State of Islam in Bangladesh

Javed Ahmad

 

I grew up hearing that Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country where almost 90% of the population is Muslim and the remaining percentage consisting of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. Even today this same information is found in many places on print and online. But what I did not realize then is that the so called “Muslims” in Bangladesh are “secular or moderate” in nature; meaning, they do not follow Islam the way it should be followed.

 

I grew up learning bits and pieces about Islam and tried my best to practice it accordingly. What I did not know then is that the Islam that I have learned is a “partial and secular version” especially designed or evolved for / and practiced in the Indian sub-continent (which includes Bangladesh) only.

 

As I began to learn more about the religion on personal effort, I realized that this religion has survived for centuries in different parts of the world with unique cultural blends, and a “Bangladesh brand of Islam” has also developed over time as a result of disintegration of the Islamic empire that once stood and reigned in the region.

 

Today Islam is an “isolated and personalized religion” culturally influenced according the traditions, language and cultures of the geographical locations of the “Muslim” population. Demise of the once Islamic Caliphate that ruled pretty much the whole world resulted in emergence of secular independent states based on language, culture and local traditions. The only matter that is still common among these evolved states is that the Muslims all over the world still accepts the Qur’an as the word of Allah and Sunnah as the way of life as demonstrated by the Prophet (s) principally in theories only not necessarily in practice fully obeying them.

 

I have heard of something called the “Muslim Brotherhood” (Ummah) but vaguely understood it as I could hardly find in commonality among neither the Muslim nations nor any kind of bonding in place because of the linguistic and cultural differences. I have seen two brotherly segments of Pakistan fought each other on secular grounds causing division resulting in yet another secular nation - Bangladesh. Have not seen any other “Muslim country” interfering or mediate on the matter for peace. Even today I see a “Muslim country” is being attacked by the “Non-Muslim” countries and none of the other Muslim majority country making any stand to defend the nation attached on the ground of Muslim brotherhood. Therefore, the “brotherhood” really does not exist; it is only a myth. In fact, the Holy Qur’an does mention this state of affair with a warning -

 

Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other). But (later generations) cut off their affair (of unity), one from another: (yet) will they all return to Us. (Yusuf Ali translation: Al-Anbiya, Chapter #21, Verse #92).

 

And the definition of ummah is found in the following hadith with only variation that we no longer feel like ‘one body’ –

 

Narrated An-Nu'man bin Bashir: Allah's Apostle said, "You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it."  (Bukhari, Book #73, Hadith #40).

 

I have seen Hizbut Tahrir calling for re-establishment of caliphate around the world including Bangladesh, but majority of the Muslims do not understand what they really mean. The common Muslims are not familiar with the concept of caliphate as the present generation has never witnessed one. Even after 52 years of struggle in this cause the organization could not achieve much in the Palestine where it was initiated or in UK where is it now stationed. They came to Bangladesh with zeal to revive caliphate but went into hiding when the secular power showed their muscles with an iron fist. I have head that most of the top leaders went back to where they came from – i.e., the UK abandoning the mission. But does it mean they have given up? Probably not, because there will always be a group who would continue the struggle –

 

Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: A section of my people will not cease fighting for the Truth and will prevail till the Day of Resurrection. He said: Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their (Muslims') commander would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: No, some amongst you are commanders over some (amongst you). This is the honour from Allah for this ummah.  (Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0293).

 

In my personal observation what I have noticed is that the Muslims in Bangladesh are afraid of Islam, especially when the return of caliphate is chanted, an idea which is totally foreign to them. Comfortably secular, the nation is unwilling and afraid of return of Islam as a “way of life” as they fear that many of their ‘freedom’ would be curtailed and ‘habits’ would have to be changed in order to accommodate with Islamic lifestyle.

