(Surat al-A’raaf: 144)
For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise,- for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and great reward.
This article was written by Shehzada Dr Aziz bhaisaheb Qutbuddin in 2014.
The verse in the Quran, quoted above, states that those Muslim men and women, those Mumin men and women, the devout men and women, those honest men and women, those patient men and women…these men and women have been promised Allah Ta’ala’s reward. We are Mumineen – Dawoodi Bohras who recognize and follow the 53rd Dai, Syedna Qutbuddin, as the representative of the successor of Rasulullah, the Imam. We are first and foremost Muslimeen – those who pray the kalema and practice the Shari’at of Islam. In the Da’aim ul Islam, Syedna Qadi al-Nu’man states that Imam Mohammed-ul-Baqir drew two circles, one inside the other. Then, he said that the inner circle is Iman – heartfelt sincere belief—and the outer circle is Islam. He added that those inside the sphere of Iman are also necessarily in the sphere of Islam. Every Mumin is a Muslim, but not every Muslim is a Mumin. Islam is the verbal acknowledgment (iqrar) of the Unity of Allah Ta’ala and the Prophethood of Mohammed Rasulullah SA. Iman is this acknowledgment and the ma’refat of Rasulullah, his Imams, and in particular, the living Sahib-uz-zaman. In his qasida-autobiography, Syedna Taher Saifuddin states:
In many of his waseela’s and prayers, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA prayed that ‘O Allah, keep the tree of Islam ripe and robust so that it may bear the fruit of Iman’. We must be conscious and aware of our identity as Mumineen. That is what defines us. However, we must also be conscious that we are Muslims. We are Muslims who utter the Shahadat. We are Muslims who adhere to and practice the Pillars of Islam. We are Muslims to follow the teachings of Rasulullah and the Imams. In this day and age when fanaticism and radicalism have taken grip in many parts of the world, we must recognize and pride ourselves that we have been guided by our Imams and Du’at to the ‘middle path’. This means that we must be firm in our beliefs and in adherence to our principles, and at the same time be respectful and tolerant of all communities and peoples. This has been the philosophy and practice of the Fatimid Imams even when they were the political rulers of Egypt and North Africa; this philosophy and practice has been continued during the time of seclusion by the Du’at Mutlaqeen.
Our Du’at have taught us to maintain and practice our faith and at the same time live peacefully with communities of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews. We have lived in India for over a millennium and are a community known as a peace loving community. The pillars of education, moral values and piety that have been consolidated by the Du’at over the centuries define us as a community today. As Muslims we empathize with our brethren who are suffering due to external aggression or internal radicalism. Our hearts and prayers go out to them. We must also do what we can to alleviate their suffering. In this regard Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin has contributed financially to four humanitarian organizations undertaking work in areas where Muslims are suffering, and encourages those who can afford it to follow in his path(see article “Support & Prayers for Muslims in Suffering: Syedna’s Contribution and Shortlist of Supported Organisations“). We must also battle the forces of radicalism that are attempting to take control of our community. Their stance against education – particularly education for women, their use of pressure and oppression to rule, their isolationist policies and their ‘do this or else’ approach bodes ill for our community. If there is still doubt in people’s minds, this departure from the philosophy and practice of the Imams and Du’at is a clear indication of the misguidedness of those who have left Syedna Qutbuddin, the true successor of Syedna Burhanuddin. For those who do not believe in this radicalization but are maintaining silence because of fear or social concerns, it is important to consider that such a behavior simply emboldens the radicalists. Look around you. Do you really identify with this radicalization? Do you wish your children to grow up in such a community? Do you not bear responsibility to stand in support of Syedna Qutbuddin when he battles these forces for the sake of the community and to safeguard its identity and soul?