The Path

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar radiyalaahu anhuma had mentioned, "Whoever wishes to follow the way of another, should follow the ways of those who have passed away. These were the companions of Muhammad sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, who were the best people of this Ummah. Their hearts were most pious, their knowledge was deepest and they were least pretentious. They were people whom Allah Ta'ala had chosen to be companions of His Nabi sallalaahu alayhi wassalam and for the transmission of His Deen. You people should emulate their character and mannerisms. By the Rabb of the Kaabah! The Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam were correctly guided."

Friday, 19 April 2013

A Letter from Japan (Part 2)

Munjuwabin Mandir

Some Buddhist elders joined us in our stay at Enzan. One of them was from Munjuwabin (Monjyuin or Monjuin), a monastery on the  Yamanashi Mountains. This Buddhist priest once sent a letter addressed to Haji Umar Mita wherein he invited the jamaat to spend the next months' 3 days at Munjuwabin. We accepted the invitation. During the course of the following month (August) we proceeded with a jamaat of twenty Muslim and non-Muslim individulas. The Buddhist priest received us at the railway station. From there we proceeded by car to Munjuwabin. Both sides of the road were covered with widely scattered grapevines. The cars were stopped at the foot of the mountain. Here the priests' followers entertained us with tea. Thereafter, we climbed the mountain on foot.

The monastery is situated on the peak of the mountain. It consists of two temples. One is a Budhist and the other a Shinto. Our host was the trustee of both. We stationed ourselves in the Shinto temple because it has no idols. The monastery is nestled in beautiful natural sceneries. In front is a mountain range which was snow-capped even in August. The crystal clear ponds of water with beautiful fish, trees laden with fruit and the soothing sound of small little waterfalls captivated the heart.

Our programmes were conducted as usual. Our host and his wife went out of their way to entertain us. They performed solah with us and participated in all the other programmes.

In Japan, "Jute" is a ceremony held to serve tea to a very special and honoured guest. The wife of our host organised one such ceremony in our honour. The details of this ceremony is a subject on its own.

The next day, during the course of our ta'lim, our elderly host expressed his desire to accept Islam. This was our first experience where a religious leader was prepared to accept Islam in his own temple. Our amir immediately engaged himself in solah. He requested me to handle the situation. We experienced mixed feelings on his desire to accept Islam. On the one hand, we were happy with his acceptance of Islam. On the other hand, we feared that it may cause a stir amongst his followers. We desired his recitation of the kalimah secretly so that nothing unpleasant develops. I told or host, "You are already a Muslim because of your conviction that Allah Ta'ala is one and Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam is His final prophet. There is no haste in reciting the kalimah as a custom in front of others. It can be done at some other time."

Our host replied, "First listen to my experience. A spirit came to me exactly three months ago. It informed me that some spiritual people are coming from the Himalaya Mountains to your temple. You should honour them. See! I have noted this experience in my diary. I knew that the Himalaya Mountains are situated in the northern part of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. However, I could not understand how would these spiritual people reache here. Last month, I heard the arrival of some spiritual people in our area. I came to meet you. When I saw your group, I realised the truth of the information my spirit gave me. Your invitation affected me. Since I returned, I bagan performing solah thrice a day in the manner you performed them. I have never worshipped the idols since the day I left you." Then he pointed towards a portrait saying, "I spent many years meditating on the peak of this mountain. I have noted down all my spiritual experiences during the course of these meditations."

He then placed a bundle of manuscripts in front of Diya' Sahib. After perusing through them, Diya' Sahib acknowledged the edition of our host. Thereafter our host added, "I began performing supernatural acts when these spiritual experiences were revealed upon me." On this statement, our friend Abdullah, a professor of spiritualism, interjected saying, "Can you display any of those supernatural acts?" Our host replied, "Certainly, stand facing the wall and keep your feet firm on the ground. I am going to overturn you." Professor 'Abdullah stood in front of the wall. Our host stood at a distance of 20-30 feet behind him. He then began making signs with his hands in the air. As he made these signs, Professor 'Abdullah fell down. The Japanese applauded our host for his performance.

