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ISLAM’S RESPONSE TO CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
Hazrat Mirza Tahir AhmadKhalifa-tul-Masih IVRehm’Allah tallaPrepared by Dr Shakeel AhmadNational Tabligh Team, UK
ISLAM’S RESPONSE TO CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
Chapter wise educational seminars:1. Inter-religious peace2. Social peace3. Economic peace4. Political peace5. Individual peace
Seminar 2SOCIAL PEACE

Background
‘Contemporary Social Order’- strong urge to shun religious obligation- increasing concern for growing lack of social orderReligion in name only- ‘water water every where, not a drop to drink’- more aware of pollution in physical environment than in spiritual/moral environmentLeads to loss of respect for moral heritageVoid in the collective subconsciousUrge for enquiry for a new codeSearch can go either way- Some maybe succeeding- Mass are experimenting with dangerous trendsNot just a current problem-Many societies in past have been wiped out for same reasons
Do we need a social code of conduct?
Need for a Code - 1
Vanity of materialistic society57:21 Be aware that worldly life is just a shallow fulfilment of your desires and can make one lose the higher goals; the worldly glitters, pride, race for riches and progeny, is all like the rain that initiates vegetation, rejoicing the tiller for a while, but which then dries up, vegetation turning yellow, then becoming worthless, ultimately agony for the tiller. And there is forgiveness from Allah (if you repent) and life of this world is nothing but temporary enjoyment of delusive things.Worldly life- lived for material gains, begins to feel void- a mirage- similarly, societies that live only for material pursuits24:40 For those who disbelieve, their deeds are like a mirage in flat plain, a thirsty one thinks it to be water; until he comes to it, then finds it is nothing, and finds Allah to be there, Who then pays him his account fully. Allah is very able in justice.
Need for a Code -2
A code of social behaviour can helpMany religions, incl Islam, teach about life after deathIf life here & hereafter are a continuum – effect of social code on our soul can affect afterlifeTherefore- need to observe a social code with positive effects on society and on the soul- reject one with negative effects
Two Climates of Social Order - 1
According to Holy Quran:Type 1- without due regard to social effects- based on short term gains- thus allowing development of evilType 2- based on concerns for betterment of society- with willing sacrifice of individual short term gains- in which moral/spiritual growth is encouraged, thus also inhibiting growth of evil
Two Climates of Social Order - 2
Type 1Instant gratificationIndividual ‘freedom’To consider only the span of life on earthAnswerable only to societyAnswerableonlyfor what is visible & detectable
Two Climates of Social Order - 3
Type 1Onlythose crimes are punishable that are established ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ - superficial judicial system.Encourages clever planning to avoid legal challengeCrime loses its link with moral code
Two Climates of Social Order - 4
Type 1Law is word of a despot or a govt which isn’t accepted by allSubmission to law only out of necessityIf benefit/pleasure can be gained by breaking law and avoiding detection, why not!
Importance ofAccountability
Accountability and reward is natures way of development-in early evolution of life-in development of children as they learn and grow- in our physical development eg athletes-inconceivable that we are left without this mechanism to govern our moral/spiritual developmentFailure to accept life after death is core to this difference23:38 (disbelievers say) there is no life other than this life, we live here & we shall die here and we shall be not raised again17:53 they say, when we shall have become bones and dust, shall we be raised again into a new creation?Four characters of worldly society in Quran74:43-7 what has brought you into fire of hell? They will say, ‘we were not of those who worshipped God, we did not feed the poor, we indulged in vain talk with those who indulge themselves andwe denied the Day of Judgement’
So What Is Healthy Social Climate?