 

Bangladeshi Muslims are unable to phantom the equation of how a secular system they are so used to living in be accommodated with an Islamic system with so many do’s and don’t in Islam. For instance, they wonder, if there will be any banking system. If yes, then how can a bank sustain without interest income? Is the Islamic banking system we have today really Islamic? How can an economy function without banks? Will there be any judiciary system in place as we have at present? Will we have a government and bureaucracy as we currently have? Will the international organization allocate developmental funds to our nation if we become Islamic? Will it be on the basis of interest? Etc.

 

Hizbut Tahrir, instead of taking their ‘politics’ into the street like other secular political parties patiently concentrated on educating the masses by showing peacefully how caliphate would work and what benefit it could bring to the population would have had a chance to win peoples support. But that opportunity is now lost as the party has been banned by the government.

 

Most Bangladeshis thinks Islam is for old and retired people. As a result a vast majority joins the ‘retirement Islamic revolution’ while some remains as they were – atheist, apostate or agnostic.

 

The culture here is to live secular all their life not paying any attention to Islam and its practices; then after retirement, we ‘suddenly’ become Muslims, doing serious Islamic studies, research and practices by turning white from top to bottom with white round caps, long grey beards and wearing white pajama and panjabis not missing any prayer at the masjids. But this change remains within self and does not influence other family members or the society. They remain confined with their newly found ‘Islamic knowledge’ as if it a sacred personal treasure that need to kept secret. The family members accept this change as normal with the notion that s/he is old and nothing to do therefore minding religious duties in preparation for the after life. But according to the following hadith, Allah loves the prayers when they are offered as a youth –

 

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Allah will give shade to seven, on the Day when there will be no shade but His. (These seven persons are) a just ruler, a youth who has been brought up in the worship of Allah (i.e. worships Allah sincerely from childhood), a man whose heart is attached to the mosques (i.e. to pray the compulsory prayers in the mosque in congregation), two persons who love each other only for Allah's sake and they meet and part in Allah's cause only, a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah, a man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity), and a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears."  (Bukhari, Book #11, Hadith #629).

 

Therefore, according to the above hadith hardly any Bangladeshi youth will have the fortune as they do not believe in offering prayers until they grow old. Only the young folks attending a madrasa (i.e., Islamic religious school) may earn some rewards as it is mandatory for them to offer regular prayers in congregation. Bangladeshi Muslims do not know that their afterlife ‘accounting’ begins as soon as they hit ten years of age –

 

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately.  (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book #2, Hadith #0495).

 

At an old age, many adopts a strategy to belong to a ‘religious organization’ through ‘masjid or madrasa committees’ as members to keep themselves busy doing something meaningful by controlling the imam and teachers in the masjid and madrasa respectively what to say in khutbas and what to teach (being politically correct); and getting personalized duas from the Friday assembly when the attendance is highest. Our imams too are happy with this arrangement as they feel that their jobs are secured as long as they comply with the committees desires; thus we have created an institutionalized system of ‘paid imams’ in the country that is contrary to Islamic teaching and principles.

 

Many local madrassa trained imams and so called Islamic scholars (ullemas) even misguide people with weird concocted emotional stories that have no connection with the Qur’an and Sunnah. For instance, one of my ex-students was telling me recently that he heard one moulana in Chittagong telling a story to the crowd in a mahfil that Saint Jilani (ra) took up a challenge by the Christians when they took pride on their Prophet Isa (a) could raise a dead but the Muslim Prophet (s) could not. Following the instruction of the Prophet (s) in a dream he set out to prove that not just Prophet Isa (a), a Muslim saint (and obviously the Prophet(s)) could do the miracle in a better way. Therefore, he instructed the dead body to rise in his name and not in the name of Allah! Naujubillh! This incident in Chittagong shows that this particular moulana have no idea what a serious blasphemy (shirk) he has done against Allah by telling this lie to the innocent crowd who are there to learn form a ‘learned scholar’ who is ‘approved by some authority’ to speak in public! Allah will never forgive blasphemy when one associates partners and / or power with Him until s/he seeks forgiveness with full repentance during his / her lifetime. Allah has warned us against these sorts of fake imams and moulanas by saying,

 

And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone…Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: "This is from Allah," to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby… These are the people who buy the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter: their penalty shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped…Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that they deny (the revelation) which Allah has sent down, in insolent envy that Allah of His Grace should send it to any of His servants He pleases: Thus have they drawn on themselves Wrath upon Wrath. And humiliating is the punishment of those who reject Faith.  (Yusuf Ali translation: Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #41, # 79, #86, and #90).