A young Muslim engineer got up and said to our host, "Professor 'Abdullah is an elderly person. Try to cause me to fall." Consequently, our host caused him also to fall. He then addressed the gathering in a very serious tone saying, "You have observed a mundane, worldly act devoid of nuraniyat (spiritualism). However, when these people (referring to us) recite their Heavenly Book or mention something what their prophet said, then I see nuraniyat in it. I immediately understood that this is something divine and not worldly. These people say that their Prophet was unlettered. He did not acquire knowledge from any human teacher, yet I see that he has given the people of the world such a speech wherein every letter is replete with nuraniyat (spirituality). I could not achieve this type of nuraniyat in my writings despite many years of spiritual exercises."

The truth of Islam is not in need of the testimony of any priest. Nevertheless, the host's address harmonised the situation and the superiority of Islam was established before the gathering. We desired our host to become a Muslim, but as a precautionary measure, not in public. Anyway, one of our colleagues made our host and his wife recite the kalimah in secrecy. He also taught them how to make dhikr. After accepting Islam, it became necessary upon them to bid farewell to their monastery and temples. However, they were not prepared to do so as yet. They said, "Our son is studying at university. As soon as he completes his studies, we will hand-over this monastery to him. Thereafter, we will do as you say."

We returned to Pakistan the following month. Nevertheless, Haji Umar Mita Sahib kept corresponding with our guest. On the encouragement of Haji Umar Sahib, our guest gave a beautiful portion of his monastery as a graveyard to the Muslims (Monjyuin Islamic Graveyard Yamanashi). The wife of Janab Abdul Karim Sahib was buried here. Mita Sahib has informed us that our guest and his wife have expressed their desire to perform hajj.

In our gathering, some other Buddhist also embraced Islam. Amongst them was a retired major from the army. The manner in which he accepted Islam is strange. He says, "I came to visit someone in one of the villages at the foot of the mountain. As I intended to return, I heard a voice in my ear saying, 'Don't return.' This never occured to me before. I decided to spend the night in that village. The next morning, I heard the announcement over the loudspeaker of the village hall, inviting us to come to the monastery. After spending some time here, Allah Ta'ala has guided me." Thereafter, he addressed the non-Muslims in the gathering saying, "Who is that Being who prevented me from leaving the village, caused me to come here and guided me? Will you still not believe in that Being? So after this in what messages will you believe."

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Letter from Japan (Part 1)

This letter was published by Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville, South Africa in 2002

Janab Abdurrashid Arshad Sahib became engaged in the tablighi effort while he was a student at college. He had the good fortune of staying in the company of Hadrat Maulana Ilyas rahmatullah alayhi. He travelled extensively within the country for the sake of tabligh. He accompanied a high official post in the Pakistani government after partition. During this period of time, he went more than once to Japan for some training courses. He gained much experience with the tablighi effort there.

In 1962, he accepted the Saudi government's invitation to head their telegraph department. He completed the translation of the Holy Qur'an in the Japanese language with the help of Haji 'Umar Mita Sahib. A meshwarah was scheduled to take place in Madinah Munawwarah with regard to this translation. He wore his ihram on the 15th Sya'ban. He then proceeded for umrah. He became shahid in a car accident en route to Makkah Mukarramah.

[Note: On 10th June 1972, the printing of the translation of the Holy Qur'an in Japanese was completed and its first edition was published.]


I am sending a report regarding the conditions prevailing in Japan in compliance with your request which you made at the airport. I will send a report of the condition prevailing in America at a later date.

Religion in Japan

The Japanese were strictly religious before the 2nd World War. There are two dominating religions in Japan: the Buddhist and the Shinto religions. An integral part of both these religions is ancestral worship. The ancestral lineage of the king is connected to the sun-god. Every Japanese regards it as his religious duty to venerate and worship the king and his ancestors. The king's order to fight is regarded by them as a sacred command just as jihad is for the Muslims. In the 2nd World War, the Japanese armies first visited their temples before proceeding to fight outside the country. On their return, they first paid tribute to their gods.

