Friday, March 4, 2016

Islam, the Most Misunderstood Religion

By Mian Tariq Javed Arain
Growing anti Muslim hatred continues to be a matter of grave concern for the vulnerable Muslim community all across the globe in general but in the West in particular where Islamophobia keeps on rising. Eyebrows are raised, as the biased media reporting remains highly unprofessional as all ethics are ignored. The partial media is only to blame for misinformation to the audience.
Strategically, the illegitimate business of the organized terrorism has been booming as the robot-like terrorists are more than willing to follow as programmed/ordered. In their non-stop mode, these killing machines tend to stay engaged to keep defaming Islam through their fake practice and love of Islam. That indicates extremism is one issue while the use of extremists by the stake holders for the ulterior purposes is the bigger threat as it endangers the embattled religion.
Avoidance by the broadcast and the print media (main stream) to defuse the nasty crisis is shameful. It amounts to offering a free ride to those who are assigned to sowing anti-Muslim seeds of hatred. If not discouraged now, the image of Islam will continue to deteriorate beyond easy fix.
Despite the debates on the issue of extremism, there is also a painful divide among Muslims regarding coexistence leading to a wide gap between pro-Islam and anti-Islam elements/groups.
The fact is “teachings” of Islam make sense as they are absolutely free from superstitions and irrational beliefs. Most importantly, that is where we are able to learn about (a) Oneness of God (Tauheed), (b) the prophet-hood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the final messenger of God Almighty, and(c) the concept of life after death--all are the basic articles of its faith. They are based on reason and sound logic. Beyond doubt, all of the teachings of Islam flow from those basic beliefs and are simple and straightforward.
Everybody may approach the Qur’an directly and translate its dictates into practice. Islam awakens in man the faculty of reason and exhorts him to use his intellect. It enjoins him to see things in the light of reality. The Qur’an advises him to seek knowledge and invoke God to expand his awareness: “Say ‘O, my Lord! Advance me in knowledge’.” (Qur’an, 20: 114)
Again, Islam is a practical religion and does not allow indulgence in empty and futile theorizing. It says faith is not a mere profession of beliefs, but rather that it is the very mainspring of life. Righteous conduct must follow belief in God. Religion is something to be practiced and not an object of mere lip service. The Qur’an says: “Those who believe and act righteously, joy is for them, and a blissful home to return to.” (Qur’an, 13: 29)
The Prophet is also reported to have said: “God does not accept belief if it is not expressed in deeds, and does not accept deeds if they do not conform to belief.” (At-Tabarani)
Religion of moderation:
Islam provides guidance for all aspects of life – individual and social, material and moral, economic and political, legal and cultural, and national and international.
Its teachings are solely for moderation through purifying the believers’ soul; this leads to a quality life where supremacy of right over might and of virtue over vice stands established. Thus, Islam stands for the middle path and the goal of producing a “moral human-being”  for serving the entire Humanity. The Qur’an enjoins man to embrace Islam without any reservation and to follow God’s guidance in all areas of life.
 In other words, Islam clearly states that its objectives are the purification of the soul and the reform and reconstruction of society. As we read in the Qur’an: “We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure; and He revealed iron, wherein is mighty power and (many) uses for mankind, and that God may know him who helpeth Him and His messengers, though unseen. Lo! God is Strong, Almighty.” (Qur’an, 57: 25)
Summing up: Islam strongly condemns terrorism in all forms; teachings of Islam reject the playground for the forces of evil everywhere as well. It’s about time to begin the noble work of re-instating the Muslim reputation. Muslim-friendly non Muslims are required to contribute positively.
Efforts will have to be made to raise the needed awareness regarding the importance of coexistence and respect for different cultures and cooperating to end extremism. This is how, the focus is likely to shift towards spreading the true image of Islam known for the tolerant ideology, diverse cultures, architecture, arts and sciences.
Canadians from coast to coast voted against the nasty politics of the Harper era. Re-instating the actual image of Islam will be a step forward for a positive change. This is called democracy. Let's hope our new leader will go for unity among the Canadian communities rather than division.

* file-25-1456413363470641300.jpg KHURSHID AHMAD

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