(Amiral Mumineen SA)
Adopt the best of everything
Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA often said, “I have lead my life according to the traditions and guidance of our Awliyaa’ Kiraam.” We strive to apply their traditions and sayings in all aspects of our lives. These traditions serve as the code code that direct our moral and spiritual compass and it is the basis on which we make our life’s choices and decisions. These traditions define our identity.
But in addition to following their traditions, which are the core of our moral code, our Hudaat Kiraam also encourage us to “adopt the best of everything” (khuzu min kulli shay’in ahasanahu).
When a Mumin who had travelled to Germany to study medicine returned to Mumbai, he came to do qadambosi of Syedna Taher Saifuddin. After he did salaam, Aqa Taher asked him in detail about his daily routine in Germany and about the culture and tradition of the Germans. The student talked about many things including the discipline with which the Germans followed traffic rules, stopping at a red light even late in the night when very few cars were on the road (which was quite astounding relative to the prevalent practice in Mumbai traffic at the time). Syedna Taher Saifuddin referred to this example many times in his sabaqs highlighting the importance of discipline.
Our community is a trading community and our Hudaat Kiraam encouraged Mumineen to travel far and wide to seek their livelihood. That resulted in many Mumineen settling in new places across the world. In this context, our Hudaat Kiraam have emphasized the importance of maintaining our identity as a Mumin and at the same time adopting all that is good in the culture and country we live in. There are some who talk of total assimilation – fully adopting the host culture while forgoing one’s identity— and there are others who promote isolation – being completely introverted and always maintaining a distance from those around us. Our Hudaat have always encouraged a balanced approach: maintain your identity but espouse all that is good from those around you.
In today’s world, one does not need to immigrate to a distant country to mix with different cultures. With the forces of globalization, we are exposed to different cultures and traditions especially through television and the internet. The solution is not isolation – globalization is all around us no matter where we are. The solution is to be conscious of our values and identity, and to espouse the good practices and traditions that we see around us. This is what we need to practice. This is what we need to teach our children.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the strength and inspiration to appreciate and maintain our values and traditions and to discern and adopt the good practices around us. May Allah Ta’ala grant longest life to our Dai, Syedna Fakhruddin TUS, who guides us to the middle path, away from the extremes of total assimilation and isolation.