The crippling incompetence
The most crippling incompetence of a human is not physical, rather intellectual. The people with physical disabilities -like broken arm, missing leg or blind eye, can incredibly cope with day-to-day difficulties. The insight of such men remains intact; therefore, still can live a life as a sensible and responsible man in the society. But the intellectual inability takes away the necessary moral, ethical and societal skills; and makes them incompatible with a life with self-respect, dignity, responsibility and meaningful vision. This is why Alzheimer’s dementia -which causes awful depletion of intellectual abilities, is so much dreaded in civilised societies. In dementia, the memory loss is global: it affects all domains of mental recollection and exhausts the whole intellectual ability. Such a man fails to recognise even his own wife, children and house of residence. He doesn’t have any sense on his death and the life after death. If once he gets out onto a street, can’t return back to his residence. He loses his most basic cognitive power; therefore fails to differentiate right from wrong, good from bad and friends from foes.
But awfully, the people with intact memory may even behave as if they have no memory vis-à-vis some fundamental truths. Allah SWT described them in the Holy Qur’an as the people who have eyes but can’t see, they have ears but can’t hear and they have intellect but can’t think. They are the people inferior to the cattle. Their selective amnesia of some fundamental truths leads to incorrect understanding of the real worth of the life. The people with such restrictive focus concentrate only on issues that help maximising the immediate gains. In such relentless personal pursuit, even the most important issue in human life –like success in the infinite life in the hereafter gets ignored or goes to oblivion. It even nullify the very purpose of the creation. They are the people who fail to align with the vision of their own Creator –the Almighty Allah. They exclusively take their selfish lust, interest, motive and vision as the sole criteria to make decisions on family values, morality, justice, politics and other societal norms. Truth gets accepted or rejected on the basis of its compatibility with their personal lust, agenda or whims.
Such selective disregard of the realities of life is indeed the root cause of humans’ failure to grow up as the best creation on earth. Such an arrogant attitude frustrates Allah SWT’s vision of overwhelming the world with His Own prescription. Indeed, this has been the core crime of the kuffars in all ages. In the holy Qur’an, Allah SWT repeatedly reveals the story how people deliberately rejected the truth -revealed to them through prophets. Such arrogance not only makes them deny the divinely assigned role, but also prompts them to stand against the Divine project of humans’ salvation. In Alzheimer’s dementia, the victim’s functional power gets markedly compromised; therefore, it diminishes the range of his criminality. But in selective amnesia, people retain power of deliberate wrongdoing. Therefore, the most dreadful man-made disasters in human history are not caused by the people who suffer from dementia, rather by the people who are afflicted with self-induced amnesia or memory loss vis-à-vis the core issues of life.
The most forgotten issue
What’s the most forgotten issue in life? Is it the belief in Allah – the Almighty? This is not the case. Even the non-believers of Mokkah didn’t disbelieve Him. In those days of pre-Islamic jaheliya (ignorance), the belief in Allah (SWT) was intact. As evidenced from the tradition that they even preferred naming their son as Abd’Allah –the slave of Allah. Even today, the huge scientific advancement couldn’t annihilate the faith in God either. Even the secular Americans express their faith by printing “We trust in God” on the currency notes. So, disbelieving Allah (SWT) is not an issue. Even the basic pillars of Islam -like salah, fasting, haj and jakat are not forgotten either. The crowded mosques in Muslim countries, the sea of people during the haji in Mokkah and the fasting millions in Ramadan give the testimony that none of these pillars of Islam has been forgotten in the Muslim World. Even many dishonest men and women believe in Allah; they offer prayers, keep fasting, give charities and even go for haj.
In fact, the most forgotten issue in human life is siratul mustaqeem –the right path shown by Allah (SWT) through His prophets and the Divine books. The creation of the right path is not within the domain of humans’ intellect. In fact, the most incapacitating inadequacy of humans lies in finding the right path; not in scientific discovery. So, showing the right path to the humans has been taken by Allah (SWT) –the Almighty Creator, as His own responsibility. So, in holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) says, “Inna alainal huda” (certainly, on Me is displaying the guidance). In order to discharge such a crucial responsibility, more than hundred thousand prophets were sent down to the earth. Prophet Muhammad is indeed the last prophet in that Divine chain. In fact, it is the most important blessing of Allah (SWT) for the humans.
