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We believe that a true and comprehensive understanding of Islam would not be possible without careful recognition of the Prophetic Tradition and the Prophet's Household. And Allah is the Source of Strength.

Separating the "Church" From The State

Following the fall of Rome, western civilization collapsed in organization and literacy, which lead to the dark ages, an era stretching centuries where progress in scientific research came to a stop.

The monarchs of Europe had ruled because of divine right (a concept similar to what is attributed to the rightly guided caliphs, the Khulfa e Salasa, and later on self-claimed by the Banu Ummayads and dynasties to follow).

The "elected" pope was the Vicar of Jesus Christ (and the Grand Ayatullah is the Naib e Imam (AS)).

The Christian church opposed Copernicus and Galileo (to the extent of arresting him) for their heliocentric views (Sun is center of the solar system and not the Earth, as opposed to the beliefs of the Church).  Giordano Bruno was burned for his works in astronomy.

The Christian Church also used to sell indulges, technically a token for forgiveness of sins and thus a gateway to heaven.

Until a civilization starts critical assessment and challenges the social norms, and does not separate God from creatures of God, Prophet of God from followers of Prophet of God, message of God from the interpretation of message of God, stories of the elders from scientific facts, it will not come out from the dark ages.

Europe remained in dark ages until it successfully separated the church from the state and then our history saw the renaissance later followed by the industrial revolution.

To me, the concept of the Mosque has been made similar to that of the Church, by Muslims. The Maulanas and the Muftis are not be questioned, they are not disobeyed, and their Fatwas are at par with the Quran. The state cannot act against them or crackdown against their weaponized forts. These are those who declare who is a Muslim and who is a Kaafir and these are who resist scientific advances in the name of Shariah. Of these are men, who have corrupted our nation and Ummah for political and monetary gains, to such an extent, that we want to execute a mentally disabled 13 year old girl for "allegedly" disrespecting the Quran, as if she is the greatest threat to Islam.

These are the men Quran has warned us about, 1400 years ago, and these are the men who are infact the greatest threat to Islam.

And there are among them illiterates who know not the Book but only lies, and
they do but conjecture
. Woe, then, to those who write the book with their hands and then say: This is from Allah, so that they may take for it a small price; therefore woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
Quran [2:78-79]

In my country, Pakistan, the educated and the qualified become engineers, doctors and lawyers. The not so educated, and the ones who struggle, become Bus conductors and Rikshaw drivers. Unfortunately, the left-overs of the society, who due to financial incapability or improper grooming, become the Molvis and guide our nation to what is right and what is wrong. These are the men who are not aware of philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, scientific progress, foreign policies, geography, world history, information technology, practices and norms of other nations, these are the frogs of their own well and these become the ones who would now distinguish the right from the wrong.

I always wondered the Quran was the Furqan, the criterion, which distinguishes the right from the wrong, but i maybe wrong.

Blessed is He (Allah) Who sent down the Furqan upon His servant that he may be
a warner to the nations;
Quran [25:1]

All due respect to our ulemas, from all sects, who have studied religion with true intents to spread the message and way of Rasool (SAW) to us, who I have consulted in many issues of which I had no knowledge of earlier and who translated the Quran and literature for us to comprehend and follow, without corrupting its meaning.

However, we at this stage require critical assessment.

All Muslims (sects) are attached to Ijma, Qayas and Ijtehad giving them divine importance, in some way or the other. Ijma is when all scholars unanimously agree on something, Qiyas is analogical thinking and ijtehad is making of a decision via personal efforts (of research etc). Funny that neither of the three have been ordered by the Quran the way we practice them today.

All Muslims and its sects agree on Unity of Allah, finality of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and completeness of the Quran. We all also believe in the completeness of Religion.

.... This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; ...
Quran [5:3]

Unfortunately, we have two options. First is to believe that Islam is complete, Quran is complete, life of Prophet (SAW) is complete and sufficient (and for Shias, life of 12 Imams (AS) is also complete and sufficient and in continuation and compliment to that of Rasool (SAW)). If this is the case, then we do not require Ijma, Qayas and Ijtehad for Islam is complete and self explanatory, and independent from interpretation and opinions of fallable human beings.

