Islam - The Religion of Love
Translated Speech of
His Eminence Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
Shaikh Silsilah Naqshbandiah Owaisiah
27th June 2003
Surah al-Furqan starts in the 18th Chapter with these verses. The Gracious Lord says, Almighty Allah possesses all the blessings, He is the Most Blessed; He, Who revealed a Book that highlights the difference between right and wrong. It has separated truth from falsehood, like day from night. He revealed it on His beloved slave-saws, so that he may caution whole humanity about the disastrous consequences of following the untruth. Our Urdu translators, at times, casually translate ‘Nazeer’ as ‘Frightener - the one who frightens’. Here the holy Quran means, ‘revealed the Book on His slave so that he may guide those who pay heed’. I don’t understand how ‘Nazeer’ can be translated as ‘frightener’? Fright or fear can be of various types. One type of fear is that of a thief or mugger; other type may be fear of disease, it can also be fear of loss in business, yet another type may be fear of something harmful like a snake. Nazeer, however, denotes a person who informs you, in advance, about the consequences of your wrong actions; for example, if you are eating something and a person tells you that your food can cause you cholera in this season; he would be called Nazeer. It is exalted status of the holy Prophet-saws that he informs man of the damage and destruction that his disbelief, disobedience, ingratitude and cruelty will cause in this world, and also of the suffering and punishment that portray his deeds and await him, at the doorstep of his eternal life. He-saws advises man to repent and reform, else, he would be ruined by the natural consequence of his acts.
Almighty Allah says, ‘I have revealed a Book’. Translators have usually translated ‘Book’ as Quran, while the translation of ‘Furqan’ is not Quran. Furqan means something that differentiates, and here it refers to the holy Quran. Almighty Allah did not mention the name of the Book, but mentioned its attribute that it separates truth from falsehood. Whether someone believes or not, it clearly differentiates between right and wrong. It has been revealed for the worlds; not for just one world but for all the worlds. ‘Aalamin’ denotes everything in the universe except the Divine Being; so that it informs the ‘Aalamin’ of the hazardous consequences of staying away from Allah; and to Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. You fear governments and rulers, whose pomp and show is only a momentary and temporary; the real kingdom of the heavens and earth belongs to Allah; He is the real Sovereign. His rule extends over each particle, each whiff of breeze, every blade of grass, each ray of the sun and each leaf of every tree. You feel afraid of small, insignificant rulers and obey them; shouldn’t you fear and obey the Sole, Absolute Ruler? He has taken no son for Himself. The Jews say, ‘Uzair-as is the son of Allah’; the Christians claim, ‘Jesus is the son of Allah.’ But He says: ‘I have no son.’ He is the Absolute, the Single; there can be none like Him. A son necessarily belongs to the genre and species of his father. The son of a human being would be a human, the young of an elephant would be an elephant and that of a bird would essentially be a bird, inheriting the attributes of its father. If God had a son, he would have been another god. But, He neither has any son, nor any partner in His sovereignty; He is the Absolute Ruler, no one can interfere with His rule. It is He Who has created everything. He has created the earths, skies, sun, moon, stars, winds, rains, clouds, oceans, angels, jinns, human beings and all that we know and all that we don’t. Then, for everyone, He has defined a term that none can exceed. If someone has the government, it would end within a defined period. If someone is in power, it would also leave him at a defined time. Similarly, both life and health of a person would also end at a defined hour. One would have to leave wealth behind, at a given time, and none can predict that he would get a coffin and the burial. None can exceed the time set by Him and none can challenge His rule.
Quran is the Book that contains a Message of Mercy for the whole humanity. The holy Prophet-saws made incessant effort to save all human beings from eternal loss. Since that time, till the Last Day, each servant of the holy Prophet-saws will make a similar effort to save every member of human race from that distress. It means that Islam loves humanity and does not hate it. Islam does not hate any human being, religion or belief. Yes, it hates oppression and instructs to hate oppression; it hates evil and preaches to hate evil. It does not teach hate for any individual, person, nation or belief.
Our worthy President is visiting USA these days. He has had an exclusive meeting with US President Mr. George W Bush, whose details have not yet been revealed to the media. It was mentioned in yesterday’s paper that these details would gradually filter out. It was given in today’s paper that Mr. Bush has told President General Pervez Musharraf that ‘the religious institutions in Pakistan need a lot of reformation.’ Now, what is the problem and how can that be rectified. He has said that ‘these institutes teach hatred for the US. They should be advised to teach other subjects like Maths, English or History, instead of teaching hatred for the US.’ This impression is totally baseless that religious institutes teach hatred for US, UK, China or Japan. They teach hatred for none! On the contrary, they teach love for humanity and the human race. The reason for people’s hatred for US is not any Quranic injunction, but the tyranny initiated by Mr. Bush’s father and accomplished by the son. People hate US for the devastation caused on the globe by Mr. Bush. It is equally incorrect that only Pakistanis hate US. I assert that US Christians and non-Muslims also hate Mr. Bush’s government because it has given nothing but destruction to this world. If Mr. Bush continues with his policy of slaying innocent children, bombing elderly civilians, dishonouring women, destroying homes, backing Israel to destroy home and habitations, then he should ask himself, who has ever earned love with tyranny? Who pays back in affection for cruelty? Doesn’t Mr. Bush understand such a simple principle? If he doesn’t, our worthy President General Pervez Musharraf should have whispered in his ear that ‘US is harvesting hate because of the seeds of tyranny sown by you.’ It is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran or Hadith that people should hate US, nor do the religious schools teach anything like this.
