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Blame it All on Muslim Indian Masses

Recently I wrote an article on the psychology of rapists and murderers during Hindu-Muslim riots in India. I held the hateful philosophy and propaganda of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) responsible for this behavior on the part of the so-called Hindu rioters. People act in this brutal way because they have been fed the ideas that their victims deserve rape and murder. However, I also appreciated those among Hindus who do not show this type of hatred and show kindness and humanity in their behavior.

Some of the responses that came from intelligent and educated Muslims were surprising. Many of them held the Muslims responsible for this behavior of rioters. They implied that if Muslims are being killed, raped, maimed and destroyed, it is due to their own attitude and behavior. How could they hold responsible for a nine-year girl gang-raped by the mob for the crime committed against her? How could they point their fingers at the 70-old-man who was dragged from his bed and stabbed to death and say that he deserved that? Yet they blamed Muslims for this behavior on the part of RSS rioters. This is exactly what and how the RSS and Hindutva parties argue. “Muslims are responsible for what they are getting it.”

Not very long Muslims in Bosnia suffered the onslaught of fascist forces even though they were very educated and well-integrated in the society. They were described modern, yet when the fascist forces took their guns out, none was spared. Women were gang-raped and genocide became the norm.

The argument that Muslim poverty or illiteracy is responsible for violence against them is as absurd as anything can be.

No Muslim girl would ever wish to be gang-raped and no Muslim elder would ever desire to be stabbed to death. Those who hold Muslim masses responsible for this violent behavior on the part of RSS goons are unkind to Muslims and seem to entertain a grudge against their own people. They fail to comprehend the weaknesses of their argument and consequently, they point their fingers at the masses with whom not many are willing to identify. Moreover, they also deny the existence of fascist forces that unfortunately have tried to usurp the dignity of a great majority of Indians in the name of their ideology of racial superiority. They are oblivious to the presence of people who have their specific agenda to destroy everything that their opponents hold dear.

Muslim masses cannot be blamed for the conditions they live in. The often-quoted verse of the Quran, “Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they change themselves,” is relevant to understand the plight of Muslims. Muslims did not choose on their own conditions in which they have been forced to live. They could have changed their conditions if given the opportunity. But, they were pushed to live in these conditions with ideas that have been promoted since long by a special group of people that identify itself as religious scholars or clergy, an obscurantist destructive force that mesmerizes the masses with its stagnation and retrogression. One must make a distinction between scholars and pseudo-scholars. A true scholar cannot promote stagnation and the status quo.

Majority of Muslims in India are poor, illiterate, uneducated and mostly deprived of basic rights that other Indians enjoy. They live in ghettos, slums, and dirty enclaves. Unhygienic conditions are present in their homes and localities. They lack discipline and organization and a sense of identity. A vast majority of them earn less than $2.00 a day.

But, somehow, they have been convinced that it is the will of Allah to let them live conditions they live. They have been told that poverty is the essence of their faith. We were not born with this idea. We are taught this idea by none than those clerics who claim to have the knowledge of our deen. Don’t blame Muslim masses for the faults of clergy that has often betrayed the masses and misinterpreted the faith.

It was this clergy that opposed the Muslim entry into modern education. It is this clergy that described the proponents of modern education heretics. It is this clergy that erected walls of traditions to perpetuate the illiteracy among girls. It is this clergy that bifurcated knowledge and took a stand against science and technology. It is this clergy that opposed everything that human beings invented on the basis of divine laws embedded in everything. When the microphones were invented, it called it a satanic invention. When television was introduced, it took a stand against it. When cameras were invented, it spoke against it. At every turn of human progress, it took a stand that betrayed common sense. It is this clergy that under the pretext of serving God issued decrees that child marriages were justified and that Muslims do not have to seek this world as their reward was in the hereafter. It is this clergy that gave them short cuts for everything without even explaining their religion. It is this clergy that pushed Muslims into a world of customs and traditions that has no relevance in faith.

This clergy were brutal in the propagation of its ideas. It divided the community into sectarian and factional lines, concocted lies about God and his messenger and justified the killing of fellow Muslims in the name of God. It did not allow the masses to grow on their own on the basis of their understanding of divine guidance. Anyone who opposed their ideas was declared heretic and was immediately consigned to hellfire.

The irony is that Islam does not justify the institution of the clergy. Yet it forced its entry and institutionalized itself by quoting the Prophet that scholars or clerics are the heirs of the Prophets.

If you have to blame anyone, blame this clergy for its most repressive and retrogressive role in the community. However, one must understand that not all clerics and members of the clergy promoted these ideas. There were exceptions.

Muslim masses do not have the education or training to verify everything that the clergy tell them. They follow leaders like sheep because this is how the leaders have told them, God, wants them to behave.

If this clergy communicate and broadcast the real message of Islam, the message of progress, equality, peace, cleanliness, love, kindness, and education for all and economic and financial excellence, rather than focusing on divisions and myths, it might have inspired people to a brighter future. Instead, it taught the masses, not only to be stagnant but also to be content with its stagnation. The clergy asked the masses to follow the scholars of their sects who lived a thousand years ago without empowering them with a Quranic world view, that is the essence of Muslim identity.

There were scholars who challenged the status quo and who wanted Muslims to be liberated from the shackles of outdated ideas of that clergy, yet they could not bring about changes as they were either declared non-scholars, or deviants or elevated to a position of reverence and celebrations. As long as the Muslim clergy remain in the forefront in providing leadership to Muslim masses at every level, things are less likely to change. They are in the forefront for the last 1,000 years and the results are well known to us.

Muslims with modern education, by and large, lack a clarity of their own vision of faith and they ultimately rely on the opinions of the clergy to take a position on almost every issue including the extent a girl can be exposed to modern education. On every issue such as the collection of zakat, usage of zakat, or amount of resources spent on sacrificing animals or even doing relief work, the educated Muslim class is dependent on the clergy either to approve or sanction their work. This class has lacked the ability to provide alternative leadership.

But the moment you start questioning the role of this clergy in the downfall of the Muslim community in India or elsewhere, you would be blamed as either atheists or ignorant of religion or an agent of any external entity or just a trouble maker. The clergy has elevated itself to a position of untouchability. No one can question and criticize it, a position that Brahminism imposed on Hinduism in its five-thousand-year-old history of repression in the name of knowledge and dharma.

If we really want to see a change, we have to work to create a group of people who are educated in modern sciences with a grasp of the Quranic world view and the prophetic methodologies of change. We have to create institutions that would usher Muslims in the new era with forward-thinking, relying on the divine message of the unity of humanity.

We cannot simply say that Muslim masses are responsible for their plight. They are innocents who have been exploited in the name of God, the Prophet, and religion by a class of people who claim that they are holier than all. The Quran is meant to liberate the masses from all shackles, but the clergy have chained them with ideas that deny easy access to the understanding of the Quran.

It is in this situation of vulnerability that the fascist forces us to play their game of hate and revenge propagating myths and misunderstanding against Islam and Muslims. Regardless how educated and modern we become, the fascist forces would not change their perspectives because the evil they perpetuate creates around them a thick wall of darkness that does not allow even a small ray of light to penetrate.

So our task is to recognize these forces of darkness while simultaneously working for change. But the change that we are seeking would not come because the major obstacle of change lies in a world view that is dictated by the clergy that believes in the supremacy of its arrogance and egoism. It is a time to critically examine the practices of our so-called clergy in presenting the divine religion to the masses.

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© Aslam Abdullah