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Webinar organised by the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community

A Muslim is identified by action not belief: Dr Aslam Parvaiz


“The Qur'an allows no cherry-picking and he whose knowledge and practice is limited to only 3.5 verses of the holy book is not a Muslim”, says Dr Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz who was speaking at a webinar organised by the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community on June 20, 2020. The topic of the webinar was: Current Indian Situation and Muslim Society – A Qur’anic Perspective.

Dr Parvaiz, who is the Vice-Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, heads the Islamic Foundation for Science and Environment, India, and has a doctorate in plant physiology from Aligarh Muslim University. He is a science communicator with five books and more than 350 popular science write-ups to his credit. He recently established the Qur’an Center in New Delhi where students of Grade IX and X are provided free coaching in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology and also imparted knowledge of Qur’anic teachings with meanings.

In the course of the webinar, the professor gave a new perspective to the interpretation of the holy book of the Muslims. He began his talk by highlighting the social standing of Muslims in India and the community’s limited exposure in various professional sectors. Statistics which he shared showed that the population of 14.2% Muslims in India has a mere 3% representation in the IPS/IAS field, a disappointing 4.4% representation in the health sector while there were approximately 21% Muslims in Indian jails and another 25% of them were beggars. He regretted that even after 70 years of independence, the country’s Muslims continued to lag severely behind other communities in the socio-economical spheres and merely served as vote banks for politicians.

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Webeinar: Dr. Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz

The professor said that if Muslims want to improve their lot and be accepted in the Indian and global society, they must read the Qur’an, understand it and then follow it because the Qur’an teaches one to be a good human being. “If we improve ourselves as human beings, speak well, respect everyone, tolerate everything and behave well then we will not be rejected by others,” he stated, stressing that the problems Muslims face in society can be resolved if they worked on these aspects.

Dr Parvaiz blamed social media for contributing to the spread of unrest in society. Most people tend to believe whatever is circulated on social media and follow it leading to more problems, he said.

He reiterated that every Muslim has to improve one’s self because the Qur’an allows no exception. “Adopt a holistic system of education and submit yourself to the divine order,” he said. He clarified that submission to the divine order is different from prayer and worship referring to the common belief that if one prays and observes all rituals then one’s responsibility as a Muslim is complete. “You can become a Muslim only by submission to the divine order. No cherry-picking is allowed”, he stressed.

The problem with our brethren, he said, is that their Islam is limited to 3.5 verses which include namaaz, roza, Haj, etc., and the majority of Muslims mistakenly believe that if they follow these practices then they are fulfilling all the commands of Allah.

Dr Parvaiz stressed that these 3.5 verses do not make up the Qur’an. “Just because one is not following the rest it does not mean the rest does not exist. Those who have not read and understood the Qur’an are not even aware of what else is written in there.”

The professor said that to become a true Muslim one has to read the entire Qur’an, understand it and adopt it completely as your lifestyle….adopt all practices mentioned in the Qur’an. “Do we see any chaos in Nature, he questions. “No, everything is in perfect balance. And when you subscribe to this system then you will attain peace because imaan inside means peace outside,” he added.

He further elaborated that the holy book teaches Muslims to respect all humans. “Whenever you speak, speak well because it is the absolute hukum of Allah. If someone says something bad about your Allah it does not mean you should hit back at him. The Qur’an commands you to always speak good. We are committing a sin whenever we speak ill of anyone,” he said.

“As a Muslim, I am recognized by my actions and not my beliefs,” said Dr Parvaiz. “My amal is a reflection of what I am and it is very important that one’s deeds have to be compatible with one’s beliefs.”

He concluded his hour-long talk saying that for Muslims there is no other way other than to return to the Qur’an.

“Read it and follow it. Understand it and put it into practice,” he said. “The Qur’an is not meant to be kept on a shelf in the house.”

The talk was followed by a lively Q&A session and the professor answered several questions from participants. About two hundred people attended the event on Zoom and Facebook.

The webinar was hosted by Shaukat Ajmeri, vice-chairperson of the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community (CBDBC). Introduction of the guest and topic was given by Irfan Ali Engineer, general secretary of CBDBC. Cmdr Mansoor Ali Bohra, chairperson of CBDBC, ended the event with a vote of thanks.