 

As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter: Nor will Allah (Deign to) speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will He cleans them (of sin): They shall have a grievous penalty…Those who purchase Unbelief at the price of faith,- not the least harm will they do to Allah, but they will have a grievous punishment.  (Yusuf Ali translation: Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #77, #177)

 

Those who desire the life of the present and its glitter,- to them we shall pay (the price of) their deeds therein,- without diminution.  (Yusuf Ali translation: Hud, Chapter #11, Verse #15)

 

Nor sell the covenant of Allah for a miserable price: for with Allah is (a prize) far better for you, if ye only knew.  (Yusuf Ali translation: An-Nahl, Chapter #16, Verse #95)

 

Grave worshipping (majar puja) sects in the country are misguiding common Muslims by teaching blasphemy (shirk) when we see people praying at the majar to the dead instead of Allah, bowing down to the grave instead of Allah, etc. Few months ago I went to Sylhet and wanted to offer dua (jiarat) for the dead saint Hazrat Shah Poran (rh). A young man came to me asking me to buy candles and scented sticks that yields nice smell when burned (ator batti) to place at the grave. I told him that I have come to offer my dua for the saint and these materials would not help him anyway. Upon realizing my mind set, he then asked me to buy a copy of the Qur’an and leave it near the grave so that people could read it. I told him that it is a good idea but first I need to go up the hill near the grave to see if one is needed there. Upon reaching the hill I saw plenty of Qur’an copies that are stacked up and only one person is reading one of them. So, I felt no additional copies are needed. When I was coming back down the stairs one gave me a crude look for not walking backward while getting down the hill while other were doing it not to show their back to the dead saint. They think it is a courtesy to do so or else a curse would fall on them. I did not care, and got off normally as I would at any stairs.

 

The care takers at these majar’s try to impose such nonsense on innocent people to get some donations by creating fear. This sentimental blackmail helps them to sustain day after day without doing anything. People think they are doing a great favor to the dead saints being generous but the reality is the so called saint is not benefiting nor does the donor. Rather they are all committing blasphemy by behaving that way. They fail to understand that the all rewards stops upon death of one, even for the saints. All, including the saints hope for some supplements (dua) from someone who is alive. Those dead saints are no longer able to help neither anyone nor themselves.

 

We need to be careful about choosing the scholars from whom we learn about Islam. The best approach is self-study of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Fortunately, now-a-days a new trend is showing that many are forming Qur’an study groups from among the people who live in the same neighborhood. They call it “Halaqa” or private study groups where they read the translations of the Qur’an to understand its meaning discussing the verses among themselves normally in presence of a scholar. Later they proceed to venture into the commentaries (tafsirs) and hadiths (sunnah). One may consider joining such a group if there is one nearby his or her residence to learn about Islam from the original sources.

 

As far as I am concerned, Islam would not be able to make a come back without the total collapse of the present secular system. In other words, the entire secular system must fail in order for Islam to re-establish on public demand as the ‘only viable option’. And if I am not mistaken, the process of fall of secularism has already begun around the globe. We are likely to witness governments after governments going bankrupt and unable to contain its masses from unrest and crisis resulted from inflation and food shortage leading toward starvation and genocides by the armed forces on to its own people resulting in civil wars.

 

Soon, all our ‘secular political and economic geniuses’ would be on the run looking for a secure place to hide from angry public which I doubt if they would find. Their so called allies would show them their backs as they too will face similar problem at their respective countries. The disbelievers (namely the Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists) have declared war against Allah by burning His book “The Holy Qur’an (i.e., Pastor Terry Jones in Florida, USA) and insulting His Prophet (s) by drawing objectionable cartoons (i.e., Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard) and occupied Muslim territories (Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and now Libya) by force under false pretexts.

