The code of conduct
THIS IS A WRITTEN DOCUMENT PERENNIAL IN APPEAL, RELEVANT FOR ALL TIMES, WRITES TAJAMUL HUSSAIN
‘Wouh zamane mein mouzzaz thei musalman hou kar;
Aur tum khawr huwe taark-e-Quran ho kar...’ [Iqbal]
In the worldly affairs the Civil Service Rules (CSR) is the written document of regulations, and procedures required by a bureaucrat to follow the administrative routines for running government. Unquestionably sacrosanct and inviolable however the CSR command reverence and indispensability in the bureaucracy world wide. The Civil Servant does not lose sight of his crucial guidebook for a jiffy; he ensures it is always handy, within reach, be it on table, rack, and floor or as bed book under pillow. As long as he follows the commands of the CSR he is going to be a successful bureaucrat. His failure to consult the CSR however would tantamount to showing disrespect to the document.
For us Muslims Quran is the guide and the code of conduct. It is a written document that contains rules, regulations and procedures to live life, both this-worldly and that-worldly. Our faith calls for not losing sight of this crucial guidebook for even a second. With all the attributes of being a book that keeps on being the ‘book of all the times’, Quran with all the respect and reverence on earth must be consulted every time people, like their ancestors, plan their strategies in governance, business, family and social issues, wars and international relations.
Our ancestors would refer the holy book continuously and compare themselves instinctively with its every detail too small that had some ramification upon the way they would behave. Quran was the template for the way any successful leader of the Islamic world should behave; he would only be loved and obeyed if his conduct followed this true and straight path. To them ‘respecting’ Quran simply meant ‘practicing’ it. It was the Prophet’s (pbuh) ultimate weapon against Arabs (who were intensely hostile to his doctrine) to be again and again seduced by its sound.
The unearthly, timeless magic about the Quran caused revolution, changed history, altered opinions, thoughts and laws, redefined cultures and civilizations and reinvented laws and constitutions. It churned shepherds (that reared sheep and goats) into scholars of high learning as also of great repute (with hardly any parallel in the world). Arabs who knew/professed only shepherding camels and were largely barbarians, turned into shepherding and changing destinies of humans.
The verses in Quran that must have seemed mysterious and indecipherable for centuries would suddenly glow with an acute relevance in later ages whose outlook has been changed by scientific discoveries and an expanding understanding of the world. In the farewell sermon the Prophet (pbuh) had declared to his people. ‘I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.”
The modernization of the society would involve social and intellectual change. The watchword is efficiency, which means on one hand, to avert religious and spiritual ideals and on the other hand, to embrace the ideals of democracy, pluralism, secularism, capitalism, Darwinism and all that jazz. As the material success of the western world never fails to impress people, unfortunately Muslims too deceive themselves into grasping the notion that modernization, and not the religion, is the need of the hour. As a matter of perception (even belief) we seem to have brought ourselves to the feeling that he who submits in with the complete obedience to the teachings of Quran shall forego the benefits of modernization (worldly luxuries, comforts and all the good things possible on earth). For success, status, advancement and money are too valuable to be risked, rather than placing all of these symbols in jeopardy we have learnt to make compromises (and interpretations) to hang on.
Islam that we practice, is heavily underlined by elements which are accretions of the developments that keep driving the world towards the so called ‘modernization’ and ‘materialism’, and therefore largely contradicts the beliefs and practices to which Muslims are supposed to adhere. In the process of the structural secularization of Muslims (that began with the colonization of the Muslim countries by the imperialist West) Quran and the teachings of Islam have (virtually) been taken out from the framework of law of knowledge, and of power. The fragmentation between the public world (derived from the west) and private world (derived from the Islamic sources) as on date is almost complete.
As the perceptions, beliefs (aqaaid) and actions, both ‘zahir’ (outside) and 'baatin'(inside), grow in conflict and in disharmony with the teachings prescribed in the book the upshot is that, while we do sweetly recite the Quranic verses (even understand their meaning), the feeling does not however brings us closer to the teachings of the book for guidance. The benefits of the modernization and materialistic world being quite attractive and enticing, we won’t always live up to the teachings of the book. In effect we frequently find difficulty in incarnating them in our social and political institutions.
Verily, we have created man in difficulty’; hence the need of revelation.’ Quran, the divine truth, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) aimed at providing solution to the problems of the humanity. We are required to construe the holy book as a sort of Instrument of Instruction issued to man, in his capacity as God’s vicegerent, to enable him to conduct life’s operation (on earth) in such a manner that he is able to succeed in this world and be rewarded of eternal bliss in the Hereafter. The verses are ordained as the ‘code of conduct’ to the humanity in general and Muslim Ummah in particular. The divine teachings are what the Prophet (pbuh) himself (successfully) practiced as 'sunnah' and advised the faithful to follow to become a true Muslim. The example he set has became a pattern book of good manners for entire Muslim world.
Symbolic of using cannon for killing mosquitoes, we hardly make use of Quran to destroy satanic castles and kill monsters living therein. Instead of using it to purify our heart we would recite/write the Quranic verses to cure diseases, to protect from evil and/or swear it upon as witness to affirm truth/solemnity of the promises/statements. In a typical Muslim house, the holy Quran invariably finds itself decorated in the costly wrap up on the 'rihal' (a sort of reading desk formed by two boards crossing each other like the letter X) at the higher elevation on niche of the drawing/living room. As a token of the highest reverence while we do not touch Quran unless we perform ablution, however in the day to day dealings none of us feels like consulting it for guidance. Rather in presence of the holy book, the faithful feel a kind of forced, threatened, and even intruded upon.
Fear and respect for someone/thing have the same meaning, in the sense, that we must care for both, though in opposite ways. When it comes to 'respect' then we also care about and watch ourselves not to hurt our most special ones. We care about both whom we fear and love, but with different intensity. For feared one, it is in the form of hatred/disliking and for respected ones it is in the form of respecting their feelings. Quran is the code of conduct ordained by Allah, the Almighty, for Muslim Ummah to live a successful life both in this world and the world hereafter in eternity. We do respect it but then feel a kind of threatened as well while living our daily life. Having since left consulting Quran in our normal day to day dealings therefore we have lost our glory and say in the world. We keep on facing trouble in perpetuity just because we do not obey its teachings.
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Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 5 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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