It was a gathering of around 70 chosen ulema-e kiram, organizers, coordinators, teachers, and muftis, which was presided over by the experienced head of the federation who is the honor of the religious scholars and a guardian of the values of knowledge and practice of our bygone generation of scholars. He is our leader, guide, mentor in any catastrophe; a person with great insight and eloquency, who has been gifted with the power of capturing his audience.
These men had sat with the sincere intention of solving a serious problem. They had to find out how to end the continuous attacks being made on madaris of the righteous ulema. In just a short time hidden forces have blown out precious lives and emptied many seats of knowledge. Before the effects of the last tragedy wear off, another one comes along.
At each new disaster the government announces to look into the matter without delay, news of stepping up security arrangements are heard, claims are made to deal the criminals with an iron hand, some arrests are made through which high claims to catch the wrong doers are made. But as soon as flamed emotions calm down and the effected invariably become engaged in the business of daily life, silence reigns. No sign of the iron hand or the criminals. This is the time when the hunters go out to seek fresh prey.
If the present trend continues and targets keep falling the time is not far when there will be no one left to aim at. Gatherings of knowledge and wisdom will be no more; institutions will be deserted, an end to respectable teachers and students. But the question is how to stop this chain of events from becoming longer and longer. Through public protests and strikes? No! Sabotage and destruction of property is not allowed in Islam, neither is it according to the dignity of the religious leaders. The prevailing ‘strike culture’ is a way of playing right into the ands of terrorists and the enemies of Islam. First they make their hit next they also manage to create an unfavorably insecure environment in the city or country. And then how can it ever be allowed for someone to pay another’s dues? Unseen hands do murders and innocent businessmen, daily wage takers, and workmen pay the price. The harassment created by burning cars, shops, barrows; the torching and fighting, form very negative ideas about the honor and importance of religion and the religious in the minds of the public. Many a time protests were blown out of proportion by infiltrators posing as sympathizers among the lines of the ulema and their activities were unfairly written down as the doings of the scholars.
Jamia tur Rashid……….the institution whose teachers and employees were bombed where one of the servers of the Jamiah imbibed the drink of martyrdom and the rest were severely injured. No one knew how many out of them would also join the sacred caravan. The scene of the crime was pretty terrifying. At such times inflamed emotions, road blockades, screaming declarations, and damage to property are part of our national temperament. Accordingly the police and Rangers were waiting for the protests to begin so they could start their counter tactics. But they were doomed to disappointment when they saw that the injured were being transferred to the hospital without any panic at all. It took the shortest possible time to pray over the martyr at which time exemplary discipline could be seen. This student who had the good fortune to attend the funeral prayer could not help noticing that not a sound of speech or even sigh came from among 12 or 13 hundred people offering the prayer. An odd and amazing silence prevailed. After the rituals the students and teachers went about their day’s business of teaching and learning “Qaal Allah wa qaal ar Rasool” (Said Allah, and said His Messenger).
So what should be done if not protests and strikes? Sabr (steadfastness and patience)? ……. Yes! Sabr! And that is best for the patient. But sabr does not mean cowardice, helplessness, or turning your back on your trouble. Sabr means to remain steadfast in your actions despite difficulties and problems. The people with steadfastness do not let anything come in the way of their aims, they are not disheartened or discouraged, and they do not act hotheadedly in uneasy times. No, they remain firm in their stride even if all Hell is let loose. They never negotiate with Wrong nor give up their ethics and principles. This is sabr that triumphs the minority over the majority and the weak over the strong. The fruits of this sabr are not immediately apparent but the sabireen are never oblivious of their own accountability, their own weaknesses, and their enemy’s designs. They try to figure out their plans and then think of counter-plans.
The 70 men sat there together. They were all from the sabireen. Quite frankly, they examined their shortcomings, stressed the importance of unification, felt the need for resurrecting the values of their ancestor, and scrutinized the campaigns of the colonial powers.
During the meeting a respected participant told of an incident. On the face of it, it was a common enough occurrence but the meaning behind it alerted the members.
He said that the previous night the police had arrested one of his very religious relatives from his home. The neighbors followed him to the police station and tried their best to convince the TPO of the innocence of this man. They said that such a pious and bearded man could hardly break the law. The majority of the neighbors too were religiously minded. The TPO heard what they had to say then he calmly said, “Just wait five years, after that you will not see a single bearded man h in this country”
This uttering of the TPO could have been ignored as a mere assumption and personal opinion had it not been that the same sentiments had been expressed a short while back by a leading politician of our country, whose statements are usually seen as unofficial reflections and ideas of the government itself.
We do not think it possible that a Sunnah of RasulAllah Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam, madaris, or religious scholars can be eradicated from a country made in the name of Islam. But this is a moment of reflection for the common Muslim who loves Islam to take note of the storms of dangers facing his religion and the religious scholars. There is a need to strengthen your lines, to pick out any weaknesses, to pull down walls of prejudice, to create awareness of the progress of religious schools in people from higher classes and journalists with a pious bent, and to deepen our roots in the hearts of the common man.
If we fail to do this we might have to face the storms sooner that expected.