The second is to believe, again in the completion (as Quran states it), but also in our inefficiency and ignorance as an Ummah, for truly understanding and comprehending the true message, thus our dependency on fallibles.

It must also be clarified that dependency on fallibles will always exist. I may learn the method to salat the way Prophet (SAW) did through some of my friend. His own opinion is not involved in that and it is simply conveying of an unadulterated message, without any interpretations and personal bias/opinions. This involvement of the scholars and ulemas must always be in our life, who must teach generations to come the way for salat, hajj, umrah, marriage, divorce, saum and shariah rulings regarding issues which Prophet (SAW) had decided in his life.

The second involvement is a bit tricky, and more appropriately known as fatwas.

Islam is a simple religion where Allah neither burdened us with what we could not bear, nor he made it rocket science where one needed a degree to understand and to implement. It is a religion for all men from all social backgrounds. It gives the benefit of doubt to us.

It is evident from the following verse;

O you who believe! do not put questions about things which if declared to you may trouble you, and if you question about them when the Quran is being revealed, they shall be declared to you; Allah pardons this, and Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing. A people before you indeed asked such questions, and then became disbelievers on account of them.
Quran [5:101-102]

Allah clearly orders the believers to be patient and do not question what Allah himself has not revealed and that the believers should take it as a benefit of doubt. The more they question the more stringent the law of Allah would become. For example, the Ayah of Wudu states to wash our face with water. It does not state if the water should be hot or cold and if so, it means that it is not of sharaih importance to know the temperature of water. That is the benefit we have today that when we perform wudu we do not limit ourselves to a specific temperature range for the water, we use water which is comfortable for us.

A similar example exists in the famous story of the cow in Al-Baqara;

And when Musa said to his people: Surely Allah commands you that you should
sacrifice a cow
; they said: Do you ridicule us? He said: I seek the protection of Allah
from being one of the ignorant. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is. Musa said: He says, Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between that (and this); do therefore what you are commanded. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what her color is. Musa said: He says, Surely she is a yellow cow; her color is intensely yellow, giving delight to the beholders.They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah please we shall surely be guided aright. Musa said: He says, Surely she is a cow not made submissive that she should plough the land, nor does she irrigate the tilth; sound, without a blemish in her. They said: Now you have brought the truth; so they sacrificed her, though they had not the mind to do (it).
Quran [2:67-71]

Allah commanded the people of Musa (AS) to slaughter a cow, and they were to do as commanded. But instead, they started to ask more questions. The more they questioned, the more complicated the description of the cow became and harder for them to find and implement the order.

Therefore, we are to do as commanded, but we end up asking unrelated questions which only complicates things, and thus brings into utility, the maulana of the masjids and madressahs.

Using a cell phone, buying of Halloween candy, giving of gifts on eid, watching of cartoons and movies, medicines, these are not issues of Islam. These are issues of common sense, ethics and morality, all of which are a part of Islam. You do not require a fatwa to know that use of cellphone is halal or not.

Ask yourself personally, how many fatwas did you ever apply to your life or you felt a need for a fatwa in your life? The shariat of Rasool (SAW) is detailed and we may need guidance in learning it (which is not a fatwa).

Ask yourself, if we were to rid ourselves of the fatwas of the mullahs, what utility would they have in their own life? These are men who complicate things so that they always find a utility in our lives and feel important.

Speaking of personal experience, you will often find people in your offices, incompetent, unproductive and of no utility. These are the ones who would complicate simple things, complicate simple procedures and processes to justify their job position and utility. Those of you who have had experience with government organizations and authorities will agree. People hide useful information and keep it with themselves so that we always remain dependant on them. People do not groom their juniors for the fear of job insecurities.

It is very much applicable with the mullah of today, from incompetence to job insecurity. And the mullah is not solely responsible. Our respected ulemas have also not groomed us properly, have remained silent on the root cause issues of our society today and have failed to provide solution to the problems they themselves have raised.

