In Search of City of Knowledge (part 1)

Other than masjids, everywhere else we are competing with each other to be like disbelievers. Why?

Mostly born and raised in muslim families we live in a post colonial world where former British and French ideas on secularism, western modernity, scientific education and liberalism are taught to us through a western mindset and bias. An unspoken message of spirituality, backwardness, incompatibility (with modern life, economy and society) and an ugly history of kings and emperors of the Islamic Empire are poisoned into our minds systematically through our social and educational institutions. As a result we currently don’t know our Islam beyond prayers, fasting, hajj and fatwas. Our learned could not adequately or intellectually challenge colonial cultural invasions when they took up arms instead of pens. Things just got worse. Not only were we cast by media as backward traditionalists but also as crazy ‘jihadists’ bent on violent destruction of western civilization.

But, if we did pick-up our pens, for an intelligent discussion, where would we start? We don’t learn our Islam from disbelievers, obviously. But we also must not make false prophets out of ‘maulanas’. Our yardstick for measuring our role models must not escape our clearly defined terms of reference. Our understanding about Islam, as a way of life, must not come from an interfaith religious point of view, where religion is separated from life. Islamic understanding can only come from its own sources. Now, where can I get my sources?

Firstly, I need a role model who must be recognized and endorsed by the Creator, as the perfect role model to follow. When I follow my role model I must be ensured that I will get a correct understanding of God (Allah swt) and a correct understanding of my own purpose in life. Our parents, teachers and elders usually direct us to such and such personality, who might have been famous lawyer, doctor, engineer, politician, revolutionary, writer, artist, educator, traveler or perhaps a wealthy person. No doubt, there must be a valid reason for choosing to admire someone like that, but that does not meet my requirement for the perfect role model.

Rasool Allah Syedena Muhammad (sallillahu alaihi wa sallam) is the role model for every muslim. We know this from the Holy Quran.

And We have sent you not except as a mercy for all the worlds. (21:107)

Indeed, Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. (33:56) Say (O Muhammad): “If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]

The life of Holy Prophet (swm) will lead to the correct understanding of Islam, our Deen. His (swm) life was the practical way of the Quran. His (swm) life history is known as “SEERAH”. Hadith are his (swm) sayings whereas Seerah is his biography.


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