[This is an abridged version of a speech delivered by the late Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Rahmatullahi Alayh on 13th June 1999 to a congregation of around 100,000 people in Lucknow, India. The lecture was given while the Maulana was critically ill, and some six months later he passed away. The address constitutes his call and mission, urging Muslims to cultivate and strive for the position of distinction as exhorted by Almighty Allah in the Holy Quran. Acknowledgement due to Sulaiman Kazi (a former student of Ali Mian) who sent this article to Jaihoon]
“Let me open up my heart to you, to this huge assembly, and say that . . .”
Praise be to Allah and blessings and peace be upon His Messenger
In the Name of Allah, the Most Magnificent, the Most Merciful
“O you who believe! If you fear Allah, He will grant you Furqan (a position of distinction) and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you. Allah is the Owner of Mighty Grace.” (Holy Quran: 8:29)
In the verse I have just recited Almighty Allah’s order is thought provoking. It is a jolting verse which can revolutionise the whole world. Almighty Allah alone is worthy of worship. He is Master of all and He is the One who created the universe. He is the creator of Jinns and human beings. Nothing can happen without His will. He can bring revolution in countries. He transforms the circumstances, and He can free the slaves and enslave the free.
Any thing which is repeatedly recited is not usually pondered over deeply. If the Holy Quran is recited and pondered over it would make your nights sleepless. It can provide stimulus not only to the body but also to the mind and soul. Almighty Allah says:”O you who believe! If you fear Allah”; this word “God-fearing” is not an ordinary one. If somebody fears Allah he is known as Muttaqui (God-fearing). One who refrains from back biting and slander, people say he is God-fearing. But Taqwa, according to the language and definition of the Holy Quran, has a very broad and revolutionary meaning.
It can reverse the systems of the whole world. Almighty Allah says if you become God fearing – it does not literally mean fear of God – it means fear of God in your beliefs and actions, aims and objectives, morals and behaviour, and in your dealing with fellow human beings.
People will point towards you and they will look up to you. Thinking of you at times people will loose their sleep and at other times they will wake up from their slumber. “Look! there goes a Muslim” “Look! Muslims are so pious” will be their comments.
If you thus fear Allah, He will elevate you to a position of distinction. From wherever a God-fearing Muslim would pass by, one who obeys the orders of Allah and His Rasool, one who is a well-wisher of humanity, one who is compliant to the will of Allah, one who keeps his gaze down, one who controls his tongue, one whose heart is devoid of material gains, and one whose mind is pure from intrigues and conspiracies, then people will look at such a Muslim curiously. “Look! there goes an obedient servant of Allah.” When this becomes your means of recognition Almighty Allah will grant you a place of honour and distinction (I can not but translate the Arabic word Furqan as distinctive position because it has various meanings and its translation in any other language is not easy).
People will point towards you and they will look up to you. Thinking of you at times people will loose their sleep and at other times they will wake up from their slumber. “Look! there goes a Muslim” “Look! Muslims are so pious” will be their comments. A Muslim is someone who does not gaze at strange women (Na-mahram), he does not hinder a thoroughfare or hurt anyone. A Muslim moves about with a purpose and is dignified. He is a well-wisher and sympathizer of humanity. With such a description only a few, may be just a family who could be counted on fingers, if they reached an area, time is witness almost the whole area embraced Islam just by seeing those Muslims as if swept by a wave. This wave of Islam prevailed over material greed, desire for position and other evils prevalent in the society.
Almighty Allah has given human beings the power to impress and emulate. I can say as student of history, as one who knows human psychology and as a counsellor, that in spite of dark deeds, infidelity and idol worship, intemperance, worship of wealth, barbarism and injustice, it is due to this factor of receiving impression – the inherent element for reform and adopting what is good – this world is not shattered and ruined. Let me open up my heart to you, to this huge assembly, and say that the desire in man to emulate impressions and improve is the real secret behind the existence of this world and it is for this reason the world is still vibrant. Almighty Allah who created this world knows that man still possesses this capacity.
I am going to tell you something which no other person may say. I do not have any misconceptions about them but I fear that they may not say this after all they are humans. In the country you are living, you should live a life which mirrors the honour you have been accorded, that is, Furqan, position of distinction. Your distinctive position should be so impressive that it changes the belief, behaviour and morals, outlook, feelings, emotions, relations and dealings of the people around you. Such a large number of Muslims live in a country yet fail to carve out a definite impression is unbelievable. Almighty Allah says if you will fear Allah He will bestow upon you a distinctive position. Such an honour will be completely novel and will change the beliefs, morals and relationships of people. Such a large population of Muslims have not brought any revolution is sad proof that we have not followed the order of “fear Allah” fully.
If you “fear Allah” and live according to the teachings of Allah’s messenger, the outcome will be a “position of distinction” for you. People will consider you an object of emulation, and people will be attracted towards you. You will be a role model for people. There will be such an uncontrollable flow of people accepting Islam that you may not be able to withstand the pressure leading to the propagation of Islam. The life of people will thereafter change for good. Materialism, moral dissipation, thirst for power and position, worship of authority and politics – all these social maladies will be lessened if not erased totally. It will be difficult for people to hold on to their mis-beliefs, their desires and their yearn for unfair gains. Seeing the Muslims with typical Islamic characteristics, people will be attracted towards Islam. Great national leaders, known politicians, reputed writers, eloquent orators, poetic speakers, will not be able to stick to their beliefs, their ideas, their leadership and their politics.
