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Evolving nature of Islam with peaceful co-existence, tolerance, harmony

OpinionEvolving nature of Islam with peaceful co-existence, tolerance, harmony

Islam has been teaching its followers the philosophy of peaceful co-existence, tolerance, and harmony

Islam is the latest and modern religion with its revered Book, The Holy Quran, and its holy Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, both the Quran and Prophet claimed to be the last to be revealed. Islam as a religion always teaches its followers the philosophy of peaceful co-existence, tolerance, and harmony.

The basic tenets of Islam and fundamental principles have been divided into “Huquq Allah” and ” Huquq Al ibad” (God’s Rights and Human rights). These two rights form the basic teachings of Islam. God’s right relates to Tauheed,  Namaz, Roza, Hajj, and Zakaat (Believing in One God, having five-times prayer, fasting in the month of Ramadan, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving the alms and charity needed). Human rights include family rights, neighbour rights, and national rights.

If one practices God’s rights in pure earnest but neglects human rights, he or she cannot enter Heaven until forgiven by the people he or she has wronged.

Islam’s primary source of theory is the holy Quran and its practice is the life of the holy Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, his words and action called Hadith which is next to the Quran revealing the practical implication of the holy Quran with further detailed explanation of the Quran.

The basic source of Islamic Shariah is known as

1. Kitaab means The Holy Quran
2. Sunnah Means Hadith
3. Ijma-e- Ummah means unanimous consent by the clergies of the time
4. Qayas means supposition in the light of above mentioned first three rules.

These four primary rules are to be followed gradually in the matter of Sharia. The first Quran and second Hadith are unchangeable but it has the capacity for multiple interpretations by scholars and clergies from time to time the third and fourth can be changed according to the need of time and state if the renowned scholars and clergies sit together on any current issue or challenge than they can make a unanimous consent as it has done in the time of the second caliph of Islam Hazrat Umar about triple divorce which re-considered later by Imam Ali and finally dissolved by Imam Shafa-i one of the four reformers of the Sunni theology in eight century while Imam Abu Hanifa followed and carry forward the second caliph of Islam Hazrat Umar amendment about instant triple divorce which seems to be different than Quranic way of divorce.

It was not followed in many Muslim countries amongst Shia, Wahabi Salafis, and Shafais only Hanafis clerics in the Indian sub-continent were rigid for that which was abolished by the Indian Parliament a few years back

On a larger scale, Islam is divided into two sects, Shia and Sunni. Shias were supporters of Hazrat Imam Ali and the Ahle Bait those called the family of prophets hence they went against some companions of the holy Prophet but as a sect, Shiaism was established after a century of Battle of Karbala and they followed the Jurisdiction of Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq in Islamic theology who was the mentor of one of the largest following Sunnis imam Abu Hanifa as well.

Islam faced several changes from time to time which we can call religious reforms just like Sanatan Dharma in India whose belief in four Vedas like Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda that also have four major centers as implementing authority of Sanatan Dharma which established by Adi Shankaracharya himself in ancient period located in Sringeri in Karnataka, Dwarka in Gujrat, Puri in Odisha and Joshimath near Badrinath in Uttrakhand. We call them Peeth and their headmaster and guru is called Shankaracharyas.

Islam also had its major Sharia (Islamic Law) reform in the seven, eighth and ninth centuries by its five principal scholars and Jurisprudence we called them Imams, Imam Jafar Sadiq’s Juspridiction called Fiqah Jafria which followed Shias in large in rest of world while Sunnis follow four Imams in different parts of the world as follow,  Imam Azam Abu Hanifa followed by Hanafi Sunnis those are in majority in the Indian sub-continent, Turkey, Afghanistan, Russia, China, the western Middle East, western and Nile River region of Egypt and Central Asia.

Imam Shafa-i was followed by the majority of Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, west of Iran, as well as Sri Lanka and the southern part of India Kerala.

Imam Malik followed in North Africa (excluding northern and eastern Egypt), West Africa, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and the northeastern part of Saudia Arabia.