 

The coming crisis will be global in nature even leading to world war three. Ideally, these reasons should have been sufficient for the so called Muslim countries to severe all ties with the ‘axis of evil’ and join hands together in defense, but we did not see this happen; indicating that all the Muslim governments are secular ‘puppets’ and non-Islamic. By ignoring the matter they are now all standing on the same platform of guilt against humanity in defiance of Allah’s chosen religion Islam.

 

We are living in the Dajjal system for many years now. The ‘person Dajjal’ is yet to appear. Since the underground tunnel beneath the Masjid Al-Aqsa is almost complete, the discovery of the long lost ‘temple of Solomon’ will result in collapse of the masjid any day symbolizing the time of emergence of ‘the Dajjal’ – the one-eyed Jew with magical powers from Israel chained somewhere in an island cave. Therefore, the events of the advent of the prophesized Imam Mehdi (meaning the rightly guided leader) would also follow. A good chance stands that we would witness all of this in our lifetime although some consider it a farfetched dream. Shykh Imran Nazar Hosein, an eminent Islamic scholar from the island of Trinidad & Tobago will be coming to Bangladesh on a two week long lecture tour at the end of the year to share his views on these matters. Try to attend his programs to learn more about these horrific coming events.

 

Those among us who are dying to join a holy war – the ultimate form of jihad, would find the opportunity to do so. And the folks who are dreaming of ‘caliphate’ would also see the prospect of it getting brighter and brighter. Until all that begins to take shape, we need to prepare ourselves – either for heaven or hell.

 

Muslims have been guaranteed success in this life and in hereafter by Allah as explained by the Prophet (s) if they hold on to the ‘rope of Islam’, which is basically the ‘Qur’an and Sunnah’. Both those books are in Arabic, which is a foreign language for Bangladeshis. Therefore, we needed Islamic Foundation Bangladesh (IFB) to translate some of those Arabic books for us into Bangla so that we could learn Islam from them. Bangladeshis shows no interest in learning the Arabic language itself. If we could learn the language, the entire collection of Arabic literature on Islam would have become readily accessible and understandable to us; where as, by giving the task to IFB we are now dependent on them and read only the materials they translate, thus limiting our knowledge seeking initiatives. Not too long ago I met a gentleman who is a PhD graduate from Medina University, KSA who told me that IFB was contemplating on establishing a Language Institute to teach Arabic exclusively. If they really do it then a milestone for the nation could have been achieved.

 

There is another problem in this approach we have taken to learn Islam. The meaning varies when the translations varies from author to author, thus forcing us to read multiple materials on the same topics to understand the overall meaning. Not just in Bangladesh, all the non-Arabic speaking Muslim majority countries have abandoned Arabic adopting dependency on translations of Islamic materials. And we continue to see this trend around the word contributing more on ‘cultural Islam’.

 

I do not remember seeing any student at the schools and colleges I was attending in Bangladesh during my young age taking the time out to offer their obligatory prayers. Nor there were any provision for doing so even if anyone wanted to do it. Making the picture clear that there is no training on Islamic practices in the country alongside the traditional educational system. The situation is same in more organized institutions like the cadet colleges, military academies, etc. Ironically, all these institutions are run and managed by Muslims in an independent so called Muslim majority state! Where as Allah Himself has ordered the Muslims to ‘establish regular prayers’ –

 

Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.  (Yusuf Ali translation: Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #277).

