It has been noted by many converts that there is often a stark contrast between what Islam teaches, and what “muslims” do. Some have said “Alhamdulillah, I found Islam before I met Muslims”. Yet the social demands of Islam require interaction with the “born Muslim” or “heritage Muslim” when we attend the masajid or social functions. The nature of the human being is to seek acceptance and conformity with others. Our thoughts, habits, worldview, and culture are integrated into us through our social interaction. As such, it’s important that we actually convert to Islam, not to “muslimism”. Allah’s Religion is the Path of Success, while the path of the “muslim” these days is more a path of damnation and self-destruction.
Among the opening verses of Allah’s Book, we find that Allah has required our constant supplication for His Guidance. He says:
“Guide us on the straight path. The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not the path of those under Your Wrath, nor of those who are astray.”
In the Tafseer (explanation) of these verses, it has been said that “those under Your Wrath” indicates the Jews, and “those who are astray” indicates the Christians. Imam Tirmidhi reports from Adi ibn Hatim who said:
“I asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) about Allah’s saying about, ‘Those who have earned [Your] Wrath’, and he said, ‘It refers to the Jews.’ I then asked about, ‘Those who have gone astray’ and he said, ‘The Christians are those who have gone astray.’ “
And we find in another Hadeeth, that Rasulullah s.a.w. indicated that his nation would end-up following a similar trail of decline and degeneracy as the Jews and Christians. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:
I heard the Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ) say: When you enter into the ‘inah transaction(a type of usury), hold the tails of oxen, are pleased with agriculture, and give up conducting jihad (struggle in the way of Allah). Allah will make disgrace prevail over you, and will not withdraw it until you return to your original religion.
And what is the condition of the Muslim today? Rather than striving to establish Allah’s Religion of Truth, the vast majority of the Muslims are basically living a worldly life, with very little to distinguish our mode of existence from that of the Jews and Christians. And the results of that have come from Allah: armies amass to destroy and occupy the Muslim lands, infighting, extreme poverty forcing Muslims to beg from non-Muslims, merciless tyrants governing the Muslim countries, no voice or authority in world affairs, no power to resist occupation and annihilation, intellectual degeneration, the inability to develop or implement the solutions to their problems, et cetera. On a daily basis, Muslims are devoured like dead meat. It is abject disgrace, and in Rasulullah’s words, Allah “will not withdraw it until you return to your religion.”
Enter the convert.
There are several verses in Allah’s Book which indicate that when the “muslims” neglect their most fundamental duties, that Allah will replace them with a people who will follow His Deen.
“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never fearing the reproach of the critics. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.”
In the following verse, Allah speaks of those Muslims who refuse to strive (and fight) for Allah’s Religion:
“If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allah is over all things competent.”
And in the next verse, He gives warning to those who refuse to spend their wealth for Allah’s causes:
“Here you are – those invited to spend in the cause of Allah – but among you are those who withhold [out of greed]. And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself; and Allah is Free of need, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.”
This last verse is crucial for us to understand. Allah warns of His condemnation of those who refuse to work or spend to establish Islam on earth. Then He warns that such people will be replaced by others who will be dissimilar. The Mufassireen(commentating scholars) indicated that this dissimilarity is for the specific shortcoming of refusing to strive, fight, and spend to establish Allah’s Religion on earth. In other words, we don’t want to show ingratitude to Allah by being just like those Muslims who refuse to establish Allah’s Religion.
Spending time among idle Muslims is acceptable only for one purpose: to remind them of their duties in Islam. This includes the Muslims of the Mosque who are basically just making prayers and listening to enjoyable lectures. It is a situation in which we have to choose Allah’s Religion over the “muslim” habits. While they refuse to work to elevate Islam, Allah has commanded us to try to correct their misbehavior, call them back to the Deen, and to remind them with Islam’s obligations. Otherwise, we join the crowd and become among the condemned who will need to be replaced.
“Cursed were those who disbelieved among the Children of Israel by the tongue of David and of Jesus, the son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed.
Nor did they (usually) forbid one another the iniquities which they committed: evil indeed were the deeds which they did.
You see many of them becoming allies of those who disbelieved. How wretched is that which they have put forth for themselves in that Allah has become angry with them, and in the punishment they will abide eternally.
And if they had believed in Allah and the Prophet and in what was revealed to him, they would not have taken them as allies; but many of them are defiantly disobedient.”
These are very strong warnings from Allah, not to become negligent of his Commandments, and not to join others in their negligence. The ‘Ulama who seek to address the issues of the Ummah today promote the idea that to restore our status in Allah’s Esteem, we must not only return to the practice of Deen, but to the responsibilities of Deen. Allah does not send Angels to the earth to work for Islam; He created and guided Muslims for that purpose. Among the means of elevating Allah’s Religion are Da’wa, groups of Iman discussion, giving reminders to Brothers and Sisters, all calling one another towards our obligations. Some Muslims do not like doing this, asking “why do I give Da’wa to another Muslim?” The answer is simple: Allah Himself has made Da’wa through His Book and His Messenger, and that Da’wa is universal ! The Da’wa to non-believers falls on deaf ears. The Muslims should not also have deaf ears ! He has given us several indications of this purpose in the Qur’an:
“Say, ‘this is my Way. I call towards Allah with clear vision and conviction. Me, and WHOEVER FOLLOWS ME.'”
“And give reminders; verily, what you are is a giver of reminders.”
“And let there be from among you those who call toward what is Good. Who command what is Righteous and prohibit what is Sinful. And those are the successful ones !”
“You are the best of nations brought out for mankind. You command what is Righteous and prohibit what is Sinful, and you have Fidelity to Allah.”
It is so easy for us, as weak human beings, to follow the path of least resistance. We want our time among Muslims to be enjoyable. Yet, in making this decision, we neglect our duties to Allah, to fellow Muslims, and to our own souls. If I love Allah, I must command His obedience. If I love my Brothers and Sisters, I must call them to move forward to their success. And if I love myself, I must establish my fidelity to Allah Alone, for He alone created me in beauty, and will determine my fate. “And when Allah took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], “Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him.” [ Allah ] said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged it.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”
We may not be able to tell it from looking at the “muslims” or even the “masajid”, but Islam actually has objectives and requires effort. We can’t afford to disregard the efforts of the humblest among us, paying attention only to the celebrity figures parading before us in the masajid, and on the internet. We all have duty, and when we see people attempting to create goodness, we must be supportive. There are many of us who make our efforts outside the masajid, without notoriety and often without support. Many of us see the slow-movement of the masajid as a crutch we had to stop leaning on.
With every chance you get, commit yourself to seeking Allah’s Objectives and helping others in establishing those. I hope that the converts will understand Islam, and not be perpetually confused about “being Muslim”.