Unhealthy natural desires are disciplinedNew tastes are developed which promote growth of individual/societyHealthy v non-healthy- Peace & contentment v restlessness & dissatisfactionMatthew 7:16-18 (Jesus said) by their fruits you will recognise them…likewise every good tree bears fine fruit but every rotten tree bears worthless fruit.Our modern societies- recognise the signs of being unhealthy- do not recognise the causeIslam- uproot the ‘evil tree that bears the unhealthy fruit’14:27 case of an evil ‘word’ is like a weak tree which has been uprooted from earth and has no validity or dignity- replace with a ‘healthy tree that will bear a healthy fruit’14:25-26 do you not see how Allah sets forth the example of a pure ‘word’? It is like a good tree whose root is firm and whose branches reach the sky. It succeeds & bears fruit regularly…
Some fundamental Islamic social injunctions are described - -Imagine their effect on society
Some FundamentalIslamic Social Injunctions - 1
Absolute Justice, Kindness & Kinship16:91 verily Allah instructs to carry out justice and kindness (above justice ie to give more than their dues) and to serve humanity with beneficence like they are your kin…Any wrong, by universal standards, is forbidden16:91 …Allah prohibits display of evil, and all that is considered wrong (by human conscience) and all that leads to rebellion and chaos. He admonishes so you realise.Emphasises loyalty, integrity, faithfulness – peaceDiscouragesunrestrained permissiveness – prevents social chaos due to pleasure seeking behaviour
Some FundamentalIslamic Social Injunctions - 2
People’s behaviour should be in accordance with- nature ie act of God- revealed scripture ie word of God- (recognition and acceptance of social responsibility)Drivers of behaviour should not be- pleasure- market forces- (selfish motive and escape from social responsibility)
Social moral code is a social responsibility
The developed parts of the world clean their streets better than the underdeveloped world, but only of physical litterIslam holds society collectively responsible3:105 let there be among you a group who always invite to goodness & enjoin equity & dissuade from evil. It is such societies that shall prosper- family elders to educate children- ‘war’ against evil,Jehad,not thru sword or restrictive legislation - but thru education, wise counsel & admonishment- Government can play their role but that alone is not enoughProphet Mohammad pbuh:Indeed by Allah, you must enjoin good & forbid evil. Seize the hand of wrong-doer & persuade him to act justly, establish him firmly on the right, else Allah will involve hearts of some of you with the hearts of others & will curse you like He cursed othersProphet Mohammad pbuh:serious sign of decline of society is that people lose courage to show displeasure at misconduct
Trust
Building of trust is crucialKeeping promises23:9-12 And those who are watchful of their trusts and their covenants, and those who are strict in observance of their prayers, these are the heirs, who will inherit paradise. They will abide therein forever.4:136 O’ ye who believe, be strict in observing justice, be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourself or your parents or your kindred. Whether you bear witness against rich or poor, Allah is regardful of them both. Hence follow not low desires so you are able to act equitably. If you hide or evade the truth, then be assured that Allah is well aware of what you do.
Discouragement of Vain Pursuits
Entertainment is neither bad nor prohibitedIf an objective in itself then ‘Laghav’23:2-4 successful indeed are the pious, who are humble in their prayers, and who shun all that is vainEg: TV-good, but …can make people idle, become neglectful of education, ignore family responsibility, desensitised to immorality, learn crime, create an artificial ‘expectation’ in their mindsPhilosophy of turning away from all comforts -nirvana- rejected.The author: ‘more like death than peace’Islamic teaching - disciplining of desires20:132 And do not be tempted, by what we have temporarily bestowed on some to enjoy as splendour of this world, so we try them thereby. Blessed provisions of thy Lord are better & more lasting.49:13 O’ ye who believe, avoid much suspicion, for suspicion in some cases is a sin. And do not envy one another, nor back-bite about others. Would any of you like to eat flesh of his dead brother? Certainly you would loathe it. And fear Allah, surely Allah is very compassionate and very merciful.