Humans are created for an endless life; death doesn’t end it, rather takes it to a deathless phase in the hereafter. The success in this worldly life and also in the life of infinity in the hereafter entirely depends on reaching the place of peace called haven there. Otherwise, this life only takes to the horror of hellfire. Allah (SWT) wants humans to succeed in this world as well as in the hereafter. To ensure the success of His beloved creation, He sent down prophets like Nuh (AS), Ibrahim (AS), Musa (AS), Isa (AS), Muhammad (SAWS) and others of the same Divine chain with the same siratul mustaqeem – the Divine roadmap. But their followers made awful history in forgetting as well in disobeying or concealing the Divine path. In Islam, such acts are perfect expression of kufr. Allah (SWT) considers such self-inflicted amnesia and arrogance as a great crime against the Divine truth; and a sure precursor of bringing down the Divine curse.
The catastrophic failure
The holy Qur’an gives vivid descriptions of the crimes of the rebellious people of different ages; and also tells about the punishment they invited on themselves. The Qur’an goes into great details on the failures of the Bani Israel (the people of Israel) and projected them as the careless and failed students of Islam. In order to help people take the lesson form their failure, the holy Qur’an not only reveals the right path towards paradise, but also showed the path that definitely takes to the hell fire. In their collective memory, only the name of Allah (SWT) and some prophets survived, but not the revealed path. The right path of Allah (SWT) –siratul mustaqeem went into oblivion. Likewise, only the name of Allah (SWT) and the names of Ibrahim and his son Ismail survived among their Makkan descendants, but not their deen-e-haneef -the Ibrahimic way of life. As the part of the same Divine chain, the holy Qur’an came as the last revelation of siratul mustaqeem. But the case of the Muslims hasn’t been different either. In the Muslims’ memory, though the names of Allah (SWT), His prophets and the Qur’an still survive, but seldom they follow the Qur’anic road-map in their educational, political, judicial, cultural and social life. So, they, too made history in awful failures. And the process continues.
The Qur’anic road-map is all inclusive. Not only it shows the right way of performing five time prayer, fasting in Ramadan, giving charity, performing haj, and other forms of ibadah, but also prescribes on right types of foods and drinks, judiciary, politics, distribution of inheritance, economics, culture, statehood, warfare and other aspects of life. One cannot think of any success in this life and in the hereafter without strict adherence to this Divine road-map –the siratul mustaqeem. But unfortunately, this is the most missing element in the Muslims’ life today. The Muslims’ statehood, trade, dresses, culture, morality, politics, laws and economics do not match with that of the prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions. The constitution, the laws, the politics, the economics and the culture that are followed in the Muslim world are not based on submission to prophetic tradition; rather based on the deviation and rebellion against Allah. They invest their intellect, energy, wealth and even life to fulfil their secular, national or tribal aspirations, not an Islamic one.
Between two destinations there cannot be more than one straight line. But the deviations may be in millions. This is why siratul mustaqeem is only one: connecting this worldly life with the heavenly one. The Qur’anic road-map does not show different maps for different groups of the same people –the ummah. Overwhelming disunity, disaffection and conflicts in the Muslim world are the products of such diverse deviations. Due to such deviations, the Muslims are the most divided people on earth. The Christians, the Hindus, and the Chinese –each could build their own united states; previously, the Muslims could do that too. But now the Muslims cannot even think of that, let alone achieve that. In early days of Islam, Muslims built such a state with the civilizational purpose: it was based on Divine faith, values, and vision. In fact, building such a state is an Islamic obligation on every believing man and woman, otherwise Islam cannot achieve its civilizational objectives and neither can man ensure the growth of his whole creative potentials. Major efforts and sacrifices of the Muslims in the early days were made to fulfil that goal. Indeed, the Qur’anic road-map cannot move further towards the Divine aim without establishing such a civilizational state; secular or anti-Islamic state stands as a stumbling block against such move. This is why the early Muslims could go incredibly high to make a glorious impact on human history, but today’s Muslims are making history in decadence and failures. In those days the states of Arabs, the Persian, the Kurds, the Levant, the Turks, the Barbers, the Moors, the Tatars -all formed a united states with a single Qur’anic vision. But now they are broken apart, and deviated to national, tribal or secular objectives.
