Where are the Shaykh Ahmed Deedats? The Moulana Abdul Aleem Siddīqīs? And the Professor Fazlur Rahmān Ansārīs of Today?
Da’wah Dimensions by Shaykh Faheem of the Islamic Lifestyle Solutions
Many will recollect as young folk, the tenacity and vigour on exhibition by the likes of the late Shaykh Ahmed Deedat as he diffused the arguments of the opposing proponents with relative ease and a panache which gained him much acclaim to this day. Others will recall the exhilarating experience of being present for discourses by the late Moulana Abdul Aleem Siddīqī whose wisdom captivated even the academics of his era. Many can recall the mesmerizingly academic depth of knowledge propounded by Allāmah Professor Fazlur Rahmān Ansārī from the podiums of the many universities he visited.
Forward the clock to the modern age and the realization is that we are dwarves in the shadows of those giants in the field of Da’wah. One has to wonder, what has become of the Muslim world today? And who will take on the mantle left by the great scholars of the past? These are questions to which we may never be able to answer right now. Unfortunately, the world of Islām is stagnant at best…primarily because we have forsaken the pursuit of Islāmic education with the zeal it was once persevered. Nowadays, we seem to be more involved in the business of ridicule rather than rectification of the self. Sadly, extremism seems to have encapsulated our hearts, and instead of pursuing the mission of “Da’wah” to spread the religion of Islām, we are far too busy issuing verdicts against our own brethren!
This brief essay is an appeal to those who are dissatisfied with the modus operandi of others who cannot speak a sentence unless it is to ridicule another Muslim, and in the process, to arrogantly claim an “All Rights Reserved” attitude to Islām. This essay is an appeal to those who are frustrated at the ‘state of Islām’ and who want to inject positive change via the pristine teachings of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ because if we continue on this trajectory of trouble-making at every given instance, how then will we inspire the youth of today to take on the mantle of the Ahmed Deedats? The Moulana Abdul Aleem Siddīqīs and the Professor Fazlur Rahmān Ansārīs of tomorrow?
If you share my enthusiasm for wanting to see a better, more beautiful approach to the religion of Islām, then we must begin with an Islāmically academic approach to the Qur’ān and Sunnah, of course within the parameters of the four schools of fiqh, as theirs is a tried and tested system which has passed the acid test over the centuries since its inception.
If we want to aspire to inspire, then we must acknowledge that there is a need for a deep-rooted critique of the current Islāmic education systems out there, and whilst critics are a dime a dozen, critiquing is effortless, but creating change requires effort. So my advice to all those who support the idea that there is definitely a need for change, to also look deep within themselves and ask the question as to what are the solutions to these problems?
For instance, it is relatively easy to critique a Darul Uloom from the outside, but has anyone taken the time to know the struggle it takes to keep the doors of such an institution open? It is easy to critique a madrasah, but are we also willing to empty our pockets to provide the ‘professional’ service we covet? Unfortunately not! You see, it takes two hands to clap, and whilst it is easy to recognize and acknowledge these shortfalls in the Islāmic educational systems, the reality is that until the people do not come forward with their support and expertise, then moving forward in a positive step seems like a fairytale.
Right now, at this very moment, there are uncultivated Ahmed Deedats, Moulana Abdul Aleem Siddīqīs , and Professor Faluz Rahmān Ansārīs out there, and they just don’t know it, because the flame of that realization has not been lit in their hearts and minds yet, and all it needs sometimes is a little spark, in a small way, and who knows where that burning desire will take them in their quest to spread the religion of Islām? Could that spark be you? Could your actions spark into being the next great leader of the Muslim community? Could the beauty of your character or kindness of your actions give a spring of new life in the cold hearts of winter today? I believe so! I believe that within each and every one of us is the capacity to aim high and become beacons of light and hope for others as long as we remain sincere, subservient and in sublime surrender to the will of God Almighty!
So where are the Ahmed Deedats, the Moulana Abdul Aleem Siddīqīs and the Professor Fazlur Rahmān Ansārīs of today? They are nowhere, yet everywhere! But like the flower whose way to the rays of the sun is blocked by many other obstacles, they cannot blossom unless we nurture them with the light of the Qur’ān and water them with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ!
So what is it going to be? Break the flower at its root with all the negative rhetoric by telling the young minds about everything that is ‘wrong’ with the Islāmic educational systems? Or nurture the flower to blossom into a floriferous garden of hope for the future of Islāmic knowledge and Da’wah for all? Choose wisely, for the future depends on it!