Sometimes when I look at the state of the Muslims, here and overseas, I feel despondent.  This is because of the extent to which we have in fact drifted from the teachings of Islam.  I heard somewhere that Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) told the Sahabah that for them to enter Paradise, they have to adhere to 90% of Islam; but there will come a time in human history when it would be enough to adhere to 10% of Islam to enter Paradise.  When we look around today at the religious state of the Muslims, again here and elsewhere, one just feels appalled by the extent of the religious degeneration that one sees around one.  The Muslim community in South Africa is going in the same direction as the other communities in this country.  There is very little difference in the social dysfunctional statistics of the Muslim community and those of other communities.  In fact, what we see is that Islam has virtually ceased to be a protective barrier against such social disorder.  A daily read of the newspapers, for example, tells the whole story.  Muslim names are associated with some of the most horrendous crimes in this country.  I have always believed and I still believe that Islam is an important protective armour against social ills for Muslims.  The question that arises is: What has gone wrong?  We have to ask and consider all those factors, both internal to the community and from outside, that have caused this community to degenerate in the way that it has.  In this letter I just wish to consider the spiritual factors, i.e. are there factors or lack of them in Islam that have exposed Muslim hearts to non-spiritual factors that have caused the rapid spiritual decline of this community?

There is a very important principle in Islam, which we all accept.  We believe very strongly that if we pray or supplicate or study or work in Allah’s (ﷻ) Cause, then Allah Almighty responds to all our religious observances by rewarding us, sending Mercy and Graces upon us, forgiving us, and in severe cases granting us repentance.  In other words, every time we observe some aspect of our religion, there is some Divine Response to that.  We do not know the nature of that response.  We only know it might be a reward or Divine Mercies or Divine Forgiveness, or whatever the case might be.  A good example of this is that when we recite one Salah on Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), Allah Almighty sends ten Salawat on us, forgives us of our sins and raises our station.  We accept this with regard to all the things that we do in Islam.  What is the converse of this?  If we, for example, do not recite Salawat on Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), then we do not receive the benefits mentioned.  Those of us who pray, supplicate, recite litanies, work in His Cause, for example, receive a variety of benefits from Allah Almighty.  We believe that.  And those of us who do not do these are punished for our negligence.  This punishment comes either while we are on earth or when we go into the Hereafter or both.

I want to take this a little bit further.  For years, in fact, for centuries, it was the practice of this community to perform certain litanies, Qur’anic recitals and supplications after the fard salah.  This was a common practice in almost all mosques.  Later, during the last century, we sent many of our sons overseas to Mecca and Madinah.  They came back brainwashed to believe that what we did after the fard salah was not necessary or was shirk, bida’ah, haram or kufr.  The result of all of this was that all the religious observances after the fard salah have slowly been dropped, except for a possible supplication.  Let me come back to the principle that I had mentioned.  We assume and many of us believe that when we observe the different religious services after the fard salah, Allah Almighty pours a variety of what is spiritually good on us, forgives us and stores some of these things in our Treasure Houses in the Hereafter.  We accept this like that.  And so, five times a day there was a major Divine Response of a variety of Divine Goodness from the infinite variety of Divine Oceans of goodness; all for us.  Five times a day this outpouring took place, and with that was forgiveness and storage for us in the Hereafter.  And now that these observances are not being done anymore after the fard salah, what now?  All those spiritual benefits that we used to receive five times per day are now all gone; totally gone.  Are we still prepared to ask: “What has gone wrong with this community?”  Under the influence of people trained in the Wahabi discourse, we have thrown part of our religion away.  It is not only the spiritual consequences of this, but also the social consequences.  We ask our Lord for guidance, amin.

[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]

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