Dr Wasim Ahmad
Department Head of Islamic Studies
Preston University Ajman

A friend of mine had certain questions in his mind which he shared with me and it made me write a few lines. His questions and my submissions are as follows:

1. Why are the shoe stands in all the masjids empty whilst the worshippers’ footwears are scattered around the masjid’s entrance?

Our thoughts are disorganized. We do not have a coherent body of ideas. We haven’t put our ideas in an organized manner. We have left many gaps in our minds. And to top it all, we do not really know why we go to a masjid. It is a mere formality which we do half-heartedly. Whatever we see outside (like the state of shoe stands and entrance) is a reflection of our state of mind. The effects of disorganized thoughts and casualness we witness in almost all the aspects of our life. Before we could think of having shoes in the right places let us aim at having khayaalaat kaa ek murattab nezaam (a coherent body of ideas). And I am mindful of the fact that I am addressing the highly educated and most blessed among our people.

2. Why is the parking lot free when the worshippers double park their cars around the masjid?

Almost the same reasons as above. We somehow feel obliged to pray – as born ‘Muslims’. Partly excusable because the spirit of Salaah has not been explained in the true sense. Salaah is, in fact, the source of energy. We go to a petrol station with all sincerity and with a clear purpose in view and make sure that we do not leave the petrol station without the fuel. For Salaah the outcome is of no concern to us. This is why we are praying (more than the followers of any other faith – probably) and still we are where we were. I have seen many people entering the masjid together but they do not greet each other with salaam and a smile. This defeats one of the vital purposes of Salaah at the very entrance.

3. Why my three emails to a Muslim NGO offering my support and funds have still not been answered whilst their website carries a list of heavy weight board members and claims that they could not help X number of students in the last academic year due to shortage of funds?

They do not really know why should they help the Muslims and what makes Muslims Muslims. They are not clear about the final outcome. They do not truly realize how this financial support is going to change the course of action of the world. They take education only as a means of earning livelihood for one’s individual family. They do not know the real purpose of education and what it means in civilizational terms for Muslims. If they knew it they wouldn’t let the opportunities go waste. They would have counted on every penny. Because a lot is at stake here.

4. Why a Muslim engineering student who is asking for financial assistance for education is not sending his marks sheet but sends 15 pages of property mortgage papers?

The blame is not his entirely. He has learnt many techniques from his elder generations and is continuing with the same. His elder generation has not given him any specific direction. They haven’t given him any civilizational goals from an early age. We learn a lot from our environment. Don’t we?

5. Why every other non-resident Muslim investor here distrusts Muslim businessmen back home as they not only fail to pay dividends or provide information but no news of the investment either?

How many of those Muslim businessmen have been taught about the basics of Islam? How many of them have been explained the values of Islam in a rational and scientific manner? How many of them know rudimentary Arabic – at least? How much it has been explained that the fear of (and hope from) Almighty as well as belief in the Hereafter will also mean thriving business? How the success in business (which every businessman naturally and rightly wants) has been described in measurable and quantifiable terms keeping the Islamic ideals in view? Hence, he is not really different from others.

There is one more problem with him. He is somehow confused. He thinks that probably he is after dunyaa (which has been discounted a lot from the pulpit – dividing deen from dunyaa). His confusion and then the practical realities of life make him directionless. When one is directionless then anything goes.