 

Absence of Islamic teaching in our ‘education policy’ is the root cause for empowerment of ‘secularism’ in the country. People attending the secular education system are becoming secular having no touch with Islam whatsoever. On the other hand, we have another group who are educated in Madrasa System learning about local version of Islamic practices with poor foundation in secular learning that could have helped them in finding jobs or become an entrepreneur to sustain. They show entrepreneurships only in formation of more madrassas that are wholly dependent on donations and handouts, thus begging all their lives to keep those institutions going while sustaining themselves. At the same time some corruption has entered into the scene where some folks collect donations in the name of madrassa and orphanages that does not exist; or even if it does, most of those collections go to their own personal use and a small amount for the actual cause.

 

Ideally, what we should have had is a balance of both the worlds – secular as well as Islam. One without the other is incomplete and dysfunctional. It is important for all Muslim to learn thoroughly about the Islamic rules (i.e., shariah) so that they could know in and out of Islamic jurisprudence while maintaining the necessary practices with complete understanding of the religion. Similarly, secular education is needed to prepare for a livelihood for a count down of worldly life as our present secular system is a job oriented setup, a ploy to collect income taxes, which is basically a modern form of slavery for the so called ‘democratically elected’ governments served by willing and supportive slaves.

 

We have had religion based political parties like the Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami that failed to solve our educational problems and come up with this unified policy for the nation. The Muslim League is no longer a political voice, and Jamaat-e-Islami submitted to secular parties supporting their agendas. In other words, the religion based politics have utterly failed in Bangladesh without achieving anything for the Muslim populace of the country despite the fact that the country is Muslim majority!

 

Comparatively, the Awami League (AL) party has served Islam well in Bangladesh even though they dropped the word “Muslim” from their original name (AL was originally established as Awami Muslim League). It was late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who took the initiative of re-establishing the Islamic Foundation in Bangladesh (IFB). Today, his daughter Sheikh Hasina Wazed is advocating for Islam as a ‘state religion’ and even called the country an “Islamic Republic… with 90 percent of its people being Muslims”! (See the reference link below).

 

We also saw late President Ziaur Rahman declared Islam, and not secularism as the foundation of the nation in the constitution; and passionately tried to rejuvenate the Muslim brotherhood with other similar nations. Later President Hussein Mohammad Ershad introduced “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim” (meaning “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, and most Merciful”) in the constitution and declared Islam as the state religion, made Friday the weekly official holiday to facilitate the Muslims to relax and offer the weekly congressional Friday prayers at a masjid, just like it is in many Middle Eastern Muslim majority countries. Most importantly, he also established the concept of Zakat fund to be organized nationally. He was probably the one to introduce the ‘call for prayer’ (Adhan) on TV.

 

What we find common on all the secular Muslim leaders that they used Islam as a political tool to win public support by making it a sentimental issue. None of them however had any interest or desire to establish Islam as a way of life. As such, we did not see any remarkable development in faith based initiatives influencing public life in a positive manner.

 

Bangladesh got what it asked for. The whole nation being secular in nature sought out and voted for secular leaders (male or female) and was content. They never attempted to seek out a true religious minded non-political leadership who practiced Islam in and out and who could transform the nation with Islamic zeal toward Allah. Mr. Mohammad Asaf-ud-Daula, Ex-Secretary of GoB and Ex-Editor of the Bangladesh Today rightly said in one of his lectures when he said, "150 Million Bangladeshis are all confused today" (see the video link below). Therefore, the ultimate result is that a hypocritical nation always got a hypocritical leader.

 

The higher percentage of the so called Muslim population in the country could be questioned because in my assessment, this large majority is just Muslims by name only with no knowledge or practice of true Islam. My reasons are as follows:

 