Their political and religious leaders assured them during this war that their gods were happy and, henceforth, their victory was guaranteed. However, when they suffered defeat, a general weakness appeared in their religious beliefs. A kind of religious crises and intellectual vacuum developed. The Christian governments in Europe and America (who regard the propagation of the Christianity as part of secularism) took advantage of the situation. The entry of American troops on Japanese soil opened the door for a large number of Western Christian missionaries to enter the country. Churches were constructed throughout the country. Missionary schools were opened everywhere. In short, every effort was made to propagate Christianity.

General Eisenhower made the following statement in a radio broadcast, "In a few years time Japan will become a Christian country." However with certainty it could be said that General Eisenhower's statement proved to be false. The Christian missionaries could not achieve the success which they envisaged.  The Christian population of Japan is much less than 1%. The sound Japanese mind cannot accept the present Christian dogmas. Politically, the Christians were the enemies of Japan in the 2nd World War. In fact, they are responsible for throwing the first atom bomb in human history on Japan. How can the Japanese ever forget the harm caused by them. Probably for the very same reasons the Japanese did not accept Russian socialism.

After Christianity and socialism, it is only Islam that can fit the intellectual vacuum in the minds of the Japanese. This is the reason why they are accepting Islam. Sometimes it is amazing to note that a few words of encouragement motivates them to accept Islam immediately.

Tabligh in Japan

Once we noticed, after completing solah, an educated Japanese standing at the door of the Jami Masjid of Tokyo. he introduced himself to be an artist by profession. His newspaper cartoons are greatly appreciated by the public. He said that he had read a novel in the Russian language which centred around a very courageous Muslim character who never feared death. This Muslim character accomplished the most dangerous task. he (the Japanese artist) said that someone had informed him that the Muslims gather for prayers here at the masjid every Friday. Hence, he had come to understand Islam from us. We invited him to our room and entertained him with tea, etc. Allah Ta'ala had inspired me to tell him through our translator, Alhaj 'Umar Mita, "Islam can only be understood by reciting the kalimah. It cannot be understood prior to that." He immediately got prepared to accept Islam. Haji 'Umar Mita converted him and he performed the 'Asr solah with us.

Once a Japanese new Muslim brought his non-Muslim friend to meet us. His non-Muslim friend was the secretary of the Socialist Party of our ward. The first question he posed was, "What is the Islamic solution for the existing contention between the capitalist and the working class?" I replied, "The Islamic social system is not based on 'the demands of rights'. It is based on 'the fulfillment of rights'. The fulfillment of rights of the capitalist (the employers) is the responsibility of the working class. On the other hand, it is the duty of the capitalist to fulfill the rights of the working class. Hence, a group or class contention in a correct Islamic social structure is impossible." This answer which I heard from my elders affected his heart and he immediately accepted Islam.

Once a non-Muslim insisted in inviting us to his home in order to encourage his two daughters to accept Islam. Both were studying for an M.A. degree at university. Their special subject was English literature. We accepted his invitation and extended the dakwah of Islam to his two daughters. The house environment was not suitable for dakwah and consequently, our talk had no effect. After making mashwarah, we invited them to share a meal with us. In the interim, a perverted minded person made an effort to stop them from understanding the truth of Islam. He told them that women were oppressed in Islam, imprisoned in their homes and deprived of enjoying life as men do.

On the day of the invitation, the two sisters refused to partake of the meal except we had answered their question. They asked, "What is the Islamic solution to the question of 'gender equality'? I" I replied, "If you wish you could study the answer directly from the Holy Qur'an. They agreed. I placed in front of them the translation of the following aayah of Surah Ahzab from Pickthall's translation of the Glorious Qur'an (the translation did not have the Arabic text): "Lo! Men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women whoare humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember, Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward." (aayah 35)

I added, "Islam had not given preference to men over women in achieving supreme success. If a male can enter Jannatul Firdaus, then, by Allah, a female can also reach there." They replied, "Allow us to make mashwarah." After consulting each other in one corner of the room, both sisters said, " We have decided to embrace Islam immediately. We are convinced that Islam is the only true religion."