Imam Hanbal is followed by the people of four cities of UAE Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, and Ajman, and a large minority is found in Bahrain, Syria, Oman, and Yemen among Iraqi and Jordanian bedouins.

These reforms and jurisdiction of Imams were followed in the rest of the world by Shias and Sunnis for thousands of years with small needed reforms and amendments from time to time without any major change but after one thousand years of practice in the eighteen century, Wahabism started growing in the city of Najd presently known as Riyadh. Interestingly, the present rulers of Saudi Arabia have started their keen interest in interfaith dialogues.

Mohammed Ibne Abdul Wahab Najdi reinterpreted Islam in the name of Sharia reform to destroy the local traditions and ethics which were followed socially for ages, hence it took an aggressive shape later to destroy the Ottoman Empire going towards extremism.  Those hardliners went against Sufism, spiritual values, and ethnic tradition calling it nonpermitted, and went as far as to destroy some holy shrines and graves in Mecca and Medina itself.

After complete control over Hijaz, now Saudia Arabia, they implemented the Wahabi sect as a sect of state after 1932 which flourished gradually in nieghbouring Arab countries slowly, but after the discovery of petrol, it flourished in the Indian sub-continent as well due to the financial support of Saudia Arabia and some other Arab countries while the majority of people especially in Silk route countries right from Japan to Indian, Russia, Turkey, and Egypt including European and American are followers of Imams non-Wahabis and have faith in Sufism as well.

The idea is simple – those who follow any Imam whether Shia or Sunni believe in Sufism and those who do not follow any imam do not follow Sufism, they follow Wahabism.

Sufism also comprises four Sufi orders – Qadriya, Naqshbandiya, Soharwardiya, and Chishtiya.   The Naqshbandia order established by Shaikh Bahuddin Naqshbandi in the fourteen century in Bukhara has the largest following in Turkey, Rusian countries, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan, and in the Indian sub-continent is lesser than Qadriya and Chshtiya order.

Soharwardiya order was established by Abu Najib as Suharwardi in Baghdad Iraq in the twelve century and flourished in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and the Indian subcontinent lesser than Naqshbandiya.

Qadriya Order was founded by the Hanbali theologian Shaikh Abdul Qadir Gilani at the end of the eleven century in Baghdad this order has the largest following amongst the Indian ulemas because this order was advocated and followed by a principal Islamic scholar and founder of the Barelvi Sunni sect of nineteenth-century maulana Ahmed Raza khan Barelvi in the Indian subcontinent.

Chishtiya order was founded by Abu Ishaq Shami in Chisht a small town near Herat in Afghanistan in ten century it flourished largest in the Indian subcontinent by Khwaja Gharib Nawaz of Ajmer because of its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness which incorporated local traditions and costumes like qawwali and other ethnic, cultural and traditional things in their literature and hospices.

Islam in Silk Route Countries and the Middle East

Throughout the entire silk routes countries, we can observe the largest following of Imamas in Islamic theology and the following of any Sufi order. The people are mostly from Turkey, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Russian, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia where they lived with more love peace and tolerance rather than the Middle East where extremist groups were born.

Islamic belief foundation on 5 pillars.

Tauheed means saying that there is no God but Allah and believing in the oneness of God.

Salah (Namaz) 5-time prayer which is compulsory in everything from the age of an adult till the last breath without any compromise.

Roza is fasting from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan if you are healthy, not sick, and is considered a sacrifice of your body that purifies the soul.

Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca to perform Hajj if you are healthy and have enough wealth to bear the expenses of Hajj.

Zakaat Alms Charity 2.5% on your total wealth annually if you have enough wealth equal to  525 grams of silver or 75 grams of gold

In all the way of teachings, prayers, and practices Islam means peace which literally means to focus on greetings as Assalamo Alaikum means peace be upon you and the reply Wa Alaikumas Salam peace be upon you too.  It is the universal way of greeting.  The Prophet said to greet each other across different regions without any difference, Islam means equality which is followed by five-time prayers in the mosque.

The author is the founder of Sufi Peace Foundation, New Delhi and author of 'Rumi: the guide and philosopher'. He has taught Persian at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, as a guest teacher.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

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