Every sensible man or woman, prior to making a footstep, firstly knows the road-map of the planned journey. Otherwise the journey may end up in a wrong way. But Muslims’ journey towards jannah is not a simple tour, rather the most important event in life. So the road-map needs to be known by heart by every Muslim man and woman. Otherwise, how one can attain the Divine goal? The Qur’anic road-map (siratul mustaqeem) -with all its all signals and signs, is not hidden or kept in the custody of a few, rather made known to all in all possible ways. Whoever reads the holy Qur’an, whoever studies the life of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and whoever explore his sayings (hadees), he will get the elaborate guidance on the road of his Divine journey. He will receive clear signals on what to do and what not to do, and where to take the turn and where to restrain. To become a Muslim, it is a religious obligation to follow it. But the real picture in the Muslim world is different: the pursued path is different from that of the prophet. Their politics and policies, education and culture, courts and laws, economics and banking do not follow that Divine guidance, rather they follow the road of the deviants. In fact, they deliberately pursue such clear deviation to fulfil their personal, national or tribal objectives.
The most important issue
What is the important issue in life? Is it good food, good house, good wife, good children, good job, good profession, good money, and other worldly successes or pleasures? The humans are usually at crossroads on these issues. Most crucial mistakes are done at this juncture, and people get lost on a wrong track. Success depends on picking up the right path at this crossroads. Humans’ real intelligence and wisdom is judged here. Mistake done here can never be compensated by other gains. The Quran not only shows the most important issue in life, but also guides on the most forgotten issue. Allah SWT is fully aware of his own creation’s inadequacies. Who knows better than Him? Man believes that worldly gains and achievements are the real markers of success of life. But Allah SWT says otherwise. In the Quran it is revealed, “(O Muhammad!) Tell them, should I inform you about them who are ultimate looser in their deeds? They are people whose whole efforts in this world have gone in the wrong way, and they think they are doing professionally well.” (Sura Al-Kahaf, verse 103-104)
But, it is the saddest reality that most people fail to identify the most important issue in the life. Man’s such ignorance is very devastating: in fact, the great deviation in life starts here. Civilizations collapsed and nations perished -not due to lack of foods or drinks, but due to such deviations. If wealth, wife, children, business, professions, political power and other worldly pleasures get priority in one’s life, and ignore the hereafter, he will definitely miss the Divine path. Allah (SWT)’s greatest gift comes not as foods, drinks or other assets of livelihood –these come to animals too. His greatest blessing comes as the guidance on the most important issue in life; and He shows us the devises to constantly focus our attention on that; and it is through salah. Allah (SWT) wants our success, and salah attaches our attention to the path of that success: especially the supplication in sura fatiha is indeed the most important tool to fix our mind on that.
The prescribed priority & the failure
Knowing the life’s priority is crucial; without its understanding, one cannot fix his or her goal. Allah (SWT) opens Qur’an with that issue. The opening chapter –the sura Fatiha –the first fully revealed chapter, has been dedicated to address this subject. Allah (SWT) wants humans to be focussed on the important issue throughout the whole span of life; and it shouldn’t go out of our mind’s radar at any single moment of time. Man’s highest priority is expressed in his prayer. If the summit of ambition is to have a good business, a good job, a professional success or higher power in politics, then the man will repeatedly ask Allah (SWT) for that in his every prayer. He may even invite his friends and others to his house or he himself goes to priests or asking them to make a supplication for that.
Dowa or supplication is indeed the expression of man’s most cherished desire; it is the revelation of his inner faith. A man who has no belief in the hereafter cannot be concerned with the Divine road map. His path, his character, his believer are understandably different from a true believer. Man’s daily activities indeed bear imprints of his supreme desire. So the moulding of faith, the correction of his deeds, and the purification of his soul, indeed start from that inner longing. Such longing in fact works as the guiding compass. So Allah SWT addresses that issue in the Qur’an, and that starts from sura Fatiha. So it is rightly named as Fatiha -the beginning. But those who do wrongs in the beginning, how they can be right in the end?