Prohibition of Drinking & Gambling
Drinking & gambling are institutionalised5:92 Satan desires only to create enmity and hatred amongst you by means of wine and game of chance, and to keep you back from remembrance of Allah. So will you keep back?Problems of all ages & all parts of the world- Majority of gamblers lose- Money changes hands without turning the wheel of economy- Both effect not only the individual but the society- Effect on the family- Quickly the youth get involved- Crime is encouragedIslam creates a very opposite atmosphere:- to ponder over God’s way and social responsibility- facilitates development of a taste for goodness- once pleasure of God’s way is experienced, worldly pleasures seem too shallow- such society isn't devoid of pleasure, only change in terms ofwhatis pleasurable
Racism - 1
Class prejudice of any kind is condemned.- nationalism, imperialism, tribalism, religious arrogance, ethnic divide, accent!Based on injusticeAuthor: ‘Greatest danger to peace’49:12 O ye who believe, let not one people deride another people, lest they maybe better than them, nor let a group of women deride another group, lest they be better than them. Do not defame your people, nor call by distorted names. It is bad malpractice of the bygone days after having believed, & those who repent not are the wrong-doers.49:14 We have created you from a male & a female, We have made you into tribes & subtribes for the sake of easy recognition. verily the most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is one who is most righteous among you. Surely Allah is all knowing, all aware.
Racism - 2
Islam – advocates bringing mankind together thru peaceful means24:36 Allah is the light of the heavens & the earth. His light is as if there is a lamp in a niche, lamp is inside a crystal globe, globe is like a glittering star. Lamp is lit with oil from a blessed tree, an olive,neither of the East nor of the West. The oil would glow though no fire would touch it. Light upon light! Allah guides to His light whomsoever He pleases & Allah knows all things fully well21:36 (Proph Mohammad pbuh is introduced as) mercy for thewhole world & whole of mankindProph Mohammad pbuh:All of you are equal. All, whatever nation or tribe you may belong to & whatever station in life you may hold. No one has any superiority to claim over another. An Arab possesses no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab. A white man is no way superior to a black man, nor a black to a white man, but only to the extent he discharges his duty to God and mankind, the most honorable among you are those who are the most righteous.
Sanctity of Social Relations
Marriage– objects of; peace & comfort (30:22), procreation(2:224), protection from vice and opportunity for moral/spiritual development (2:188), widening of circle of relations (4:2)Segregation of sexes(in recreational activity)- not a restriction- behaviour & dress code which applies to both genders- preservation of sanctity of family- part of social code that helps divert social energies to constructive purposes- prevention of misery from insincerity & exploitation- prevention of sexuality driven crimeChastity in love- desire to love and be loved - natural- extended beyond physical, love to facilitate growth in the loved one- strengthens families, neighbourhoods, friendshipsPermissiveness / struggle for ‘female rights’- not really a ‘modern’ issue
Equal Rights for Women - 1
Thru Divinely revealed moral codeand not a gradual process of social reformNaturally occurring constitutional variation in gendersis not to be undermined for sake of literal ‘equality’Equal opportunity for spiritual growth33:36 Surely men who submit to God & women who submit to God, believing men & believing women, obedient men & obedient women, truthful men & truthful women, steadfast men & steadfast women, humble men & humble women, men who give alms & women who give alms, men who fast & women who fast, men who guard their chastity & women who guard their chastity and men who remember Allah a lot & women who remember, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward16:98 whoso acts righteously whether male or female and is a believer, We will surely grant them a pure life and bestow Our reward according to their acts.Equal share in affairs of life2:229 and women have rights similar to men …4:33 and envy not that whereby Allah has made some of you excel others. Men have a share of what they earn and women have a share of what they earn. Ask for Allah’s blessings. Surely Allah is all knowing.