These incidents show the thirst for Islam in Japan despite the wide circulation of anti-Islamic propaganda by the Christian missionaries throughout the country.

Once I undertook a train journey. One of my Japanese fellow-traveller was busy reading a book. I asked him, "Sir, did you ever read any literature on Islam?" He replied, "Yes, a voluminous one." I asked, "What was the name?" He replied in a very serious tone, "A Thousand Nights."

A message of Islam reached Japan long before the arrival of the tablighi jamaats. After the Turkish Revolution, a pious Turkish personality, Shaikh Ibrahim Washad emigrated to Japan for the sake of spreading Islam. A small group of people accepted Islam on his hands. He passed away in Tokyo and is buried there.

Another reason for the spread of Islam in Japan was the influence of the pious Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian and Burmese Muslims. They influenced the Japanese after the Japanese invaded their respected countries.

Haji 'Umar Mita

Haji 'Umar Mita Sahib is presently the principle figure of tabligh in Japan. He has printed the 'Stories of the Sahabah' in the Japanese language.

He is busy translating the Qur'an Majid into Japanese. He explained how he became Muslim as follows: "I took up employmet at the Manchurian Railway Station after completing a degree in political economy. Manchuria was under Japanese occupation at that time. After completing my term of employment, I embarked on touring China on foot. I was well-acquainted with the practice of ancient Japanese medicine. during my travels I passed by a village inhabited mainly by Muslims. The imam of the village was ill. The villagers requested me to treat him. I agreed and arrangements were made for me to live in one of the rooms of the masjid. I knew the Chinese language. The imam gave me Chinese literature on Islam to study. The treatment took some time and I got a good opportunity to study Islam and lives of the Muslims. I found the Chinese Muslims to be cleaner than their non-Muslim counterparts. They possessed sublime character. Their performance of the five daily solahs attracted me towards Islam. Consequently, I was smitten with the love of Islam by the time the imam was cured. Hence, I accepted Islam in that village."

[Note: In 1957, Haji Umar Mita went to Indo-Pak subcontinent in connection with dakwah and tabligh effort. He died in 1976 at the age of 82.]

Method of Effort

We met many people who accepted Islam through the effort of dakwah and tabligh. The first jamaat arrived in Japan in 1958. Hadrat Ji is much more acquainted with this than myself. [Note: Hadrat Ji rahmatullah alayhi died in 1965]. The technique employed by the tablighi jamaat is unique. Its invitation is based on the fact that Allah Ta'ala has promised His love for those who adhere to the 'amal (sunnah) of Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam. Allah Ta'ala makes the hearts of people submit in front of those whom He loves. There are six important sunnah deeds of qualities which are given paramount importance in tabligh. They are known as the six points (or qualities). The jamaat is a mobile group which strives to inculcate the six points. If a jamaat adheres to the correct principles, then spiritual reformation is certain. This is the result of adhering to the sunnah. Thousands have been reformed through this technique.

The jamaats employ the same technique in non-Muslim countries. It was our practice in Japan to proceed in the path of Allah for 3 days every month. Both Muslims and non-Muslims were invited to participate. The Muslims who participated always returned home with stronger iman and genuine urge to do good. Most of non-Muslims who joined us were blessed with imaan by the time they returned home.

Enzan Buddhist Temple

Enzan is a Buddhist temple situated in the Yamanashi Administrative Division, approximately 100 km south of Tokyo. This provnce is known for its famous maountain named Fuji and grapevines. In July 1960, a jamaat proceeded towards Inzan temple. Prior to this, two students from this district accepted Islam through the efforts of the jamaat working there. These students then went to Pakistan to spend more times to learn the effort. They wrote reports of their tablighi journeys to their local newspapers. These reports were published. Our jamaat efforts was also mentioned therein.

