The Islamic Call


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  • The Islamic Call


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    CHAPTER VII.
    SLOGANS OF THE CALL

    1. - Faith

            The Islamic Call was an ideal call because it knew how to conquer the human heart, how to reach its utmost recesses, and how to direct it. It made faith its first feature, its first slogan, firm faith in the basic principles of the Call and its objectives; deep faith in the Oneness of God and in the Prophet's Mission; established faith unshakeable by tempest or cyclone; strong faith unaffected by persecution or torture; faith of the highest order in its most striking form. That is why the Muslims of old were given in truth the appellation of the Faithful.

            That is again why the two terms Faith and Islam are usually synonymous as may be seen from the Divine text

       "O ye who believe ! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith". (Surah Al-Tawbah, verse 23 in part).

            Again that is why Paradise is made the final abode of the faithful acting up to their faith. The Qur'an constantly addresses true Muslims as those who believe, that is believe in the Faith, the Arabic verb in fact being derived from the the very word "Faith" to emphasise that sublime trait that distinguishes them:

             "O ye who believe ! Bow down and prostrate your selves, and worship your Lord and do good, that ye may prosper" (Surah Al Hag, verse 77) .

     

            God will not accept anything done by a Muslim unless it proceeds from true belief. Of two mosques, one built in true faith, and the other in hypocrisy for untoward purposes, the Prophet was divinely ordered to use the former but not to stand in the latter, which was subsequently demolished in fact.

     

            "Never stand in it. A place of worship which was founded upon duty to (Allah) from the first day is more worthy that thou shouldst stand (to pray) therein wherein are men who love to purify themselves Allah loveth the purifiers. Is he who founded his building upon duty to Allah and His good pleasure better; or he who founded his building on the brink of a crumbling overhanging precipice so that it toppled with him into the fire of bell ? Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. The building which they built will never cease to be a misgiving in their hearts, unless their hearts are to be torn to pieces. Allah is Knower, Wise ( Surah ?l-Tawbah, verses 108-110).

            The true believer is he who rejoices and feels his faith growing and increasing when a surah of the Holy Qur'an revealed:

     

            "And when ever a surah is revealed there are some of them who say : which one of you hath this increased him in faith? As for those who believe, it hath increased them in faith and they rejoice (therefor) as for those in whose hearts is disease, it only addeth wickedness to their wickedness, and they die while they are disbelievers".

    (Surah Al Tawbab, verse 124, l 25).

            And the true believers are those whose hearts submissively and resignedly respond to God's revealed word at the invocation of His name:


     


     

            "They only are the (true) Believers whose hearts fear when Allah is mentioned, and when the revelations of Allah are recited unto them they increase their faith, and who trust in their Lord. Who establish worship and spend of what We have bestowed on them. Those are they who are in truth believers. For them are grades (of honour) with their Lord, and pardon, and a beautiful provision. (Surah Al Anfal, verses 2-4).

     

       &?bsp;    True Muslims because of their faith, are strong and valiant, however limited in number. Their hearts, full of faith drive them to martyrdom, to persistence in the pursuit of Truth, to devotion to principle, and to sacrifice for the Call. By such faith the victory was achieved by the Muslim few over the polytheistic many of Quraish in the big battle of "Badr" To this truth concerning the unimportance of number compared with faith, God recalled the attention of the Prophet, upon whom be peace and gladdened his heart, by the address divine:

            "Oh! Prophet ! Allah is sufficient for thee and those who follow thee of the believers. O Prophet Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred steadfast they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, the latter being ignorant and unwise". (Surah Al Anfal, ver. 64, 65).


            No Islamic duty can really be discharged unless proceeding from faith and good will. This is expressed by the Prophet, upon whom be Peace in the words.
     

          "Actions are judged by intentions; and for every one what he intended". Well sound intention is one of the essentials of Prayer indeed of all religious duties. Otherwise what effect will the performance of these duties have on the human heart if it be purely mechanical ? One must be conscious of his religious duty throughout to do himself good and justice.

            Inseparable from belief in God is belief in Fate and Destiny from Him, whether sweet or bitter, blissful or baneful. This attitude on the part of the Muslims of old made them fearless in the face of deadly peril, and made them even seek martyrdom. Such full faith is indicated by the Holy text:

            "Those unto whom men said: Lo the people have gathered against you, therefore fear them, (the threat of danger) but increased them in faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for us! Most excellent is He in whom we trust ! So they returned with favour from Allah, and no harm touched them. They followed the good pleasure of Allah, and Allah is of Infinite bounty". (Surah Al `Imran, verses 173,174).

            And now, with this faith firmly established in the hearts of the early Muslims and filling their souls, can you give ear to the empty unwarrantable assumptions made by Western historians that the reason why the Arabs joined Islam was only "their hope for the many spoils to be gained in the battles for the new faith, and their further hope to substitute for their waste rocky deserts the more fertile and luxurious lands of Persia, Syria, and Egypt"?[1] Or that the "expansion of the Arab army was at best an emigration movement of energetic hardy people, impelled by hunger and destitution to leave their unproductive deserts and overrun more fertile countries occupied by more fortunate neighbours?" [2]

             No ! It was by Faith, and Faith alone, that the Muhammadan Call achieved its unique success - a success without parallel in the history of calls for reform. It knew how to exercise full spiritual dominion over man, evoke in him full emotional response, spur him on to miraculous achievements, and, in a short time, to expand North and South, extending his dominion East and West. It made new generations and breathed life into man's conscience epoch after epoch.


