qur’an 83:4-6)
Quran’s message is for the whole of mankind and awaits all those who seek the truth, straight path, and success of this world as well as the Hereafter!
Islam: Complete System of Life
Today’s competitive world is based on materialistic ideology having its own system of living with its own socio-economic and political system and claims for an ideally just society regulated by the rational structure of the social organization but in reality, it’s a complete failure. It has produced the worst socio-economic and political problems and failed in stabilizing a just social order. Two-third of the world population today live on less than 10 $-int per day1 and around 9 million people die every year of hunger2. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year3, 1% richest have 44% of the total global wealth4, and 250,000 reported cases of rape annually.5
Islam presents its own distinct socio-economic and political system with its own values of a just and egalitarian society based upon the ideology of social justice. It’s not only in theory, but history has already experienced over the centuries its practical model giving the best solution to human problems. It keeps every individual at an equal rank and prevents any type of discrimination and oppression.
“God commands justice, kindness, and giving their [due to] near relatives, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and transgression. He admonishes you so that you may take heed!” (Al- Qur’an 16:90)
Islam thus proves itself as a complete system of life and defines human beings as not born uselessly rather have certain duties and responsibilities towards themselves and society.
Qur’an says “everyone is responsible for their own deeds and will be awarded accordingly.” Thus, we must act wisely, live justly, and promote good deeds.
Spirituality and Peace of Mind
Lockdown or Quarantine blues wouldn’t have been a relevant term in 2019, however, this year has been different than others. According to an online survey,6 during the initial months of COVID-19, 33.2% of people had a significant psychological impact. The year 2020 got us into a state where we paused and introspected about our principles, beliefs, spirituality, etc. With all the uncertainties happening around, it was the words of the Almighty, only, that kept us going as we started to rely upon Him and trust His plans more. Spirituality helped a lot of us to take a break from the worldly life, away from all the deadlines, and thus focus more on the greater goal of the hereafter. The sadness of heart and mind eventually goes away when we water the seeds of spirituality in our souls.
Reciting and understanding the words of our Creator with concentration, engaging ourselves in His remembrance with a moistened heart, and praying to Him with complete devotion; are some ways through which our hearts will remain tranquil, away from negatives and noises of this transient world.
“Surely in Allah’s remembrance do hearts find rest.” (Al-Qur’an 13:28)
The recent rise of the right-wing Government in India and the way they have ruled has given rise to the apprehension that India is moving towards a lethal dictatorship. In a well-known tradition Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said, “Most noble struggle is to speak the truthful word in the presence of a tyrannical ruler.”
In Islam, justice is not just a concept but a divinely entrusted duty upon Muslims as the custodians on this earth to uphold justice and stand on the side of the oppressed. Being a Muslim is not a passive act and it is obligatory upon Muslims to do everything in their power to eradicate oppression even if it means to go against one’s dear ones.
Qur’an says, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witness for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.” (Al- Qur’an 4:135)
Social inequality is deeply ingrained in Indian society. Our history is a saga of discrimination and oppression against Dalit and Adivasi communities. According to the latest NCRB report 5775 offenses were committed against SC/STs in 2017, 3172 were related to “intentionally insult”, 47 cases of land grabbing, they faced a social boycott in 63 cases and they were prevented from using public spaces in 12 cases.7
The last Prophet of Islam Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in his last sermon said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also, a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.”
This speech eliminates all sorts of inequality and discrimination and liberates mankind from all kinds of superiority complex. Islam invites mankind towards the universal message of equality and invites us to accept the fact that all human beings are equal, being each other’s brothers and sisters.
Dignity refers to the honor and respect that one is treated with. Islam has given dignity to all individuals as an inherent gift. When Adam, the first man was created, Almighty, breathed a part of His spirit into his soul which elevated the status of mankind, receiving a divine gift from the Lord Himself.
“Certainly, we gave dignity to the children of Adam, and carried them over land and sea, and provided them with all the good things, and given them an advantage over many of those We have created with a complete preference.” (Al- Qur’an 17:70)
This emphasizes the clear idea that dignity is not exclusive to a particular class of the group. It is not something that can be claimed or given to the pious alone; Islam has given dignity to the mankind irrespective of their caste, race, tribe, nations, gender, or religion.
Islam has shown us a path of showing respect to one another and strengthen the brotherhood amongst us. Actions that are forbidden include backbiting, mockery and sarcasm, defamation, and false accusations to harm the dignity of the other. The Hadith and the Qur’anic teachings have laid guidelines to increase the fraternity amongst us and to give the right of dignity to every fellow human.
When we look around ourselves, a basic question arises in everyone’s mind despite no relation with the ecological background; what is our relationship with the environment?
It is evident that because of the indifferent attitude of mankind towards divine guidance, mankind has mistakenly taken this relationship as of an owner and his property, hence exploiting natural resources the way he likes and results of which is before his eyes.
Consider the example of air pollution. Air pollution causes approximately 7 million death each year worldwide8 and according to WHO nearly 1 in 4 of total global death is a result of an unhealthy environment.9
Islam gives mankind a worldview that is not man-centric but God-centric. Qur’an tells us, that mankind is custodian on this earth and the ownership of whatever is in the earth and the heavens belonging to God alone! Also, as a custodian, there are limits set up by the owner of this world which mankind cannot exceed.
God says in Qur’an, “And remember when He made you successors after the ‘Aad and settled you in the land, (and) you take for yourselves palaces from its plains and carve mountains, homes. Then remember the favors of God and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption”. (Al- Qur’an 7:74)
Islamic principles are based on TRUTH and JUSTICE, which makes them an enemy in the eyes of global powers based on injustice. According to Pew Research, Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world.10 This has prompted these powers to malign Islam and kill Muslims in an attempt to curb Islam’s growth. This is known as ‘Islamophobia’.
9/11 did a catalyst’s job for Islamophobia with the infamous ‘WAR ON TERROR’ claiming countless (of) lives in the Middle East. The rise of staunch ultra-nationalism has also played a part in making Muslim minorities akin to Jews of Nazi Germany.
In India, a major factor in the rising tide of violence against Muslims has been the mainstreaming of fascist parties. Different incidents of the massacre of Muslims reveal that anti-Muslim hatred precedes these parties.
We should encourage a discussion on religion and remove the prevailing misconceptions in society. The Prophet sent for all mankind (PBUH) said: “Whosoever Allah wishes good for, He bestows upon him understanding of the Deen.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
As evident, the world needs a true mirror, to check upon its faults and crises and find out a way to run it feasibly. This cannot be done by any of the creations but the Creator himself. Only He knows the features of this world, He knows what faults can occur in it, what crisis it would go through, and thus only He can provide the solution because He is the Creator. The world needs to return to its only Creator, the supreme, the infallible, and thus it needs to return to His decree, there only it can get peace, justice, contentment, and prosperity of all.