Issues

Disintegrating Muslim societies

Yoon to Syed bhi ho Mirza bhi ho

Afghan bhi ho,

Tum sabhi kuch ho, batao toh

Musalman bhi ho?

These lines of Allama Iqbal are invigorating enough to rock the foundations of rampant casteism and naive sectarianism prevalent among Muslims. According to the Allama, “Islam is non-territorial in character”. The very principle of unshakeable foundation of Islam is equality. Equality in all spheres.

In today’s scenario, to face challenges before the Muslim world, unification is needed. Unity not only in terms of caste but the parasite of various sects should also be ousted to achieve oneness. 

Today, Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent (perhaps because of the influence of other religions) have divided themselves into Ashrafs, Ajlafs and Arzals. The portion of Indian Muslims who trace their lineages back to foreigners consider themselves as  Ashrafs – the noble ones. Ashrafs include Syeds, Pathans, Mughals and Sheikhs. The descendents of the indigenous population converted to Islam are called Ajlafs–the lowly.  Yet another  category exists, that of the Arzals-the degraded ones.

It is ironical that this is the Ummah of the same Prophet (PBUH) who had long ago declared:

“O people! Indeed your Lord is one and father is one. Indeed there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non- Arab over an Arab, nor of a white man over a black man, nor of a black man over a white man.”

Alas! The Muslims of today are butchering  other Muslims and have become insensitive to the agony of their brethren. The so-called upper-caste Muslims are trying to establish their supremacy on the grounds of inheritance and lineage which is straightforwardly refuted by Allah and his Prophet (pbuh).

Not only this division, but another crisis also plagues the beautiful ambiance of Muslim society. The categorisation as Shias, Sunnis, Barelvis, Deobandi, Ahle Hadees, Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat-ul-Ulama is no less exasperating. This problem was clearly manifested by Allama Iqbal in his famous couplets:

Tamaddun, tasawwuf bootane ajam ke pujari tamaam // Haqeeqat khurafat mein kho gayi, ye ummat riwayat mein kho gayi

Be it the current turmoil in the Middle East or upheavals in the   Muslim societies and nations, the root cause of these uncertainties lies in the self-made divisions and   neglect of basic tenets of Islam.

Unless we realise that we all are petals of the same garland, our inaction can’t be eradicated. We need to free ourselves and break the shackles of castes and sects to unite under the flag of Islam. It is the piety and purity of heart that gets counted before the Almighty and not supremacy of races. If these were so, the Prophet (PBUH) would not have preferred the black African Hazrat Bilal Habshi (RaziAllah Ta’ala Anhu) to make the call for prayer.

Our aim should be to furnish a model for ultimate amalgam of humanity by bringing together different strands of mutually repellent races from the entire globe.

Farheen Sultana

Student at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 July 2015 on page no. 2

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