  1. Majority of the Muslims in Bangladesh do not offer their obligatory five daily prayers in congregation at masjids, which is one of the fundamentals of Islam.
  2. Majority of them do not perform obligatory fasts during the month of Ramadan and those who does, do not offer the daily prayers or the taraweeh prayers, which is another fundamentals of Islam.
  3. On eid holidays they take off for pleasure trips away from their residence and do not socialize with the neighbors as an act of worship helping and supporting each other to make the days joyous regardless of social status, which is the true nature of the eids.
  4. Majority of them do not pay 2% of poor due (zakat) from their total accumulated wealth, which is a fundamental of Islam.
  5. Majority of them bank on interest based banking system mixing riba with their income they feed on, which is prohibited in Islam. There is however a system called the Islamic banking system that has emerged, which basically operates in the same manner as the non-Islamic banks when it comes to dealings with the central bank.
  6. Majority do not know that in order to be a Muslim they are bound with the basic and fundamental declaration of Islam, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (s) is His Messenger” which they are required to believe and obey by following the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (s); but they don’t.
  7. Majority of them takes bribes and gifts in order to carry out their job functions, which is prohibited (haraam) in Islam.
  8. Majority of them do not comply with the Islamic dress codes as prescribed in the Qur’an and Sunnah. They prefer to be modern and Western like.
  9. Majority of the women do not follow the obligatory wearing of veil when they appear in public places, nor their men folks oppose to it.
  10. Majority of them attend co-educational academic institutes which are prohibited in Islam.
  11. Majority of them do not obey and follow the law of inheritance as prescribed in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
  12. Majority do not want to see caliphate to return as a state system as they are comfortable with the present secular system.
  13. Majority of them do not preach (dawah) Islam as they do not know the religion and its practices themselves.
  14. Majority of them do not seek anything from Allah directly through prayers, rather they seek refuge to pir-fakirs (saints), dead or alive following their instructions and not the instructions of the Qur’an and Sunnah thus committing association or partnership (shirk) against Allah by empowering people like us to decide their affairs and actions. Everyday Allah Himself comes down to the lowest heaven to bring with Him all the prayers (duas) made to Him during the falr prayer in the early morning; but alas, only few wakes up to offer the prayer on time and seek favors from Him.
  15. Majority of them go on vacations in foreign countries and do not care to fulfill their obligatory pilgrimage (hajj) when they have the means. Many goes for omrah (short pilgrimage), but ignores the obligatory hajj.
  16. Majority of them hire trained imams to conduct milad mahfil, orosh mahfil, chehlum, chollisha, kulkhani on payment basis where as none of the above rituals are Islamically supported. They are all innovations, therefore bidat.

 

Considering all the points mentioned above, if I now ask what percentage of the population does adhere to all or most of the points above including the five basic pillars of Islam? The answer would be approximately 10%; which reverses the whole scenario proving that the myth of Bangladesh being a Muslim majority country is untrue; in fact it is a Muslim minority nation.

 

Dr. Md. Saidul Islam, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore rightly puts it in his paper ""Minority Islam" in Muslim Majority Bangladesh: The Violent Road to a New Brand of Secularism" (Reference ink given below). If only 10% of Bangladeshis follow the real Islam then only 10% are real Muslims and the rest of us are hypocrites (munafiq) or disbelievers (kafirs) destined to go to hell, isn’t it? Can we call ourselves Muslims by grossly violating Islam? A hypocrite outwardly practices Islam, while inwardly concealing his disbelief (kafir), perhaps even unknowingly. On the other hand, anyone who denies even a single verse of the Qur’an is a disbeliever (kafir). Anyone who accepts part of Islam and rejects some is also a kafir. There is a wide range of definition on who is a kafir in the Qur’an and Sunnah. There is no such thing as partial belief or hide and seek in Islam.

 

Recently in a social gathering, while discussing a related issue, one of the participants remarked, “Amra shob shudhu goru khawa Muslim” (meaning, we are all beef eating Muslims only). Then he went on explaining that there are basically no difference between us and the Hindus in the neighboring India. Socially and culturally we are all the same, even in language (in Calcutta). The only difference is we eat beef, and they don’t! We all laughed at his comments, but then realized how true it is!

 

We need to be aware of some definitions. If a Muslim after accepting Islam denounces it becomes an apostate. A Muslim who calls self a Muslim but do not follow the Islamic practices is a hypocrite. A Muslim who partially believes in Islam and rejects part of it is a disbeliever (kafir). Some more Qur’anic definitions are quoted below collected from Yusuf Ali’s translation:

 

005.044. It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah.s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah.s book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers (Kafirun).

