The self-canonised living saints- the Ayatullahs, the Maulanas -the slave- masters, -for that is what maula means; the Ulema,- the religious Scholars!- If only these spiritual potentates had “contemplated” the verse 35-28, they would realise the irony that the word Ulemaau –the people endowed with true knowledge- appears in one of the verses most prolific references to scientific disciplines, from climatology to genetics, they will see that an Aalim is - “…among HIS servants those truly are in awe of Allah who have (true) knowledge! 35-28”. The humility that comes with real knowledge is the key attribute of a scholar. Indeed knowledge is power but humility that goes with it is the jewel in the Crown.
“But none believed in Moses except some children of his people, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them; and certainly Pharaoh was mighty on the earth and one who transgressed all bounds” – 10-83. Tyranny/arrogance and knowledge have nothing in common.( It is note worthy that the youth of the nation is expected to stand up to the abuse of power in the above verse).To invite discourse and challenge to ones ideas is the strength of conviction and is a vital part of knowledge.
It is not just the prerogative of the professional priests displaying their piety (107-6), in flowing-gowns as a uniform of profession. The holy Book reminds them to be truthful, “would you, now look down with disdain on a tiding like this and make it your daily bread (as it were) to call the truth a lie? (56-81, 82)-M.Asad” They do not add an iota to the progressive thought process of argumentative Islam as portrayed in Quraan nor to the relevant big-picture-issues affecting Muslims of the time, because their own training precludes such matters and their self interests dictates the strategy they have adopted and that is to perpetuate religion. Could it be that this frustration led Dr Iqbal to lament:-
What constitutes a nation and what are the realities of nations!
Alas, how would these two-rakaat-imams ever comprehend!!
The priest/clergy or imam/mullah referred to here is not the individual person but a mind-set of the institution of Church. Two rakaat Imams, sums up the profession of priesthood, which has no place in Islam.
Gender and Education
In particular the illiteracy of the Muslim women is lamentable. The status quo is diligently maintained, lest the acquired knowledge inform the women of their God given rights to the detriment of the powerful Qawamoon, the male gender. The case of the Taslima Nasreen from Bangladesh should be studied, as being typical of Muslim woman in society, for she could have been a heroin for Muslim women! Having seen and heard her interviews and that of her village mullah in the Western media years ago, one was appalled at the level of ignorance portrayed by the mullah, the community in general, the family and the pupil herself! Adults are what parents and teachers mould them into in childhood. One was filled with sympathy for the poor woman for what she was taught of Deen! Exposed to wider horizons later in her life, any wonder she rebelled? It was easy to deduce that she had not once read the Quran with meaning and critical analysis except by rote in Arabic for the usual thawaab for the hereafter. In its ignorance alas, the female gender however also, seems to fear the freedom Quran gives them but feels secure in the wrappings of the ‘traditional norms’, the mental chador/neqab/burqa and ‘protection of man’ – dualism in gender.
It is however too easy to heap the blame on the elite classes. For the rulers can only rule with the consent of the ruled. Mature Muslims in later age have abrogated their own responsibility to read, understand and act on the teaching of Quraan 2-121 and apply its core values to their daily lives aamanu wa amilusslihaat 95-6, believe and act righteously. We have ourselves to blame for having delivered absolute power to the clergy on the plater. They therefore, automatically become the leader of the community! In the Western countries many imported imams can’t even speak the countries’ language, and yet some are even titled Mufti of the country!
The de-facto temporal and spiritual leaders, the potentates who pitch themselves as gods on earth, are equally duty bound to eschew their Dualism with God and set free the minds of ordinary people. The mind-set of servitude to power, internally cultivated over the centuries and externally imposed, as the present-day circumstances demonstrate; have produced the traumatic situations Muslims find themselves in. One can almost hear Mohammadur Rasullullah repeat the Rasool Mose’s call in frustration “let my people go” so that Islam may be projected into the wider world in its true, progressive, tolerant, pluralistic and self confident form, beyond the confines of vested interests, dogmatism and fanaticism. Muslims are ordained to exercise their responsibility-“your responsibility is not only to follow Allah’s guidance yourself – you are an Ummah raised for the good of all humanity 3-110”
Iqbal so aptly called for:
Although the community has idols lurking under its sleaves
I am but only ordered to proclaim Lailaahaa illallaah”.
The one and only free public forum for Bohras. The focus of this forum is the reform movement, the Dawoodi Bohra faith and, of course, the corrupt priesthood. But the discussion is in no way restricted to the Bohras alone.
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