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The blame is not on the one who does not accept advice. Rather, it is on the one who presents it inappropriately

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Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Irony of our Generation

Assalamu alaikum.

Few months back I wrote an article on this blog titled ‘The paradox of our times’ which on a face value sounds similar to the above title. They might sound the same but I want to approach this on a more specific terms.  One of my Shaykhs one said; “It is better not to know Allah, than to know Allah, believe in Him and then openly go against His orders without any remorse”. You will agree with me that the importance attached to the acquisition of knowledge in Islam is unequalled in the history of any other faith or ideology. To buttress my point I will like to make reference to the first verse revealed in the Glorious Qur’an where Allah says; “(Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),” Q: 96:1.

When we sit down to analyze the root cause of the peculiar behavior of our so called leaders from a spiritual point of view in respect to their generation, we can safely agree on a common conclusion that most of them have little or less awareness about Islam. What I mean by this is that they are oblivious about the fundamental issues of the religion they are professing and as a result they are almost detached from the realities of the religion and the responsibilities resting on the shoulders of its followers. So, this in essence paints the ugly picture of their generation but I’m not in any way insinuating a general description for there are some that have excelled spiritually amongst them. Only that the percentage is negligible.

Now let’s flip the coin and put the spot-light on our generation. The generation of globalization, the generation of internet, the generation of fastest means of transportation and communication, the generation of I-Know-It-All.  When I travelled through the world of Qur’an, amazingly I noticed a common pattern when Allah talks about the believers. Believers were never isolated but are always mentioned in the context of their deeds. For example, Allah says; “Verily, those who believe [in the Oneness of Allah, and in His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) including all obligations ordered by Islam] and do righteous good deeds, they are the best of creatures.” Q: 98:7. Now let’s pause for a moment and see if we fit into this statistics. Touch any Muslim; he or she will brag about their knowledge of Islam but look at their lives, you will see an overwhelming discrepancy between what they know and what they practice.

Those who believe and act upon their sincere knowledge they alone exist in Islam but those who abreast themselves with information about the deen and insist on saying it mustn’t be reflected in their appearances and actions, they are surely on a path different from that of the Rasulullah (S) and his companions (RA). The level of Islamic awareness present in our generation today is soothing and something of exceptional gift but on the flip side the level of implementation is lamentable and regrettable.  Under normal circumstances, one would expect a better generation characterized by high level godliness coupled with religiosity but nay, sadly we are just a shadow of what we know.

Aren’t we aware that the more we know the more evidences we pile up for or against ourselves when we stand in the Court of Allah. Sometimes I fail to understand why we can’t implement what we are loud about, we are quick to say that Muhammad (S) is our role model but are ashamed to practice his Sunnah. Can’t we see that this is the biggest irony of our generation? Some of us believe we have enough time to postpone the implementation of our Islamic knowledge and are oblivious about the fact that death is constantly hovering above us like a sniper. I came across a hadith on the strength of Abu-Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (S) said: “Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. During (that stormy period) a man would be a believer in the morning and turn to disbelief in the evening, or he would be a believer in the evening and turn disbeliever in the morning, and would sell his Faith for worldly goods.” (Muslim).

Knowing and not acting upon the knowledge has a very disturbing repercussion.  Here are a few ahadith to buttress my point: On the authority of Usamah ibn Zayd (RA) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) sitting, "A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown into the Fire. His intestines will be hanging out, spilling onto the ground, and he will go around like a donkey goes around a millstone. The inhabitants of the Fire will gather around him and say: "O so and so! What is your affair? Didn't you used to order us to do good deeds and forbid us from doing bad deeds?" He will reply, "Yes I used to order you to do good deeds, but I did not do them myself, and I used to forbid you from doing bad deeds, yet I used to do them myself". (Al Bukhari, Engl. trans. vol.4, p.315, no. 489; Muslimandothers).

The Messenger (saw) also said in a hadith, "During the night of my ascension, I passed by a group of people. Their lips were being severed with scissors of fire. I said, "O Jibreel (as)! Who are these people?" He said, "They are the preachers from your Ummah that would say other than what they would do". (Ahmad in his Musnad, 3/120, 231, and 239; Ibn Hibban and others, Sahih at-Targheeb, no.120).
On the authority of 'Umar ibn al Khattab (RA) who said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Islam will dominate so that traders frequent the seas and horses enter into the path of Allah. Then there will appear a people who will recite the Qur'an saying, "Who amongst us had memorized the most Qur'an? Who is the most knowledgeable of us? Which of us has the most understanding?" Then he (saw) asked his companions, "Is there any good in them?" They replied, "Allah and His Messenger (saw) know best". He (saw) said, "They are from you and from this Ummah and they are from the fuel of the fire". (At-Tabarani, in al-Awsat and al-Bazzar, Sahih at-Targheeb wa at-Tarheeb, no.131).

Oh my beloved brothers and sisters in Islam! The times for us to start acting upon our knowledge is now and let’s stop advocating the ‘talk shop’ theory but rather advocate a ‘workshop’ theory. May Allah include us among those whose fasting will be genuine.