 

005.045. We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers (Zalimun).

 

005.047. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel (Fasiqun).

 

A Muslim is expected to accept 100% of Islam the way it is presented to him/her in the Qur'an and Sunnah; else s/he would cease to be a Muslim. A Muslim, after submitting to the Will of Allah as His slave through declaration of faith does not have any other option but live as per the guidelines of Islam.

 

004.065  But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.


002.085  After this it is ye, the same people, who slay among yourselves, and banish a party of you from their homes; assist (their enemies) against them, in guilt and rancour; and if they come to you as captives, ye ransom them, though it was not lawful for you to banish them. Then is it only a part of the Book that ye believe in, and do ye reject the rest? But what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life? - And on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty. For God is not unmindful of what ye do.

 

There is no such thing as 'secular or moderate' Muslim. It is very much understood that the non-Muslims would not advocate for Islam nor will they welcome any possibility of return of Islam anywhere in the world. But the fact remains, all people regardless of their belief and cultures were safe, secure and free under an Islamic state. History proves it. One just needs to go back to those resources to educate self out of ignorance.

 

003.110  Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in God. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressor.

 

Initially, I wondered why is it so difficult for the reader to understand what I say and accuses me of making ‘sweeping remarks’ when whatever I wrote is well founded information of basic Islamic knowledge. Later, I realized that they are unable to comprehend because they are just Muslims by name and do not know anything about Islam!

 

O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him,- lowly with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth. And Allah encompasseth all, and He knoweth all things. Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship). As to those who turn (for friendship) to Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- it is the fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph.

 

O ye who believe! Take not for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery or sport,- whether among those who received the Scripture before you, or among those who reject Faith; but fear ye Allah, if ye have faith (indeed). When ye proclaim your call to prayer they take it (but) as mockery and sport; that is because they are a people without understanding. Say: "O people of the Book! Do ye disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and the revelation that hath come to us and that which came before (us), and (perhaps) that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?" Say: "Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah. those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil;- these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!" When they come to thee, they say: "We believe": but in fact they enter with a mind against Faith, and they go out with the same but Allah knoweth fully all that they hide. (Yusuf Ali translation: Al-Maeda, Chapter #5, Verse #54 – 61).

 

In Quranic chapter Āli-'Imrān (meaning "The Family of Imran”), Allah talks about death and its consequences; among all the verses, the following verse is interesting as it refers to the believers -

 

O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam. (Yusuf Ali translation: Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #102)

 

The verse is warning the believers that they need to submit to Islam wholeheartedly (not partially) in fear of Allah in order to successfully die in Islam. In other words, there is no guarantee that all Muslim would die in the state of Islam. Therefore if one think ones personal version of Islam is sufficient to get a return flight to heaven, s/he is wrong. Islam must be accepted the way it has been offered to us and demonstrated by the Prophet (s) to us in a complete form. No addition (innovation or bidat) or subtraction (removal or negligence) or substitution is allowed.

 

O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy. (Yusuf Ali translation: Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #208)

 

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path. (Yusuf Ali translation: Al-Ahzab, Chapter #33, Verse #36).

 

Partial submission to Islam would not do us any good and is not going to save us from the hell fire. We need to submit completely to Islam from personal to national and to universal (ummah) level. The following hadith reveals an important matter regarding the sects and divisions in Islam -

 

Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (s) said: The Jews were split up into seventy-one or seventy-two sects; and the Christians were split up into seventy one or seventy-two sects; and my community will be split up into seventy-three sects(Sunan Abu Dawud, Book #40, Hadith #4579).

