Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Revival of the Islamic Culture

Arabic and the Revival of Islamic Culture

Allah (swt) said:

"And We revealed it as an Arabic Qur'an, that you might gain wisdom"

[TMQ: Surah Yusuf, ayah 2]

Suppose you were a non-Muslim living in a country that had joined itself to the Khilafah's territories. The old taghuti rulers would be gone, allowing the reorganization of the new wilayah (province) in harmony with the political, social, and economic system of Islam. No one would come to your door with a sword to make you quit your old religion; but still, Islam would be all about you in the streets.

Most likely, you'd even notice that it worked. Your new rulers, though Muslim, would be directly responsible and accountable to you; and your taxes probably would be less. Better still, being a citizen of the constantly expanding Khilafah would open new opportunities for material advancement: new jobs and markets, among others.

To take full advantage of these, however, you would have to make yourself skilled in Arabic, the common and official language of the Khilafah. Fortunately, that wouldn't be too difficult: some sounds might be unfamiliar, but the grammar is much simpler than say, English, French, or Latin. With a little luck, you might even become better at it than Arabs themselves, or at least good enough to understand Arabic poetry and the technical works you study to improve yourself.

One day, you might find yourself walking outside a masjid, or through a public place, hear somebody reciting the Qur'an, then realize it is not background noise anymore. It is a reading in Arabic, but not like anything you heard or read before. It reminds you of poetry, yet it really isn't; every word is "just right," making its message equally profound and simple. How could a human being, someone who couldn't read or write, make this up? It had to come from God Himself! And that would be your first step into Islam, something that came about because you saw, heard, and knew that it was true.

In this way, whole peoples found the truth in Islam, one person at a time. It was a slow process-Egypt, for example, lived hundreds of years under the Khilafah before it had a Muslim majority-but it produced the kind of people who could keep Islam working and sacrifice for it when needed, whatever the conditions.

If a Muslim understanding Arabic knew-not just believed, for "belief" always contains a smidgen of doubt-that the Qur'an came from Allah alone, then he or she would know that Allah knew everything about his or her actions and intentions.

And that Muslim would know, just as the sky is blue, that sooner or later, he or she would have to meet Allah, face to face, and give account for his or her brief time on earth, before seeing the stark reality of Heaven and Hell!

And knowing that, it would be strange indeed if he or she did not then live avoiding everything Allah hates, and clinging for dear life to all that He loves, including struggling in His path, "straightening the rulers," and yes, defying them when they go astray.

That is why the Islamic State must make standard Arabic its official language as an essential tool for preserving the Islamic system and doing dawah. Among the worst mistakes of the Ottomans was their failure to appreciate the importance of Arabic among themselves. The results were even more tragic when the Mughal sultans made Persian, then Urdu, their court and literary languages, and not Arabic. (These days, even in Arab-speaking countries, the masses' command of the Arabic of the Qur'an is slipping as local dialects start to predominate: the average Egyptian, we have heard, might understand as little as one word out of three in Allah's Book. It is even worse, unforgivably so, among women, where higher rates of illiteracy tend to prevail. However, this situation is relatively easy to repair.)

Whether born into the Deen or not, Muslims who can't taste the miracle of the Arabic Qur'an miss the rock-solid certainty it brings. They look for it in other ways: possibly doing more salah, saying it "more sincerely," or reciting more "dhikr," whether they understand what they are saying or not. Perhaps too, they try to replace a bond of knowledge with one of emotion: we love Islam because of our parents, our spouses, our shaykhs, or other Muslims. None of these ways really work, because they distract us from the things we really need to be doing to revive Islamic Civilization, and make us depend mainly on ordinary human beings, who aren't prophets and are apt to let us down, sooner or later.

Make no mistake, the new Khilafah will need, right away, many thousands of people, men and women, who can understand and use the basic sources of Islam in their original language-even before it needs scientists and engineers, though Allah knows they'll be wanted, too. They are found most quickly, whether we like it or not, in the present-day Arab-speaking countries; and that is one reason why the nucleus of the Islamic State is best begun, God willing, there.

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