Once we received an invitation to visit this area. We accepted this invitation and decided to spend our monthly 3 days there. Our jamaat comprised of about 20 Muslims and non-Muslim Japanese individuals. The elders of the area gave us a warm welcome at the station. A huge procession accompanied us to the Inzan temple where we were based.

This temple is a unique display of ancient Japanese architecture. It seems as if the Japanese built this temple with great enthusiasm using all the resources at their disposal. A thick long rope made of women's hair is safely kept in the temple. This rope was used to lift up the beams of the temple. The bottom floor is filled with a variety of idols. The priest of the temple introduced these different idols to us. We recited the following aayah as a reply: "Definitely you and what you worship besides Allah are the fuel for Jahannam."

The jamaat was lodged in a small hall on the upper storey. When the time of Zuhr solah set in, the adhan was called out loudly. The sound of the adhan echoed throughout the temple. It seemed as if they were thirsty to hear the adhan. Everyone performed wudhu' using crystal clean water from a natural fountain within the area of the temple. All performed the Zuhr solah, Muslims as well as non-Muslims. Every solah was performed in this manner.

Adhan and solah are the most important aspects of tabligh. More people were attracted towards Islam by hearing the adhan and observing the performance of solah. After solah, our tabligh effort began. The ahadith from the fadha'il books were read and discussed during ta'leem. The life of Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum were explained.

The questions posed by the non-Muslim listeners were answered. A common question was, "You claim that Islam elevates nations. Why do we not find any Muslim country superior to their non-Muslim counterparts?" In fact, in every respect, the non-Muslim countries are more advanced." The embarrassment and cry we felt in our hearts is self-evident. Alas! Today, instead of serving and propagating Islam, the Muslims have become a barrier for others to accept the faith.

Nevertheless, we gave them the following reply, "Friends! Islam is not the name of a country. The combination of the noble qualities and teachings of Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam is Islam. Today there is no Islam because of the retreat of Muslims from their faith. In fact, Islamic values have become instinct. We are not inviting you to become like the Muslims of today. We are inviting you to become like the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. The Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum were those personalities who adopted prophetic qualities. There is none equal to them in human history, never before did such a small group of people with hardly any material means, in a short span of time, achieve what they did." Alhamdulillah, this answer satisfied them.

The desire to learn more about the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum increased. Probably, for this reason Haji Umar Mita translated the book, 'Stories of Sahabah' from English to japanese in a very short time. The local university published a very small print of the book throughout the country. According to the reports received, the book had a very good effect on the readers.

The Islam of Saito Sahib

People from all walks of life attended our programmes over 3 days. Finally, on the third day 6 Japanese accepted Islam. Most of them are high-ranking members of the society. Nakomora Sahib, whose two daughters already accepted Islam, became a Muslim in this temple. 

The secretary of the Saudi Embassy in Tokyo, Ahmad Zaki, and another Arab businessman, Mohammed Amin Makki, also accompanied us. They were extremely amazed to see the Japanese reciting the Kalimah Tauhid in front of their idols in their own temple.

A few days after our return to Tokyo, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Telecommunications, Shaikh Abdullah Bilkhair, arrived for an official visit. The secretary of the Saudi Embassy, Ahmad Zaki, informed him of what transpired at Inzan temple. He was extremely amazed and expressed his desire to meet the Japanese new Muslims. A program was organised to meet them after Jum'ah solah.

The Saudi delegation arrived to perform the Jum'ah solah. When the Imam amongst them stood up to deliver the khutbah, he saw that the majority of the congregation were bearded Japanese Muslims with signs of sajdah on their foreheads. This made him cry. He then said, "I have understood the reality of the following aayah, 'If you turn away, then He (Allah) will replace you with another nation and they will not be like you.' We Arabs are failing in our task to serve Deen. Allah Ta'ala is accepting other nations for the service of Deen." He added, "My heart is satiated with mixed feelings of joy and sorrow. I am unable to speak any further. I will return for Isha' solah. Thereafter, I will address the Japanese new Muslims."

