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Positive way of life - i
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Addressing the Prophet of Islam the Qur'an enjoins: "Therefore, bear up patiently as did the apostles endowed with constancy. Bear up with patience and do not seek to hasten for them their doom." (46:35)

That is, showing restraint in adverse situations and refraining from negative reaction form the basic principles of Islamic activism. This means that in unfavorable situations no emotional move is made, rather, by avoiding the path of reaction and retaliation, the actions are planned on the basis of realism.

This principle can briefly be called positive activism. That is, without interfering with the prevailing state of affairs one should try to discover the opportunities and avail of them. To initiate one's actions by challenging status quo amounts to choosing a negative starting point. On the other hand, maintaining the status quo and availing the present opportunities amounts to choosing a positive starting point. This method can briefly be called positive status quoism. A complete scheme of positive status quoism can be chalked out in the light of the seerah (biography) of the Prophet.

The Prophet of Islam received his first prophetic call in 610 in Makkah. It was dominated by the idolaters who had placed in it 360 idols belonging to various Arabian tribes. Kabah had, therefore become a religious center for all these tribes. The presence of these idols in Kabah was totally against the beliefs of the Prophet, an upholder of monotheism in the true sense of the word. Yet he did not make any effort to upset the status quo prevailing in Makkah, instead he fully engaged himself in availing of whatever opportunities were available, despite the presence of the idols.

In those days Kaba was the meeting point of the inhabitants of Makkah. Meetings were held there almost daily. The Prophet began to make use of these gatherings for the purposes of D'awah. He visited Kabah, where instead of interfering with the idols he would go to the people and recite the verses of the Qur'an to them. The policy of avoiding the idols and availing of d'awah opportunities resulted in a number of people embracing Islam having been influenced by the verses of the Qur'an. This wise policy yielded great benefit to the Prophet of Islam. The peaceful atmosphere, which was extremely essential for d'awah activities, remained undisturbed in Makkah.

2. Positive Status quoism in Social Affairs:

In Makkah, there was a public place known as Dar Al Nadwah which served as a political center and was dominated by the idolaters. When their opposition with the Prophet of Islam intensified they managed to take a unanimous decision to boycott the Prophet and his family and his followers. When the boycott too failed to inflict any harm to his mission, the opponents succeeded in issuing a death warrant through this same Dar Al Nadwa. When the Prophet received this extremely serious news he did not attempt either to revoke the decision of Dar al-Nadwa or launch a protest campaign supported by his followers. On the contrary, what the Prophet did was leave the city quietly for Madina situated at a distance of 300 miles from Makkah. Even after reaching Madina he did not spend his time in any counter move, instead he paid his full attention to the task of D'awah. This was also an example of positive status quoism. In this way, the Prophet, by avoiding direct confrontation with the status quo, found another vast field to continue his peaceful activities.

3. Positive Status quoism in Political Affairs:
When the Prophet migrated to Madina, after thirteen years of his Prophethood, the existing society of Madina was composed of three groups-Muslims, idolaters, and the Jews. Accepting that social set up as it is, the Prophet established a system based on plurality. The status of Madina under this system was that of a city-state, the Prophet being the head of this state. In this set up the other social groups were accorded the right to lead their lives and decide their cases in accordance with their respective religions and cultures.

This set up provided another example of status quoism. It was by accepting the status quo prevailing there that the Prophet began his peaceful D'awah mission. The result was miraculous. The multi-cultural society of the first phase was gradually transformed into a unicultural society in the second phase.

4. Positive status quoism in matters relating to Prestige.
Even after leaving Makkah -his homeland-for Madina, the Makkans did not put an end to their enmity. Now the Makkans decided to launch armed onslaught against him. Apart from several minor skirmishes, two major battles, Badr and Uhud, took place. These wars again disturbed the peaceful atmosphere required to carry out d'awah activities. Therefore the Prophet negotiated with the Makkans and, accepting all their demands unilaterally, entered into a 10 year no war pact known as Hudaybiyah treaty. This was yet another example of positive status quoism. According to this treaty the Prophet accepted the Makkan position exactly according to their demands. Retaining their position the Prophet utilized all the opportunities of D'awah under the existing status quo. This resulted in what has been called an open victory by the Qur'an (48:1) (Cond.)


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