Empowering people through education and engagement

On Mawlid and Muslims

Azher Quader
Azher Quader, President, CBC 
Ki wafa thoo ne Muhammad se tho ham therey hain
Ye jahan cheez hai kya loh o qalam therey  hain

If you are true in your love of Muhammad then We are with you

This world is nothing; We will give you Our pen and tablet to write your own destiny

– Iqbal

When Iqbal penned this verse on behalf of the Creator, he probably had in mind a state of love and adoration for the Prophet (pbuh) different from the love and adoration we practice for the Prophet (pbuh) these days.  Indeed ours is a celebratory love, that is usually evident  in private parties where we sing his praises, or  in public gatherings  where we assemble to  hear the stories of his awe inspiring life, and more recently  in slogan chanting marches that help create a spectacle of our love  for the media to behold. For if we were to be truly in love with our Prophet (pbuh) our celebratory love would transform itself into a performing love, the results of which would be easy to witness.  Today even with one eye struggling to blink open and look above the sand in which our heads are buried , the sorry state of Muslim life would be  clear to see. Far from the promise of having the power to write our own future, we can hardly keep our present condition from falling apart and being tossed around at the mercy of forces beyond our control.

From Iraq to Morocco, from India to Pakistan, from UK to US our love for the Prophet (pbuh) has sadly come to exist as a one day celebration not a life embracing phenomenon. True love for the Prophet (pbuh) would be demonstrated by a life of integrity and compassion, discipline and dignity, excellence and achievement.  That was what he provided as an example throughout his life.  True love for the Prophet, one would have to agree,   is expressed more through deeds than through words of praise. The insanity of Hollywood love is what we have come to adopt in the community, as our love for the Prophet has become a noun not a verb, where it is a feeling to enjoy not a sacrifice to make. Is it any great mystery then that our condition among the nations of the world and our plight among the people of the planet are as pathetic and as deplorable as it has ever been.

As people of faith and as  vicegerents of Allah we were given a sacred trust to shoulder.  Unfortunately this responsibility we have long abdicated. We have chosen to live lives of indifference and irrelevance. We have decided to  follow the beaten track, the road  more easily travelled, and the path less hazardous for our feet. Yet he in whose love we  gather and march so often,  did  show  us another way.

That was the way he travelled, picking the burdens of people he hardly knew, bloodied by the stones of people who hated him, accepting the  boycott and blockade  of his clan that denied him, standing up for the rights of the poor and deprived while belonging to a community of privileged, keeping true to his promises even when it hurt his own self-interest, unfailing in the pursuit of justice, forgiving his enemies,  demonstrating humility in victory and patience in defeat.

What a way he showed us to live. What a way we have learnt to live. He showed us the way for unity, establishing a fraternity of Arabs and non-Arabs. Today we are divided in the name of language , culture and geographic origins. Our tribalism has  surfaced under new names. Sometimes we  call it ethnic pride, sometimes it goes as cultural diversity. He showed us the power of seeing the big picture, the vision for a brighter future, one that sacrificed the short term for the long term. Yet today we are consumed  with our personal agendas, intoxicated with the gratification of the immediate, indifferent to the realities of the community’s future. He showed us to be fearless in battle, to be fighting fit in war and peace, to raise our arms in defense of the oppressed, the weak and the ones  in bondage. Today we live in fear, threatened by our own inadequacies , abstaining  to march for the rights of others, oblivious of the silent cries of the unborn,  refusing  to speak truth to power, indifferent to the issues that concern our neighbors, ignorant of the plight of the refugees.  He showed us the way to conquer and relent. We have learnt to overcome and dispense justice in the streets by the mobs. He showed us to live as good neighbors. We have learnt to live as strangers, barely acknowledging the existence of our neighbors. He showed us to bear hurt and hostility with patience and endurance. We have learnt to whine and wail   at every thorn that is placed in our path.

Our veneration for the Prophet (pbuh) can ring true only if we are to mend our ways and embark upon a journey of strength, that will follow  the map and markings he left for us to pursue. Our celebrations of his Maulud  can only be meaningful  if we are willing to make the tough choices for building our lives in the image of his life, striving to be undeniably good, to be aware of our individual  selves  and our  surroundings, to grow our capacities to their  fullest, to let go our fears, to become empowered and powerful, to become a  blessing for all humanity.

May Allah guide us to  become his beloved apostle’s (pbuh) true followers.

 Jan 14, 2014
Rabiul Awwal 12, 1435

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