We entered the masjid with the Shaikh at Isha' time. The adhan was called out and a few Japanese new Muslims were called. After the Isha' solah, we sat together. The Shaikh asked each one of them how he had accepted Islam. Many of them said that they had become Muslims because of the efforts of the tablighi jamaats. It is worth mentioning the conversation that took place between the Shaikh and Abdul Karim Saito Sahib, the president and official representative of the United Japanese Muslim Association.

Shaikh: "How did you accept Islam?"
Saito Sahib: "Sir! I worked for 10 years at the Japanese Embassy in one of the Muslim countries. The behaviour af the Muslims never appealed to me. In fact, their social and monetary dealings caused an aversion in my heart towards Islam. This feeling remained until I joined a tablighi jamaat to Osaka. The solah performed by the jamaat at Osaka Railway Station attracted me towards Islam. I was so affected that I immediately became a Muslim."
Shaikh: "Has your wife also embraced Islam?"
Saito Sahib: "Unfortunately, no."
Shaikh: "Have you ever invited her to become a Muslim?"
Saito Sahib: "Certainly. Because she had previously observed the kives of the Muslims, she replied, 'I have observedhow evil the Muslims are! Alas! If only she had not observed those evil Muslims, she would have easily converted." Thereafter Saito sahib read the following Persian couplet: "There is no fault in Islam. All the faults are in the Muslims."

However, a few months thereafter, Saito Sahib's wife and children accepted Islam. Last year, Saito Sahib's wife passed away. She was the first to be buried in the Munjuwabin Mandir Muslim cemetery. May Allah ta'ala forgive her and shower His mercy on her. Saito Sahib has disengaged his eldest son, Sa'id saito from studying at a college in Tokyo. He has sent him to Madinah Munawwarah for further Islamic studies.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Initial Effort of Dakwah and Tabligh at Aligarh Muslim University

Excerpts taken from the Biography of Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Sahid - Amire Tabligh by Maulana Mufti Azizur-Rahman Bijnori (Publisher: Madrasah Arabia Islamia, South Africa)

The first ijtima' after the demise of Hadrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi rahmatullah alayhi took place in Muradabad (India). The inactivity of the people caused despondency about the success of future ijtima' and the despatching of jamaats to other areas. This despondency prevailed because jamaats of even 10 individuals could not be prepared to proceed to nearby areas like Rampur, Chandpur and Bajnur. On this occasion, Hadrat Ji Maulana Muhammad Yusuf rahmatullah alayhi expressed his determination in an enthusiastic tone. He said, "A time will come when you will proceed to Iraq, Sham and Egypt. However, at that time the effort would have already become widespread." Those with poor courage and determination did not understand the reality of these words. Nevertheless, these were divinely inspired and accepted words.

Hadrat Ji rahmatullah alayhi  was of the opinion that presently the English language had become globally widespread and common. He wanted professionals with an English education to join the effort for the work to spread in other countries. He considered the active participation of the lecturers and students of Aligarh University indispensable to achieve this gol. However, the question arose: How should the effort be introduced to them? None of them were prepared to listen to what the ulama' said. After much deliberation, it was decided by mashwarah that the Pathan community of the district of Bulandshahar should be assigned to introduce the work of dakwah to them. Consequently, they accepted this responsibility and, through their efforts, the work began at the university.

I have personally heard from some responsible brothers involved in the dakwah and tabligh effort that initially the lecturers and students blankly refused to accept the work. This was the time when bearded persons could not even pass through the university without being taunted. Nevertheless, the effort continued until I personally visited the university. It became difficult for me to recognise who was who. Their plain shari'e clothing, illuminated faces, forehead with marks of sajdah, trousers above the ankles, shari'e beards made it difficult for me to distinguish whether this was a student of Deen, an imam or a mu'azzin. This drastic change was mind-boggling.

