Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Madrassa is the Fortress of Islam

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتقين

The socio-political trajectory of Muslims in North America is worrying from my purist and apocalypticist perspective. The danger of assimilation cannot be overstated. Muslim organizations in this part of the world have largely embraced participation in the system and within local communities. They tend to argue that if Muslims do not become more involved an in the affairs of the ‘host society’ they will be vulnerable. It is true that right-wing forces pose a serious threat to us, but their aggression has the unintended consequence of a returning back to identity on our part. Identity is critical for us, otherwise no matter how personally pious a Muslim is, his offspring will inevitably have no connection to Islam whatsoever. The public school system has thoroughly engineered the ‘millenials’ into having a secular and perhaps even Eurocentric worldview. Agnosticism and a negative view of religion prevails among this corrupt generation. Millions of young Muslims are on the verge of apostasy because our community made the devastating mistake of trying a carve a place for themselves in the host society. I draw your attention to isolationist communities like the Old Order Amish and Haredi Jews who have, to a large extent, maintained their identity and cohesion of their respective communities precisely because they reject integration into the secular world. At this juncture, our community has to decide whether they want ‘progress’ or ‘identity’. The former, understood in Eurocentric terms of course, cannot possibly go hand and hand with the latter. The religious revival of the late 20th century has by now suffered ‘burnout’. A large portion of the blame for this lies squarely on the shoulders of violent extremists and those groups which expended efforts to spread the toxic ideology which motivated them. They drove nominal Muslims toward greater irreligiosity and loss of attachment to their Muslim identity out of embarrasment or genuine skepticism of Islam. It is no secret that the leadership of the Muslim community in North America was, and to still extent is, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. In Europe, the now disgraced Tariq Ramadan, was largely responsible for promoting greater socio-political participation and was the most ferocious opponent of traditionalism and isolationism. Like Tariq Ramadan, the reputation and credibility of other major, mainstream religious leaders within the community have been irreparably damaged by allegations of sexual misconduct and corruption. This too is a factor in driving the youth toward suspicion of religion. It is obvious to me, then, that we are heading toward a phase of extreme irreligiosity. Allah says:يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا  “O you who have believed! Save your souls and your families from a Fire” (Sura 66:6). As soon as an individual has rectified himself and latched on strongly to his Muslim identity, he has to start expending effort to ensure his family, including his seed, are also rectified and set upon the Straight Path leading to deliverance from fire. I say it is absolutely imperative Muslims not register their children into the secular public school system. At present, the Madrassa is not simply an institution to produce Ulama – now it has become vital for protecting the next generation from apostasy. Yes, the traditionalist Madrassa is the fortress of faith in this era, but only so long as it maintains its traditionalism and fundamentalism. It is true that the majority of these Madaris may be affiliated with and actively teach the heresies and innovations associated with the Deobandi – Hayati sect. As dedicated Muwahhidin we have to patronise our own network of religious schools and mosques, but some of us may not always have the priviledge of living in a locality with easy access to our own institutions. I of course encourage Hijra to such localities where monotheistic Islam is vibrant. But for those who are unable to do so due to various circumstances, they have to cling to whatever they can to reinforce religiosity otherwise they will become like lost sheep.

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