Follow Prophet to become leader even in minority: MJ Akbar

http://www.twocircles.net/2008nov09/m_j_akbar_asks_muslims_overcome_inferiority_feeling.html

 

Follow Prophet to become leader

even in minority: MJ Akbar

 

·                                

By Mohammed Siddique, TwoCircles.net,

Hyderabad: The noted journalist and author Mubashir Javed Akbar (famous as MJ Akbar) today bowled over the gathering of thousands of clerics at the General Session of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) by his profound knowledge and deep insight in Quran, Sunnah, Islamic history and Islamic jurisprudence.

In an extraordinary appearance at an Islamic religious conference Akbar spoke on the problem of terrorism, media distorting the image of Islam by misusing the name of Jihad, and the position of Jihad in Islam.

But the core message of his half an hour long address, punctuated by the slogan of “Allah-o-Akbar” by thousands of delegates on Saturday night, was how Muslims of India can overcome the handicap of being a minority. “When Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) migrated to Madina, he was chosen as the leader of the city and its surrounding though Muslims were not in majority and there were Jewish tribes around the city. He was chosen not because of numerical strength but because of his leadership skills, statesmanship and ability to take everybody along”.

On the contrary, Akbar said, Muslims in India become disheartened by thinking of themselves as a minority. “If we have the same leadership qualities and abilities we can also become the leader despite being a minority”, he said. Akbar, the author of several books including the famous “Under the Shadow of the Sword” on Islamic history, also underlined the need for Muslims to do agreements with the other communities. He referred to the Islamic history saying even the Prophet had sort of agreements with the Jews. “We live in a democracy and we should compromise with the other communities, even those who had a clashing viewpoint. Then only the doors will open for us”.

On secularism he said, the best term for secularism was coined by the Quran when it speaks of others having their own religion and Muslims having their won religion. (Lakum Deenukum Walyadeen). “We can compromise only by remaining steadfast on our own religion”, Akbar said.

He decried the media for misusing the term of Jihad. “Whenever there is a bomb blast, the media starts calling it Jihad. Jihad is a very noble and clean struggle”, he said. Akbar said that the Muslims cannot discard the concept of Jihad as it is one of the tenets of Islam. “If they dissociate themselves from Jihad, they will not remain Muslims”, he said adding that it was the responsibility of Muslims to remove if there were misconceptions among others about Islam.

Akbar said that even other religions have the concept of holy wars like Dharam Yudh in Hindu and Sikhism and Crusade in Christianity. “But it is only in the case of Muslims that the term of Jihad is used to describe the act of violence”.

He also rejected the new term of Islamo-Fascism being used by the opponents of Islam and Muslims. “They can never be the same”, he said pointing out that the history of Islam was more than 1400 years old while fascism dates back to 1920 to the era of Mussolini.

He also found fault with the term of Terrorism and said that the correct term for this type of violence “Fitna or Fasad” was used by Quran. “The Quran has spelled out the punishment for this crime in varying degrees ranging from the cutting off fingers or hands to the capital punishment”.

“Islam teaches that killing one innocent person was killing the entire humanity and removing one oppressor is delivering an entire nation”, he said.

Akbar said that if an individual has done something wrong, the entire community should not be held responsible or maligned for that. At the same time he said if somebody has done something wrong, Muslims should dissociate themselves from him.

Instead of looking towards others or blaming others, Muslims should introspect and remove their weaknesses and shortcomings. “To me poverty, ignorance and sex discrimination are the biggest enemies of Muslims”, Akbar said.

M J Akbar, who once edited Sunday Weekly magazine and then successfully launched The Telegraph and The Asian Age newspapers, strongly advocated the need for imparting education to the girls. “Without that we can’t enter even 19th century, let alone the 21st century”, he said.

Akbar said that educating girls does not mean that they should leave their Hijab or become irreligious. “We can get educated by remaining faithful to our culture and our religion”, he said.

Akbar said that many Christians ask him why Muslim women continue to wear veil. “I ask them whether they have ever seen Bibi Maryam without a veil”.

He also attributed the pathetic condition of Muslims to their laxity and lethargy. He expressed shock that some Muslims proudly say that they have not seen the morning sun light for years. “How a true Muslim can do it because his day is supposed to start with Azan-e-Fajr”, Akbar said.

After his speech one delegate summed up the feeling of the gathering: “We had thought he was a godless and irreligious person but Akbar has turned out to be an Aalim”.

 

 

 

http://www.twocircles.net/2008nov09/m_j_akbar_asks_muslims_overcome_inferiority_feeling.html

 

 

 

 

By IANS,

Hyderabad : Eminent journalist and author M.J. Akbar has asked Muslims in India to overcome their inferiority feeling and strive for excellence in their own spheres, while seeking to remove misconceptions and misinterpretations of Islam.

He was addressing clerics at the conclave of the Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind, the biggest and oldest Muslim group that is meeting here to discuss host of issues faced by Indian Muslims.

Akbar, who was the special invitee at the 29th general session of the Jamiat, cited instances from the life of Prophet Mohammed to prove the point that the numerical strength was insignificant to achieve excellence.

“When Prophet Mohammed migrated to Medina, Muslims were few in numbers but the tribes living in and around Medina made him their leader. The Prophet became a leader not because of numerical strength (of Muslims) but because of his abilities and leadership qualities,” Akbar said in his speech delivered in Urdu.

Pointing out that the Prophet Mohammed entered into agreements with various groups including Jews; he suggested that in a democracy Muslims can also have similar arrangements with other communities.

“The holy Quran has defined secularism in the best possible manner. It says ‘To you your religion and to me my religion’. We should follow this principle and have understanding with others,” he told 6,000 clerics who gathered here from across the country.

Decrying attempts to link Islam with terrorism and fascism, he said the Quran described terrorism as ‘fasad’, or spreading mischief, and has even prescribed punishment for those indulging in ‘fasad’.

“Islam has clearly laid down that killing one human being is like killing the entire humanity and saving one’s life is like saving the entire humanity,” he said.

He pointed out that first caliph Hazrat Abu Bakar formulated rules for waging a war and ordered that women, children, the elderly people and also those who took shelter in places of worship should not be harmed.

Akbar said jehad is a holy word used for holy war and it has nothing to do with ‘fasad’.

He said terms like jehad were also used for holy wars in other religions like ‘dharam yudh’ in Hinduism and ‘crusade’ in Christianity.

Calling for introspection by Muslims to identify their weaknesses, he said “poverty, illiteracy and discrimination on the basis of sex” were their worst enemies.

Underlining the importance of women’s education, he said hijab, or veil, was not a hurdle in education.

“Educating a girl doesn’t mean that she has to take off her veil or move away from our culture,” he said.

 

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