Unfortunately this is not happening! Why? Please examine your own lives and see whether it is Islamically moulded. Therefore, to bring a change in the world, first of all your Faith must be correct, your dealings must be right, your goals and aims must be right. These should be different and distinct. People should notice that a Muslim removes any hindrance from wherever he passes by and he is always helpful. The difference in your material desires and your natural human weaknesses should be apparently lesser than the rest. “He is a Muslim” should be ascribed above all qualities to describe you. It is a historical fact that a handful of such Muslims wherever they reached have revolutionised and changed nations.
Just think of the Arabian peninsula, the cradle of Islam, and of Spain where countless masses accepted Islam. Think of Turkey, think of Algeria, Morocco and West Asia where Islam was accepted and Islam is still the way of life, with the exception of Spain where a systematic annihilation of Islam and the Arabic language was carried out under a conspiracy for which the Muslims are also to be blamed.
If you consider the distances by land and passage of time, the differences of languages and ideas, you will realise that these are as wide apart as earth and sky, yet nations after nations embraced Islam, impressed by the character shown by Muslims, by their Dawah and Tabligh The behaviour and conduct of Muslims became an example for all. Compare that with the present day position of Muslims. I urge you to adopt the life of a true Muslim and start today to practise Islam in its totality and according to the orders of Almighty Allah: “If you fear Allah” and “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you and chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Holy Quran: 5:3) and “O you who believe! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly and follow not the footsteps of Satan. He is you avowed enemy.” (Holy Quran: 2:208)
Almighty Allah urges the believers to enter into Islam wholly and obey Him unquestioningly. The Arabic word Kaaffa encompasses all – literally, mentally, practically, collectively and legally. It is a word with a varied and vast meaning. It applies to the people who are entering Islam and also applies to what they are entering in. It requires Muslims to enter into Islam one hundred percent, it allows no laxity. Muslims should enter into Islam completely.
Inheritance and shares must be distributed correctly, rights and obligations must be fulfilled, the rights of parents, the rights of wife, the rights of husband, the rights of brothers, the rights of relatives, the rights of your fellow citizens, the rights of your country and your duty to the country all need to be honoured and fulfilled. Almighty Allah says that first enter into Islam fully with all the attributes of a Muslim and then be mindful and do not be misguided by Satan. You have an example in the life of the Messenger, follow the exemplary simple life and strong character of the Messenger.
My dear brothers, in spite of my physical weakness I say it with conviction that if you go back with a firm resolve that “I will practice Islam fully and I will lead such a life as to leave an impression on the whole environment, on the people around me, on the whole neighbourhood, towns and cities,” people will then be compelled to say that such is the life of a Muslim, where others falter a Muslim remains steadfast, where others tend to weaken a Muslim remains balanced, where others go astray a Muslim follows the right path, where others sell their conscience a Muslim remains unmoved and nobody, no government, no political party, no individual howsoever powerful or wealthy can buy the conscience of these Muslims. Neither beauty nor grace, nor lure of power and position can weaken these Muslims. Almighty Allah has created and bestowed upon them the gift of their Deen Had our character been according to Islam the whole country would have benefited. Whenever and wherever this has happened, people including even enemies have accepted Islam as their way of life. They have accepted Muslims as men of principle, kind and charitable. They have accepted their belief in afterlife and considered them righteous.
Whatever Islam is left not only in this country but anywhere in the world it is because of the example presented by its seers.
At times only a single personality has changed the whole country. Here in our country Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti, Rahmatullahi Alayh, came and millions embraced Islam. Similarly Syed Ali Hamdani, Rahmatullahi, went to Kashmir and the majority of people there accepted Islam. So let us mould our life in the pattern desired by Almighty Allah. He will bestow upon you that promised position of distinction. People will make you their role model, they will make you the symbol of goodness, they will listen to your words, they will look towards you for guidance, they will say these are Muslims who have such true belief and correct actions, their emotions and desires are so high. They are worthy of emulation.
Take this message from here. Let me remind you that your life should be distinctive for which there is no appropriate word than Furqan You should depart from here with a firm resolve in your heart that you will mould your life in such a way that people will look up to you. You should become an example for people.
The need of the hour is that your life should be revolutionized. The revolution should not be an individual one but a collective one. The change should be concerning your belief, your morals, your actions, your dealings, your decisions, and your efforts. Your life in every way should become a beacon of guidance and it should become a means for Dawah. It should become a magnet. A magnet attracts a lifeless piece of iron, and human beings are not lifeless. Can a Muslim, full of Islamic life, not become powerful enough to attract another human being, people around him, and civilization at large?
The power of attraction of a Muslim is a thousand times more than the most powerful magnet. If you do not have that power you do not have the magnetism, you have to generate that power and you should build that magnetism.
May Almighty Allah grant us the power and the will to become true Muslims in our desires, in our morals and in our aims.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe.