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Published On:02 June 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

OPINION: Dunyā & Dîn: Inextricably Enmeshed

By Waseem Ahmad

The separation of the two (along with the division of knowledge into ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ categories) is the mother of all evil. There is no other disease. Whatever we see is merely the adverse effects of this separation. This is what has messed up with the priorities and with everything. It is heartening, however, to see that there is increasing realization of this unfortunate separation. A lot still needs to be done in this regard. As we are writing or reading these lines there are countless people who are dividing Dunyā from Dîn. This is being done by the ‘traditionally’ and the ‘modern’ educated alike. Ours is a case of “is ghar ko āg lag ga’î ghar kay charāgh say”.

In many a cases we do not pause and find out what could be the solution that the ‘way of life’ might be offering for this ‘matter of life’. We think that these are ‘non-religious’ matters so where is the need, then, to look for any guidance from the Book or the Path?! We take it for granted. And we are quite sure about it. Any arguments against it seem to be illogical and nonsense, or ‘philosophical’.

The poor-due we have to give on the produce. But tilling the earth and cultivating and harvesting are the ‘matters of this world’. We are supposed to pay Zakāh but running a business to earn one’s livelihood and to be able to pay Zakāh is a ‘matter of this world’ – as different from the ‘religious’ matters. Eating Halāl is the overriding principle of the ‘way of life’ but learning the thousand and one techniques of Halāl earning may not be related to the ‘way of life’. This is our atomistic thinking at its best or worst.

Speaking truth is an express command of the ‘way of life’ but speaking the same in an assembly or parliament is not necessarily related to the ‘way of life’. Seeking knowledge is the prerequisite for discharging the responsibilities of Khalîfah on earth. But acquiring expertise in the available disciplines (leave alone founding new sciences and discovering new laws of nature) is a ‘worldly matter’, not related to the ‘way of life’.

Dispensing justice – irrespective of friends and foes – is among the cardinal principles of the ‘way of life’. But earning the tough qualifications to discharge this ‘obligation’ in order to be in harmony with the Universe does not fall under the purview of the ‘way of life’. It is instead a ‘worldly’ matter which is probably value-neutral. This is axiomatic as the ‘way of life’ is merely to guide us either beneath the earth or above the heavens!

Let us contrast our division of Dunyā from Dîn with the objectives (Maqāsid) of Sharî‘ah, which have been inductively arrived at. These objectives are ‘preservation’ / ‘protection’ of faith, life, lineage, intellect and property. It is worth pondering if we can separate Dunyā from Dîn after knowing the objectives of Sharî‘ah? Is it possible to divide the two even after noticing that the Sharî‘ah seeks to proactively ‘protect’ or ‘preserve’ the said objectives.

The job, however, does not end at enumerating these Maqāsid. It actually begins from there. Now the question that requires more research is how to implement these objectives. This research should also find out the hindrances in this path.

[Wasim Ahmad is Department Head of Islamic Studies, Preston University, Ajman, UAE. He can be contacted at malikwasimahmad@gmail.com or +971505363235]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 02, 2011. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on June 02, 2011. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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