    2. - Good Deeds

            This is, after faith, the second characteristic, the second slogan, of the Muhammadan Call.

     
            It is work free from remissness, false imaginativeness, or day-dreaming; effective work for the welfare of the whole community and in the interest of the Call; work that drives reform forward with a sure, powerful hand.

     
            For, nothing is more detrimental to nations than having life all leisure, to individuals than procrastination and laziness, to a call or cause than being based on empty theories and uncontrolled fancy.

     
            The Islamic Call, knowing this fact, made good work a prominent feature of the true Muslim, thus coupling faith with its outward expression. Otherwise what avails faith without fruition into good work? One putting forth no effort towards its realisation, his belief will be useless, of no avail.

     
            I know of no other call which equals Islam in exhortation for work and in insisting on it as a characteristic of the true believer. Islam denies monasticism; in the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, there is "No monasticism in Islam". To devote oneself entirely to worship, to the exclusion of all other human activities, is foreign to Islam, as is known from the teaching and life of the Prophet and his companions especially his second Caliph and commander of the Faithful Omar. No religion as far as I know has ever honoured labour and associated it with belief as Islam did. To quote only one of many verses to the point in the Holy Qur'an.

            "And those who believe and do good work., them verily We shall house in lofty dwellings of the Garden underneath which rivers flow. These they will secure".

            The Holy verse goes on to emphasise the noble meaning by an adage that shall stand for ever ; "How sweet the garden of the toilers" .(Surah?XXIX, 58)

            So much importance is attached by the Islamic call to good work because it is the only true expression of the reality and value of the creed. Belief may be passive, may not express itself in outward act. Such a passive believer is not worthy of the true Faith because true faith demands from one firm belief in the Call, through active participation in it on the one hand, and on the other, through enlightening those responsible for the call and its propagation as to the way he thinks best for securing it, and the difficulties he has met in doing his part! So will the call be served and disseminated far and wide.

            This positivity God ordered His apostle to make plain to the believers in the Divine words:

            "And Say (unto them) Act ! Allah will behold your actions, and (so will) His messenger and the believers, and ye will be brought back to the Knobbier of the invisible and visible, and He will tell you what ye used to do". (Surah IX, 105).

            In the light of this positivity, the Islamic community has been divided into three categories : the patients, the workers, and the fighters, and nothing else is indicated by the holy text:

            "Recite, then, of the Qur'an that which is easy for you; He knoweth that there are sick folk among you, and some who seek of Allah's bounty, while others (still) fight for the cause of Allah ! (Surah 73, verse in part).

            It is also this positivity which calls upon?believers to actively seek their living thereafter having attended the Friday congregational prayers letting for the moment work aside:

            "And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah's bounty, and remember Allah much, that ye may be successful". (Surah 62,10).

            Contemporary Calls preaching socialism, fascism and democracy put at the head of programs working for the good of the state that the produce of the individual may increase, and hence the income of both individual and nation. A successful state mobilizes individual efforts for the exploitation of national resources, putting to use every tract of land, big or small.

    A strong state has little labour disturbances or union strikes, all being busy developing resources and increasing production. Only recently have states come to know and fully appreciate these facts with the advance of science and the widening horizon of human thought, yet they were known to the Muslim nation when other parts of the world floundered in ignorance and enjoyed it.

            The Islamic call could and did recruit and enlist the services of almost every individual and Muslim believer, integrating all into one powerful whole working with faith for the welfare of the newly risen nation. There was no room for bloody disturbances similar to those previously stirred up by the tribes, and which in fact used up the vitality of the Arab race, threatening it with ultimate destruction. There was no room for that killing poverty which was the real cause for tribal strife. All took to work earnestly and sincerely, and the Arab mind found its way out of the narrow circuit within which it used to revolve, to a sphere world-wide, in order to deliver the Islamic Call a permanent message of enlightenment and guidance to mankind. Only later during periods of weakness and disunion was heard the factious discordant tune, but there had been no echo of it at the time of the strength and glow of the Call.

            In its slogans, in its distinctive features, the Islamic Call is a living ideal for every group, individual or nation. The groups believe and carry into effect what they believe in; the individual subscribes to a principle and works for it; the nation holds a view with unanimity and keeps on calling for it, fighting for it until it is translated into fact, however great the sacrifice entailed.

            The Apostle of the Islamic Call was an outstanding example, the practical ideal to the true Believer, persistent in Faith, unshaken by calamity, unweakened by obstruction and unyielding under adversity. His history is true testimony of his entire devotion to his Mission voicing it loud and clear, and translating it perfectly into action for the good of the Muslim community.

     

            Muhammad was the perfect practical expression of All the characteristics of the call divinely raised through him for the guidance of individuals and of humanity at large, the two most prominent being Faith and Good Work.

            Let us, thin, follow him and take him as our Master and Leader in every reform we wish to attain.


     

     

    [1] The preaching of Islam by T. Arnold, pp. 46, 47.

     

    [2] The preaching of Islam by T. Arnold, pp. 46, 47.


     
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