Once a Companion came to visit the holy Prophet-saws. During those times, people wore loose shirts with long sleeves. He took out two very small birds from one of his sleeves, showed them to the holy Prophet-saws and said, “I would rear them.” The holy Prophet-saws replied, “But, how anxious and worried would be the couple whose young ones you have taken! Go back immediately and restore them to their nest.” Islam and the Prophet-saws of Islam teach to love everything, even animals. The holy Prophet-saws has instructed to sharpen the knife that is used to slaughter Halal animals. Allah has given you the right to slaughter, but do sharpen you knife so that the animal does not feel pain under a blunt knife. The camel of a person from Madinah grew old and weak. Strenuous labour caused wounds on its back; it couldn’t work any more, so the owner drove it out; but, wherever it went, people drove it back. Once it was standing in the street, when the holy Prophet-saws came out of his blessed apartment. As soon as the camel saw the holy Prophet-saws, it started wailing. Allah and His Prophet-saws know better, in which language it narrated its misery that, standing there, the holy Prophet-saws asked about its owner and sent for him. The man was called. The holy Prophet-saws said, “This camel is complaining against you. You had put it to labour for a whole lifetime. Now that it is unable to work any longer, you have stopped feeding it. Take it along and look after it. It has served you for a while, now you take care of it. It is a Halal animal, if it is unable to work, you may slaughter it, but, don’t drive it out.” The holy Prophet-saws is ‘Mercy for the Aalamin’; he has taught love for everything. The message of Islam is love, not hate.
China is a non-Muslim country; Russia, her neighbour is also a communist country; people hate Russia but don’t hate China. Both practise similar ideology, systems and economy, but with different approaches. Russia has destroyed a whole world, but China has not bothered anyone. Russia annexed Central Asian Republics and caused havoc in Afghanistan. It finally broke; the annexed States recovered their independence and Afghanistan regained its freedom; Russia fell low and was forced to beg. But, who can dispel the hate sown in human hearts by Russian atrocities? Russia is no longer in Afghanistan, but will any Afghan ever love her? Will any Muslim ever love her? This concept is totally wrong that people hate USA, because religious institutions, scholars or clerics in mosques are teaching hatred against her. No! It is USA who is sowing the seeds of hatred against herself. Whosoever commits atrocities on the globe should expect only hatred in return.
It is correct and I endorse the concept that religious institutions shouldn’t teach religion only; they should also teach other subjects. The holy Prophet-saws has said that knowledge comprises two parts: knowledge of religion and knowledge of the world. Knowledge would be complete only when a person understands religion and possesses worldly knowledge also. This is our weakness and it is we, not USA, who are the sufferers. If students graduating from religious institutions had also acquired worldly knowledge, they could have joined the civil services; some of them would have become Assistant Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Commissioners or even Ministers. Such people would have treated all human beings, at least their countrymen, with equality and justice. Had the students of such institutions acquired worldly knowledge, some of them could have become generals. Such a general, blessed with both types of knowledge could have brought a positive change. If religious schools are not imparting worldly knowledge; the loss is ours and not that of the US. It is our requirement that people who study the Quran and Hadith should also acquire worldly knowledge and then hold high offices, so that God’s creation receives love alongwith kindness, mercy and justice.
We are insignificant people, ordinary urban citizens of Pakistan like many more. But it is disappointing that our religious scholars, who are ministers or members of the Parliament and Senate, have failed to convince the world that Islam is the religion of love and it doesn’t teach hatred. My talk is being heard by you; a few more may hear it, but the discussion that takes place in the National Assembly or Senate, and the point of view expressed by a member of the National Assembly or Senate echoes worldwide. Unfortunately our religious scholars, who have gone to the Assembly and the Senate, see only two problems in the world: the LFO (Legal Framework Order) and the uniform of President Musharraf. They think that there is no other problem in the world. If they couldn’t discuss the problems of our country, they could at least demonstrate to the non-Muslim world that Islam does not teach hate, it teaches love; Islam is not your foe, it is your friend; Islam wants to invite you towards Allah; it wants to save you from Divine wrath and the doom of the Hereafter. As far the notion that USA is a superpower, it is totally absurd. There is only one superpower, the One Who has declared: To Him belongs the sovereignty of the Heavens and the earth. His kingdom is eternal; it is He, Who has created all that exists on earth. Then He established a measure for everything. Everyone has to die. The shadow of death stalks every life; decline is the fate of every climax; old age must follow every youth; weakness chasing strength shall overtake it one day. A time would come when I shall be here no more, you won’t be here, neither President Bush nor General Musharraf would be here, but His Kingdom and Sovereignty shall prevail till eternity.
