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Books Section > Call of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Goal of a Muslim


The Goal of a Muslim:


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"What can I do for Islam and Muslims?" is a question which every Muslim, young and old, should ask himself. Without minimising the value of the work that others are doing, I will place my own answer to the question as briefly as possible before my Muslim brethren.

Before attempting an answer to this question, it is necessary to find out the greatest need of Islam in its present trials. It is true that the most conspicuous thing that strikes us at first sight about Islam today is the decline of its political dominance in the world. But searching beneath the surface, one will find that the vanishing away of the temporal power of the Islamic world is itself due to other causes, which have brought about a general deterioration in the condition of the Muslim peoples throughout the world. The remedy, therefore, must be applied to the root-disease. An immutable Divine law is thus stated in the Holy Qur’an:

God does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition (13:11).

Muslims were once the masters of the world and their condition now is the reverse of this. The change in their condition is therefore a clear sign that they themselves have changed; in other words, they gave up the high principles that made them eminent in the world. The inner change came first and the outward change in their political condition is only the outcome of that inner change. In fact, so great was the power wielded by Muslims in the world that no power from outside could bring about its fall, if deterioration had not taken place from within. And just as the fall is due to internal causes, even so, the rise can be brought about only by an internal change. This is the first point which must be borne in mind. No alliance with this people or non-co-operation with that people can do any good to Muslims, unless they think more about themselves than about love or hatred for others, and unless they exert themselves to a much greater extent for bettering the condition of Muslims, throwing all other questions into the background. Their efforts must in the main be directed towards the reform of the Muslim community.

The second point to which I wish to draw the attention of my Muslim brethren is that the mission of Muslims in this world is not simply their own betterment; it is the betterment of humanity at large, the bringing out of people from darkness into light, the disseminating of truth, the removing of all distinctions of colour and nationality, the establishing of a universal brotherhood all over the world and finally, the bringing about of a real union between God and man. Thus says the Holy Qur’an:

And thus We have made you an exalted nation, that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and that the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you (2:148).

You are the best of nations raised up for (the benefit of) men: you enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah (3:109).

Islam brought a message of peace to the world as its very name shows, and we are not true to Islam if we do not carry that message to the farthest corners of the earth. The Apostle was a bearer of witness to us because he delivered to us the message of Truth, and exactly in the same way we are required to be the bearers of witness to others and to convey to them the message of Truth. That is our ideal. To be content with anything short of this is to waste away the opportunity that has been given to us, to be untrue to ourselves and to Islam. So says the Word of God:

Most surely, man is in loss, except those who believe and do good and enjoin on each other patience (3:2-3).

The mere acceptance of truth, even putting it into practice, does not make us gainers if not accompanied by our inviting others to it. Truth is not a thing merely to be received; it is a thing to be received and imparted.

A little consideration would show the truth of the statement made by the Holy Qur’an. Man remains a loser so long as he does not carry the message of truth to others. Why? Because there is nothing stationary in the world. If you do not move forward, you shall go back. Life is a struggle onwards. The moment that struggle stops, there is decline and decay. This is the lesson conveyed in the above verses. It is useless to speak of the betterment of the Muslim peoples unless the very first condition of betterment is fulfilled and the banner of Truth is raised aloft and carried forward. It is the lesson written large in the pages of the history of Islam. So long as Muslims were inspired by the zeal to carry the banner of Islam forward, they were a great people. The moment they called a halt, they began to deteriorate and it is only the result of that deterioration that is facing us in the fallen condition of the Muslim community. Let that spirit to conquer the whole world by the message of peace inculcated in the Holy Qur’an again move our hearts and we shall soon see how Muslims are once more ahead of the nations of the world in the race of life. Our betterment, the reform of the Muslim community, can only be brought about by the propagation of the truth that has been given to us in the Holy Qur’an.

The truth of the statement made above is clear in more ways than one. The world today is devoid of clear and correct notions about Islam. Misrepresentation has been rampant in Europe for centuries and it requires a long and sustained struggle on the part of Muslims to remove it. As a people, Muslims cannot afford to be looked down upon by the nations of the earth, and the greater the esteem in which they are held by others, the smaller the chances of being ill-treated by them. Thus the propagation of Islam is the greatest religious, as well as the most important political need of Muslims, and unless this need is fulfilled, our advancement from within cannot bring about any appreciable results.

The misgivings that lurk in the minds of some Muslims on this point are due to a lack of appreciation of the spiritual power of Islam and its effect on the material advancement of the Muslims. The Holy Qur’an speaks of Islam as being the greatest spiritual power that has ever existed in the world and it, therefore, speaks of the principles of Islam as destined ultimately to be the only dominant principles in the world.

He it is Who sent His Apostle with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions (48:28).

And what does history show? Islam is the latest religion of the world; its preaching commenced when all other religions had been firmly established and claimed homage from different nations of the earth. Yet so great was the spiritual power wielded by Islam, that no religion has been able to withstand it. Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, have all contributed their millions to Islam, while none of these has ever been able to take away any appreciable number from amongst the Muslims. Christianity has, for centuries, worked with the most powerful resources to deal a blow to Islam, but has not been able to win back even those contributed by it. So great is the spiritual power of Islam that even at the ebb of its physical power, its principles are gaining ground in the West, the day of whose conquest by Islam seems to have dawned after a long night of a thousand years. Islam came into the world to conquer; it has gone on conquering and it shall continue to conquer.

"The sun shall rise from the West in the later days" (Mishkat al-Masabih) was foretold by the Holy Prophet. Obviously, the reference was to the sun of Islam which rose first in the East and filled the Eastern countries with its resplendent light. The West was to receive the spiritual, like the physical, light later in the day, and that light has shone forth on it just when the temporal power of Islam was considered to have almost vanished away. It is only a sign that Islam shall be a conqueror spiritually, whether winning or losing in the physical world. And this sign of the wonderful conquests that are yet to be made by Islam has been manifested through the greatest religious personality of this age, the late Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th century of Hijrah. About sixty years ago, he drew the attention of the world to the wonderful spiritual power of Islam – a power that can make the whole world bow to it even in the days of its trial, even at the time of its political subjection to its greatest foe. He spoke with the force that comes from on High, that the apparent loss of Muslim power was a sign of the great conquest that awaited Islam in the spiritual field. His voice was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, until the time came when the whole of Muslim India was awakened by a great shock of the apostasy of its sons by the thousand, at the hands of a nation that had hitherto paid a tribute of over sixty million souls to the sovereign spiritual power of Islam. After a full half of a century, Muslims have at last come to know to their great grief that their inattention to the spiritual potentialities of Islam has brought on their heads the greatest distress that the Muslim people have ever witnessed in their history in this country.

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Books Section > Call of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Goal of a Muslim

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