Equal Rights for Women - 2
EducationWomen as well as men encouraged strongly, even against oddsIndependent identity– decision making right, witnessSecurity– thru marriage, prevention from exploitation thru purdahRight to marry with choice & right to divorce4:36 if you fear a breach between them then appoint an arbiter from his folk and an arbiter from her folk. If they desire reconciliation, Allah will effect it between them. Allah is All-KnowingInheritance4:8 for men there is share from what parents and near relations leave, and for women there is a share…As mother & wife-very special privileges- strengthens family tiesProph Mohammad pbuh: ‘best of you are those who behave best towards their wives’
Polygamy
Not a generality- situation specific – helps preserve social integrity of society - ‘localised’ disturbance of nos is balanced thru polygamy - where practiced, doesn’t disturb the proportion, M:W-1:1Conditions– not pleasure seeking, becomes issue of taking responsibility v irresponsibility, fairness to all wives4:4 If you apprehend you will not be fair to orphans then marry of other women, 2, 3 or 4; but if you apprehend that you will not deal justly between them, then marry only one…this is the best way for you to obviate injusticeBenefits- Help preserve women’s rights- Security for widows, handicapped women, orphans- Avoids grave risk to peace of society thru breach of marital sanctityIf not :women lose sense of security, men live in guilt, families gets destroyedreduces inhibition of crime in stealth amongst societyconcept of love and loyalty get eroded from society, leaving infatuations which are only transientegpost ww2 Germany, lately – Iran
Care of Aged
Natural expression of human kinship- innate ability of elderly mother to continue to care and look afterResponsibility of children to look after parents when old17:24-5 your Lord has commanded ‘worship none but Him, & show kindness to your parents. If one or both attain old age with thee, never express disgust nor reproach them, but address them with excellent speech. Lower towards them wings of humility, out of tenderness’.And say ‘my Lord, have mercy on them, as they nourished me when I was a little child’.State cannot provide theaffectionandcontentmentIslamic injunction removes responsibility from the state to provide for elderly, except in exceptional circumstances
Future Generation
Responsibility of parents towards their children- their conduct & behaviour59:19 O’ ye who believe, fear Allah and let every soul look to what it sends for tomorrow…Proph Mohammad pbuh: Treat you children with kindness, always.‘Unique teaching’ – to achieve best relation with children it is necessary to have best relation between parents4:35 ‘qawwamun’ ie guardians -heavy responsibility on father to create a conducive atmosphere at homeProph Mohammad pbuh (Abu Hurraira): Best of the believer is the one whose behaviour is best, and best of you are those who behave best towards their wivesPray for the best behaviour25:75 and those who say ‘Our Lord, grant us of our wives & children the delight of our eyes and make us a model for the righteous’
Some other Islamic Injunctions
GOOD BEHAVIOURCleanlinessControlling angerCooperationCourageDoing wilful goodExcelling in doing goodFeeding the hungryForgivenessGiving true evidenceGood treatment of employeesGood treatment of neighboursGood treatment of relativesGratefulnessHumilityMaking peace between peoplePatiencePerseverancePuritySelf controlSincerityTruthfulness
Summary - 1
Society is losing peace- either in the name of individualism- or following religion in name onlyNeed of a social order- based on benefits not only to this life but also to hereafter- Divinely guided & not just social reform- based on accountabilityQuran describes 2 types of social order1. allows evil to flourish- allows unrestrained living for self and pleasure- does not involve responsibility for others- moral code is about what is observable by society2. conducive to moral & spiritual growth- disciplines temptations & desires- involves responsibility for the society- recognises importance of intention in relation to behaviour
Summary - 2
Wrong doing, of any kind, is forbiddenAbsolute justice, kindness & kinshipLoyalty, integrity, faithfulness – leading to social peaceBehaviour- Behaviour acc to - act & word of God- Prevention of social chaos due to pleasure seeking behaviourSociety is responsible for its own moral education & cleansingTrust is crucialVain pursuits are discouraged - incl gambling & drinkingTastes for pleasure are redeveloped relating to refined and constructive social activityOneness of mankind- all forms of racism are strictly condemned- righteousness is the criteria to classify people, not their class distribution
Summary - 3
Sanctification of social relationsRights for women-equal opportunity for spiritual growth- equal share in affairs of life & an independent identity- security- rights of inheritance- right to marry with choice & right to divorce- special privileges as mother & wifePolygamy- is conditional. Equal treatment is fundamental requirement.- has social benefits for widows, handicapped women, orphans & deals with excess number of women in specific circumstances like post-war situationsCare of aged-responsibility of children- not left to stateFuture generations- responsibility of parents- by example of their relationshipMany others

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