Islam is an eternal truth that can’t be effaced. We have revealed the Reminder and We are its Guardian. Who can eliminate something this is guarded by Allah Himself? The holy Quran shall continue to exist; so shall Islam and its followers. As far power and prestige are concerned, they keep changing hands. We keep changing the days between people. Allah says, ‘I keep alternating the tide of time’. It is because of our sins, mistakes and faults that Muslims are being ruled by the non-Muslims. Allah will, at last, accept the repentance of some of us. Someone would realize that he must assign top priority to the love of Allah and His Prophet-saws, and that the obedience of Allah and servitude to His Prophet-saws must take precedence over everything else. When this fact is realized by Muslims, it would mark the beginning of Islamic Renaissance. The Muslims have suffered gradual decline while the non-Muslims have progressed. Muslims have reached the lowest ebb, from where they can’t go any lower; the situation must improve now. We would be happy if President Bush himself accepts Islam. He should study the holy Quran and Hadith, and understand Islam. We would be happy if US accepts Islam. If you don’t accept Islam, you would never find love. If someone thinks he can close down religious schools, he is mistaken. The education of Quran and Hadith contains integral strength. When Allah is preserving the Quran, He would preserve its teachers also. Allah’s undertaking to protect the Quran necessarily includes the protection of its teachers, learners and students. Quran can be protected only when its teachers and students are also protected. These religious schools are under Allah’s protection; no one can harm them. Our government is under a wrong notion; it won’t gain anything by opposing the religious parties and schools. It is equally wrong to scheme to disgrace and humiliate them. Honour is for Allah, His Prophet-saws and the believers. Religion is the source of respect and not insult. No one can get humiliated because of religion. Religious scholars earn disrespect only when they start coveting worldly gains. It is the worldly greed and not religion that brings disgrace. Honour is for Allah, His beloved Prophet-saws and His faithful servants.
This discourse will continue and we shall be expressing our opinion as new events unfold themselves. I’m however, surprised that ‘people are loyal to the king than the king himself’. Member of various agencies keep coming to us here. I don’t understand what they complain about. I don’t think I have ever adopted an insulting attitude for anyone. This is the pulpit of the holy Prophet-saws, and there are definite etiquettes of speaking from here. The speaker who hurls insults on others can not remain safe himself. It is wrong to think that we would insult, humiliate or ridicule anyone from this platform. This pulpit is not meant for such practices. It is the fount of love, blessings of the holy Prophet-saws and it extends an open invitation…even if a habitual sinner of a lifetime, a murderer, an oppressor or the most ungodly person approaches this pulpit, he would never be rejected. It would extend the shade of Allah’s Mercy to anyone who repents and draws near. From this pulpit is extended message of the Quran, message of the holy Prophet-saws and the most encompassing mercy; everyone is invited to come and learn Allah’s religion, get Allah’s love and learn to follow the holy Prophet-saws. Pulpit of the holy Prophet-saws does not teach to hate anyone. I have asked the members of the government agencies many times to take the recorded cassettes from us instead of making their own notes. That way, our speech would be communicated to other people, in its true form. We say something else, while you report something else, after all honesty also has its demands. Whatever is said must be reported, because it is said to be conveyed and not concealed.
May Allah guide everyone! People working in the agencies are also our Muslim brethren; we pray for them also. May Allah forgive us our sins; grant us His love and the love of His Beloved Prophet-saws! May He grant the wisdom to our religious scholars to display to the non-Muslim world that Islam is not your enemy; it is your well-wisher and invites you towards Allah; it calls you towards truth and stops you from oppression; if you don’t abstain, you would suffer both in this world and the next. May Allah grant us the strength to express and follow the truth! Death has to come at an appointed time. We don’t fear death; we rather prepare for it; by Allah’s favour, we are ready to receive it any time of the day or night. I attend to innumerable tasks but there is not a single project about which I feel concerned. I am free and ready to meet death, even right now sitting here. We would attend to all responsibilities and duties as long as we are here in this world. Business, lands, houses, children everything belongs to Allah; we are only their custodians. When He gathers us, the responsibility of all this would transfer to someone else; why should we feel unduly concerned? As long as we live, we must work because that is obligatory. Striving with fair means to earn livelihood is mandatory, just like Salah, Saum and Hajj. If I don’t work now, I won’t die of hunger, but it is one of the best worships to work to earn through fair means; why shouldn’t we do it? But it shouldn’t be assumed that I am very busy and thus afraid of death. No, I am always ready to go. I know I have to die. I believe in the Hereafter and am sure that I have to go before Allah and I am also sure that the holy Prophet-saws shall not deprive a humble servant like me. Only that person, who apprehends trouble, should fear death. Why should we fear death, when we know that it would take us to the audience of the holy Prophet-saws; what good are we doing here? I think the government and rulers would benefit more by paying heed to my advice rather that trying to frighten me.