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What’s happening to the once dignified Muslims in Sri Lanka ?

By Saybhan Samat

(July 27, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The recent killings of Muslims of the underworld like Amanula Imtiaz, Mohammed Nisthar, Mohammed Anwer an accomplice of Maligawatte Faji who is on the run and the existence of the underworld & Muslim anti-social elements have shocked the Muslim community in the island. In addition dozens of other groups calling themselves “Jihad” bearing arms have surfaced in the Eastern province, they too are involved in extortion, kidnappings, robbery and other anti –social practices. Very fortunately the police are on a drive to eliminate such a criminal groups. To compound matters the community is now facing sectarian strife in the Eastern province and last week, the strife spread to the South where 2 Muslims were killed and 40 injured in a clash in Beruwela.

There is also a creeping hatred for the Muslim community from non-Muslim communities on account of some bad elements indulging in cheating, smuggling, other dishonest business practices, exploiting labour, underpaying wages, not keeping promises and for their hi-profile involvement in the VAT scam where the Department Inward Revenue was cheated to the tune of tens of millions of rupees.

The behaviour and gradual degradation of a once dignified and trusted community is a telling indictment on the mosque, the preachers, the moulavis, the madrasahs, the Islamic centres and the Muslims community in general. It means that the present work of all these institutions have had no effect in moulding upright, law-abiding and peaceful citizens. Indeed there are many causes for this sad, state of affairs. Unless the Muslims take immediate action to halt this down-ward trend of Muslim social conduct, God himself will intervene, to punish the community, with strife, trouble, insecurity and loss of their valuables. They are bound to enjoin good and forbid wrong. For Muslim who do not do this, the Holy Quran abounds with numerous examples of previous communities who were very severely punished for not observing just social conduct and for not enjoining good and forbidding wrong.

Besides the other institutions it is the mosque that is the pivotal centre for this moulding of upright Muslim character and personality. It was so from the beginning of Islam. The mosque was the centre for social-mobilisation, to produce upright, honest Muslims to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner in the socio-economic legal and cultural activities in a just manner wherever they lived. In the past Muslims converted millions of people of the Islamic faith merely by their exemplary conduct and their friendly inter-personal relationship that they had with non-Muslims.

If one studies the role of mosques at the time of Prophet Muhammed (SA) and compares it with the role played by present day mosques, one will surely observe a big difference. In the time of Prophet (S) the mosque was not only a place of worship, but also a place for performing all duties which are performed in the way of God. All social, cultural and political activity even jihad(war) was initiated and launched from the mosque. No Muslim familiar with the history and traditions of the Prophet(s) can deny this.

However today it is common knowledge that mosques which were centres for social movement of upward mobility have become bases for reactionary and anti-social elements to obstruct the growth of the community and keep it in a state of poverty, ill education, ignorance, backwardness, bigotry and obscurantism.

In fact in darkness, even the sermons on Fridays which were meant to invigorate the faith of the community of believers have been reduced to inept, stereotyped, lifeless and hollow phraseology which put the congregation to sleep due to utter boredom. The Imams who deliver the sermons cannot relate the Quran to the present day situation when in fact the Quran is relevant for all times till eternity.

The reasons for the present impasse are many indeed. According to the Quran there are strict qualifications for a person to be a trustee of a mosque as enunciated in chapter 9 verse 18 of the Quran. “The mosques of God shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in God and the last Day establish regular prayers and practice regular charity and fear none (at all) except God”
However it is very common knowledge that very anti- social elements like blackmarketeers, employer’s who exploit labour, known smugglers and other corrupt businessmen are trustees in mosques. They aspire for this sacred post and like to remain in this post for ever to get social recognition, it is a form of social climbing. Obviously if they cared for God as ennuciated in chapter 9 verse 18 they would not indulge in unjust anti-social activity. The writer was reliably informed that in North Western coastal town a notorious drug dealer, out of funds earned by selling drugs had built a mosque!

In mosques there are presently groups propagating Islam to the gullible masses by replacing the Quran with publications of their own version and interpretation of Islam. This is in stark opposition to the Prophet(s) order that he left behind firstly the Quran and secondly his traditions for the guidance of the Muslim community. Worse still mosques have also now become the battleground to settle increasing sectarian difference in the once united Muslim community. Despite these atrocious happening in the houses of God, it is a common sight to see that mosque building are flourished and more mosques are being built with expensive decorative styles. However every Muslims knows that it is only on Fridays that mosques are filled to capacity on other days in most mosques there are hardly two rows of worshippers.

Sincere and discerning Muslims are perturbed, bewildered and disgusted with what is happening in mosques and have chosen to pray at home and organize religious knowledge classes at centres other than mosques, and in their homes. Their sincere attempts to change the present order of things in mosques have only resulted in them being abused, chased away and even threatened, with death!

In conclusion I would like to quote two authentic traditions, one from Prophet Muhammed (s) and other from Hazarath Ali(AS) the fourth caliph of Islam. The Prophet(s) with his prophetic vision some 1400 years ago is reported to have said “There will come a time when only the name of Islam will remain in my community.” Believers will only do a few Islamic customs and they will not even know the commands and prohibitions. Their only thought will be out about eating and drinking. They will forget Allah (God). They will worship money only. They will become women’s slaves. Mosques will be many jamaaths.(congregations) will be few, men will be women like. Dresses thin (transparent) women domineering. They will not be contented with earning little they will not be satisfied with earning much.

The Prophet (s) also said “ I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gate” Ali (AS) on the subject of mosques of the future is reported to have said “A time will come when nothing will remain of the Quran except its script and nothing of Islam except its name. The mosques in those days will be flourishing with regard to construction but desolate with regard to guidance. Those staying in them and those visiting them will be the worst of all on earth. From them mischief will spring up and towards them all wrong will turn. If anyone isolate himself from it (mischief) they will push him towards it” .

The prophesies of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Ali(AS) have come to pass. May God protect the devoted and sincere Muslims from corruption and may the excepted saviours Isa(Jesus) (AS) Mahdi (AS) Khidr(AS) and Illyas (AS) come soon to save the world from injustice, sin and corruption from both in and out of the mosques.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

1 comment

Sonnah said...

food for thought!!

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