WHO KILLED THE “SPIRIT”? By Mohammed Azizat

History will exist to acknowledge without bias that the greatest success recorded in human relationship was among the Muslims of the time of the Prophet (SAW). The fact that this success has deteriorated over the years to our present pathetic relationship- deficient situation, cannot be disputed. It is this despicable transition that marks the beginning of the problems encountered by the Muslims today. After all, it is a common saying that knowing the cause of a problem is half the solution. Whenever Allah addresses the Muslims in the Holy Qurán, He says: “O ye who believe...” He does not address us in sects, tribes or nations. But today when we address ourselves, we always create a dichotomy between conscious and unconscious Muslims, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba Muslims, or even at a larger scope, the Black, the Indian, the American and the Arabian Muslims. Anywhere we find ourselves we must find a means of segregation and as such destroying the spirit that binds us; the spirit of love, the spirit of trust, the spirit of unity, the spirit of brotherhood. The spirit that once filled the hearts of Muslims of old is now replaced with a huge vacuum in our hearts today. Thus leaving the heart bare and to be filled with greed, jealousy, hatred, lust and other ills of the heart, which consumes the body and takes possession of the soul. Unfortunately, this is one of the many problems faced by the Muslims today. Muslims craving for more wealth and material possessions as their priority and neglecting their purpose as believers, Muslims envying other Muslims to a point of hatred, Muslims backbiting one another (eating a brother\'s flesh) without a care, Muslims engaging in unlawful acts and inviting other Muslims to it, Muslims betraying Muslims, Muslims maltreating Muslims, and even more hurtful is Muslims killing Muslims. If we are treating ourselves this way, why then do we expect to be treated any better by non-Muslims? Yet, all of these don\'t seem to bother us. However, this was one of the fears entertained by our beloved Prophet (SAW), when he admonished the people in his farewell speech. He had said: ‘‘...you must know that every Muslim is a brother of every other Muslim and all Muslims are brothers, one of another. Between Muslims, there aren\'t any races or tribes, nor must you love for your brother except that which you love for yourself....” unfortunately, the reverse is the case today. Our every action seem to spell distrust and disunity, which are unhealthy for any relationship...... instead of looking forward to how we can become better, we look around for “who is most righteous?” assessing sisters by the length of their hijabs and brothers by their beards and trousers or both, by the mark of prayers scar on their foreheads and feet when Allah has told us in the Holy Qur’an, Suratul Hujarat (Q49:13)“ .......Verily the best of you in the Sight of Allah, is he who is most righteous. Verily Allah is Most Knowing, Most Aware.” So why have we chosen to make it our duty to judge others, knowing that even we must be judged and final judgement lies with Allah. If the Prophet (SAW) had judged men for their righteousness, then there would have been no population of Muslims recorded. Yet, we all know that the greatest victory achieved in the call to Islam was during the time of the Prophet (SAW). However, the reasons for our actions are not far fetched: the Glorious Qur’an with its inimitable symphony, the very rhythm that moved men to tears and ecstasy among the Muslims of old, is lost amongst us today. We recite the Qur’an in a spiritless fashion, without feeling, without reflecting. We have left the Qur’an and the Sunnah for quotations during Islamic conferences and articles, but we have forgotten to incorporate them into our daily activities. Little do we realise that such were the tiny magic that strengthened the spirit in the hearts of the Muslims; “Prophet Muhammad (SAW) controlled every detail of organisation, judged every case and was accessible to every supplicant. He destroyed idolatry in Arabia, raised the woman from the status of a chattel to complete legal parity with men and effectually stopped the drunkenness and immorality which once engulfed the Arabs. He made men to live with faith, sincerity and honesty, he transformed tribes who had been for centuries, content with ignorance into a people with the greatest thirst for knowledge and for the first time in history, made universal human brotherhood, a fact and principle of common law. And his support and guide in all these works was the Qur’an”. This was the spirit that the Muslims of old inherited. But today, we have neglected that spirit and have abused the privilege to possess it. Little wonder that since we have neglected the spirit, the spirit has in turn neglected us. It is no wonder that we cannot feel anymore, not pain, not love, not even sympathy for our brothers. We are not moved if our fellow Muslims are hurt, wronged or denied their rights, not to mention even to try and defend them. We do not care that while we live in luxury and even ask for more, our fellow Muslims are out there starving and dying of hunger or undernourishment, we do not bother to visit the sick nor help the needy, we do not care to visit the grave yards nor do we render flawless charity anymore or even less, lend a listening ear to a troubled brother. We just move about our businesses, thinking of ourselves alone, and dancing to the selfish motto; “Me, Myself and I”. Thus, we move about like empty souls, driven to paranoia by wariness and suspicions of non-Muslims trying to sabotage Islam. We have created a complex in ourselves such that any action that does not encourage us certainly discourages us. One begins to wonder what happened to perseverance and faith. We spend our time searching in every nook and cranny for any means aimed at sabotaging Islam and as such deterring the progress of Islam; just like races in the Olympic, when one begins to search left, right and backward for competitors gaining on him, he unknowingly reduces his pace as well as his chances of winning. This is our sorry condition today. And when we become tired of searching, we dance to the slogan; “if you can\'t beat them, then join them”, acting like hypocrites and contradicting our values as Muslims. For Islam preaches thus; “if you can’t beat them%2C leave them”. And in Suratul Kafirun (Q109:6) says: “Unto you your religion and unto me my religion”. This simply tells us to indulge only in actions permissible in Islam and shun others that Islam prohibits. If the spirit is dead today, it is as a result of a conscious and an unconscious collective murder by you and I, we are all guilty. The resulting effect however is the weakening of iman (faith), creation of hostility among the people and a total wreckage of the bonds of brotherhood. And now that we begin to experience these repercussions, everyone searches for a solution in his own style, looking upward in a silent plea%20for help, for a miracle. The spirit is still lurking in the dark recesses of our hearts; lets help bring it to light for Allah’s sake, for our sake, before it totally deserts us. The solution to our problem lies within us. “When the time comes and our deeds are told from age to age, may it be said that we were true believers” Mohammed Azizat

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