Muslims Earn A Distorted Image

By D.A. Sait


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Deafening sound of firecrackers at my very doorstep caused me to step out and take a look. It was Diwali night all right. But what took my breath away was the sight of all varieties of crackers at the entrance to the stairs leading to my apartment.

What was more shocking was the fact that this colossal load of fire crackers had been assembled by a Muslim for the enjoyment of his brood of children. None of the Hindu neighbours had gone to the extent of sinking a small fortune on crackers. It was left to a Muslim to celebrate a Hindu festival on such a colossal scale. If this had been an isolated incident it wouldn′t have pained me so much.

There are many Muslim households that celebrate Diwali in this fashion and on such a scale. Money which could be spent on worthy causes like helping a poor family to educate a child, marry off a daughter, is being squandered to celebrate a festival which has nothing to do with Islam, a religion which forbids excesses and wastes of any kind.

Where do these Muslims, if they are Muslims, get permission to indulge in such excesses? Certainly not from the Qur′an, Hadith, or the Sunnah, nor the lives of the Sahaba, which apparently are not good enough for them. Then what kind of Muslims are they?

I have to repeat this question again when I think of the many Muslims who can′t do without the taking or giving of interest. Many of them have bank accounts, Savings, Current and Fixed deposit accounts. What do they do with the interest accrued? Presumably it all goes into the family budget. Is it ′halal′ for them?

There are many Muslims in business who borrow from banks or Marwaris at high rates of interest. Their business needs or family needs depend on money borrowed against interest. Their businesses cannot flourish without interest given and taken, while their lives in the Hereafter can do very well without adherence to Allah′s commands. Has interest been made ′halal′ for them by a special decree from Allah?

Superstition and dilution of Islamic principles with anti-Islamic practices is another common malady afflicting the ′Ummah′ these days. This was brought home to me during a visit to a long-forgotten sister-in-law, a resident of Chittoor. When I arrived at their door-step accompanied by my wife and children, the sisiter-in-law′s daughter came to the door to greet us. But what knocked us all of a heap was this daughter asking us to look at our own reflections in the mirror she was holding and then wash our feet before entering the premises. ′To hell with you and your mirror,′ I felt like hollering at her. But with a Herculean effort I restrained myself, though I refused to look at any mirror or wash my feet, for I couldn′t imagine the logic behind it or the religious sanction for it.

Where on earth is this injunction to be found anywhere in the Qur′an?

Again, there are Muslims for whom Tuesdays are not good enough for any business deals involving the giving of cash. Why, what harm can a Tuesday do? Mustn′t a Muslim believe that any day is good enough for any deed or deal provided you begin in the name of Allah?

Now, matters have come to a head with Muslims going in for Vastu specifications when they want to build a house, which reminds me of an incident where a man, a non-Muslim, lost everything he had after building a house in keeping with Vastu and finally had to mortgage the property with a bank to get out of a debt-trap. But the redeeming feature of the story is that a Muslim bought this property after clearing the bank mortgage and built a house as per his own ideas, and has been living therein happily eversince. So much for Vastu and its aherents.

About the way Muslims squander money over marriages, ′shadi mahals′ and all the wasteful extravaganza the less said the better. One would think that Muslims are forbidden to celebrate marriages anywhere except in shadi mahals and without proper video coverage. Why shouldn′t we perform a ′nikah′ in a mosque? And why shouldn′t we use the money thus saved for some charitable purpose?

But charitable deeds don′t bring in popular adulation.

This reminds me of a ′nikah′ ceremony I attended recently at a mosque. A simple ceremony with no frills, no hassles. No waste of time or money. No after-nikah dinner at the expense of the bride′s people. The whole thing over and done with in a matter of an hour. How refreshingly different from the present-day Muslim weddings! When will our brethren wake up to the merits of a nikah like this?