Banking, Riba, Interest maybe haram. But what is the solution? Corruption at all social and political levels is at its peak. But what is the solution? Have our ulema provided a unanimous agenda as an Ijma, which should be binding on all Muslims and which address the true social issues of extremism today? They hurry in declaring some one a kaafir, but have they really contributed productively in our society?

Unfortunately that is not the reason. We lack leadership, political and spiritual and therefore we continue to go into circles.

Our people have forgotten, that Islam promotes the concept of one Ummah. But the fact remains that geographical boundaries negate that concept. A pakistani rupee has no value in Saudia. Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudia, every country has its on foreign policy which safeguards its own interests and not that of the whole of Muslim Ummah. How come then an attack on Afghanistan be considered an attack on Islam, that too by a nation which has mosques and allows salat in its own territorial limits?

We forget that charity starts at home. I have no right to help the woman across the road if my own mother is in need. What is happening with Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir and Burma is oppression and as Muslims we feel the need to aid them. But it is not their right to be aided by us, while there are Muslims in Pakistan who require our help.

Fatwas come labelling each other kaafirs. How will they ever face the accountability of Allah?

O you who believe! when you go to war in Allah's way, make investigation, and do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life! But with Allah there are abundant gains; you too were such before, then Allah conferred a benefit on you; therefore make investigation; surely Allah is aware of what you do.
Quran [4:94]

Who has a right to declare anyone a kaafir when they have recited the kalimah of Muhammad (SAW), even if hypocritical. We are not here to judge people but to mend our own ways.

The shias are being killed in roads and markets, taken off from buses and slaughtered. It is sad. Sadder is how our government, our ulemas and our courts are not addressing the issue and creating awareness amongst the masses. Saddest will be the day when the zaalim and those with authority will give their accountability to Allah.

Drone strikes are continuously violating Pakistan's supremacy. Without any control and check, what surety is there that your house will be safe from one? The government of Pakistan must either authorize the drone strikes, giving evidence that those who are killed are indeed terrorists and not anyone from their family, wives and kids, or they should resolve to strike down any unauthorized drone flights, or they should own the blood and be responsible for the killed.

Why are our ulemas still silent on the blasphemy law and its blatant misuse which is a kufr in itself? Is not airing programs in Ramadan hosted by a woman with the stature of Veena Malik blasphemy in itself? Given the silence and ineffectiveness of our ulema, Veena Malik might just become one of the saints herself.

Unfortunately, Islam was never opposed by forces of other Gods. Islam was always opposed by forces which would suffer commercial losses if they had accepted Islam. Islam was opposed by people who refuted the concept of accountability, who had investments in the business of alcohol and pork, who had investments in business of weapon construction and selling. America was discovered in 15th century. But muslims have been killing muslims since the demise of Prophet (SAW). Mawla Ali (AS) had to face muslims in three different battles. Prophet's (SAW) son, Hussain (AS) was martyred by Namazis.

It is time we muslims take ownership and realize that the fault lies amongst us and our systems. We have stopped education, critical assessment (of ahadith and tafasir), logical analysis and scientific reasoning. We are not productive and have no representation in space exploration, Olympics and other sports. Our people do not appreciate creativity in concepts and ideas, be it in a movie, or be it in a school. Come to think of it, a student in a school is taught to always go by the book and never venture out of it. We are not taught to take risks.

Shias and Sunnis, at times live under the same roof, Hindus and muslims also share the same soil, Mahajir and Pathan also travel in the same bus, an American and an Afghani also go to the same university. This division was never the issue. What cannot co-exist are opposites. A hungry tiger cannot co-exist with a fawn, the same way a learned cannot co-exist with the ignorant, the zaalim with the mazloom, the honest with the dishonest and the intolerant with anyone else.

If right socio-political reforms are not taken, the qualified people are not given their due right, the "church" is not separated from the state and if a common man is not groomed for tolerance, righteousness and critical assessment, we and the Muslim Ummah may never come out of the prevailing dark ages.

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