 

In another hadith he revealed the tip of the sect or group that would be on the right path and become successful among the seventy-three,

 

Abdullah b-Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There will certainly come over my people what came to the children of Israil [sic] as closely as one sandal resembles another, so that if there was any of them who committed fornication with his mother openly, there will appear someone among my people who will commit that. The Israilites were divided into 72 sects and my people will be divided into 73 sects. Each of them will remain in the fire except one sect. They enquired: O Messenger of Allah! Which is that? He said, that one on which I and my companions stand. (Mishkat I, pp. 169-170).

 

Now some may ask what did the Prophet (s) mean by “on which I and my companions stand” mean. The answer is found in his last sermon when he said the following –

 

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.

 

And the last paragraph of his sermon was –

 

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.

 

Indeed he has conveyed Allah’s message to us, and now it is up to us continue to spread the message on his behalf as a continuation of the propagation of this great religion Islam.

 

It is narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Umar ('Abdullah b. 'Umar) that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: Verily Islam started as something strange and it would again revert (to its old position) of being strange just as it started, and it would recede between the two mosques just as the serpent crawls back into its hole.  (Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0271)

 

Over time, Islam has changed considerably as I have discussed above and have become ‘something strange’. Late Dr. Pandit Shanker Dayal Sharma, Ex President of the Republic of India (1992-7) wrote the following poem (originally in Hindi, translated into English by Muhammad Alamgir) about the Qur’an. It should open the eyes of Muslims around the world, especially of the Muslims living in the so called “Muslim majority countries’.

 

The Holy Qur’an

 

The Book of action was changed to a Book of supplication;

The Book that was for study became a Book of recitation;

The Constitution for the living, changed into a permit for the dead;

The Book that contained knowledge came into the hands of the ignorant;

It came to teach how to rule the world, became a mere course in the Madrasah;

Dead nations it came to revive, salvation of the dead is all you prescribe

O’ Muslims, see what you have done to it? Will you not spare a thought for it!

 

If a Hindu can recognize the potentials of the messages of the Qur’an, so can us following the religion of Islam. The ‘secularists’ have tricked us into oblivion for the last few decades. Now it is our duty to make things right as it was and as it should be with our best abilities following the original Islam to belong to the sect that would be successful. May Allah guide us and make us among the true followers of the Prophet (s); amen.

 

References:

 

Hasina wants Islam as Bangladesh state religion: http://www.inewsone.com/2011/04/27/hasina-wants-islam-as-bangladesh-state-religion/46417

 

Islam in Bangladesh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Bangladesh

 

Islam in Bangladesh (2): http://www.globalfront.com/nabic_archive/islam_in_bangladesh.htm

 

State Ideology in Bangladesh: Secularism versus Islam: http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/5/4/4/7/p254478_index.html

 

Background note: Bangladesh: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3452.htm

 

Islamic Foundation Bangladesh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Foundation_Bangladesh

 

“Minority Islam” in Muslim Majority Bangladesh: The Violent Road to a New Brand of Secularism: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/13602004.2011.556893

 

Shykh Imran Nazar Hosein: http://www.imranhosein.org/

 

Not “Women” but a “Men Policy” is needed for Bangladesh: http://javedahmad.tripod.com/islam/men-policy.htm

 

A quick Islamic lesson for the hypocritical secularist bigots: http://javedahmad.tripod.com/islam/bigots.htm

 

150 Million Bangladeshis are all confused today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgHR-gKjMfU&feature=player_embedded

 

The History Of Islam: http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/tt1/tt3.html

 

The Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad (s): http://www.islamfortoday.com/lastsermon.htm

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF A HYPOCRITE (MUNAFIQ): SURAH BAQARAH: http://asqfish.wordpress.com/2009/01/17/characteristics-of-a-hypocrite-munafiqsurah-baqarah/

 

Dr. Pandit Shanker Dayal Sharma: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankar_Dayal_Sharma

 

Dr. Pandit’s poem in Hindi: http://www.yoindia.com/shayariadab/shapatriotic-poetry/quran-a-satire-t64008.0.html

 

Articles about Prophet Muhammad (s): http://www.themodernreligion.com/prophet_main.htm