Faridi Sahib sacrificed much of his time at Aligarh. He won the hearts of the students and, finally took them to Nizamuddin. They spent their vacations in the path of Allah. Hadrat Ji rahmatullah alayhi directed his special attention towards them and advised them in the following manner, "The time you spent for useless pursuits should be utilised for the sake of Deen. Your entire vacation period which is spent in entertainment and fun should be correctly utilised in the path of Allah. We do not want you to forsake your studies."

When the students did as they were advised - they spent time in the path of Allah, studied hard, started the effort in the university, the lecturers were also affected. They also proceeded with their students to the different countries of the world in the path of Allah. They brought along their English educated Muslims from other parts of the world to work amongst the English educated professionals of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. In this manner, the work flourished throughout the country.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A Letter from America

This letter was published by Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville, South Africa in 2002.

2nd September 1971

Respected Haji Sahib,

Assalamu'alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakutuhu

It is hoped that you are enjoying good health. I had already written details about the conditions prevailing here. I now wish to add some more details.

Our jamaat reached America in the form of three groups. First two individuals arrived, then four and finally, another group of four. We worked in New York until the 23rd August.

New York is one of the world's biggest cities. It is the biggest city in America. It has a cosmopolitan population of 8 million people. The city is populated more with Afro-Americans and foreigners. The American whites live mostly in the rural areas. There is no difference in rural and urban areas as far as living facilities are concerned.

We have witnessed the amount of effort man has made on material things here. Consequently, he has produced material things of superior quality according to his effort. However, the mass production of superior material things does not engender favourable conditions. We have realised that despite the abundance of material comfort; poverty, ignorance and perplexity still prevails.

Moreover, bad conduct and criminal offences are increasing as time passes. In short, by the grace of Allah Ta'ala, weare much more happier and contented in our country, despite the little material possession we own. Here peace of mind, contentment of heart, love, sympathy, chivalry, happiness and affection are extinct. These qualities only exist superficially. An individual is valuable (only to himself) as long as he is healthy and earning a living. He holds no value if he is not fit to work.

There is no family life here. Children live with their parents only after they are 13 to 14 years of age. Thereafter, they look for their own companions. Parents entertain themselves with dogs and other animal pets. If a person is not wealthy enough according to normal standards, then he would take the refuge of some welfare organisation. This is life in general.

A sick person is left to lay in hospital. Nobody really enquires about his conditions. The deceased has none to mourn him. The newsof the death of the deceased person reaches the relatives only after several weeks have elapsed. Life is tough and difficult.

A person who cannot work hard enough for 8 hours a day experiences great difficulty. The insurance companies will support him for a few days. Thereafter, he is forced to seek assistance from welfare organisations.

Only external glitter and glamour exist. However, much internal frustration is experienced. The rate of inflation is high. Old-age homes are constructed for elderly people where they retire to spend the last days of their lives. These old-age homes are supported by welfare organisations.

The capitalist control the lives of the people. The public works very hard to survive. Finally, whatever they earn, in some way or the other, goes back into the 'pockets' of the capitalist. Even the bare necessities of life are provided and sold by the capitalist. The sole trader cannot exist. People work for larger business companies. Nevertheless, motor cars and petrol are very cheaply priced. Every person owns a motor car because of the demands of conditions prevailing here. Undertaking a journey by train is very expensive. Very few people journey by train. A train ride is regarded as another form of entertainment. People travel far and wide with their cars. The trains are very comfortable. To travel by bus is much more cheaper and comfortable. To travel by plane is only a little more expensive than a bus journey.

One remarkable quality of the people is that they do not cheat. All food stuffs are genuine, pure and cheap. Every type of meat is available. However, halal meat is not available. Jews consume kosher meat. They abstain from pork and every other item which contains pork gelatine. Everything is prepared separately for them. Generally, haram animal gelatine is used in the baking of bread. The Jews slaughter their animals in a way similar to that of the Muslims. We have been informed that 'ulama' have ruled their meat to be halal. Nevertheless, we have not investigated the matter as yet. A cautious Muslim consumes kosher meat. Those who are not cautious consume any type of meat.

We have abstained from consuming kosher meat. We are surviving mostly on vegetable dishes. We personally slaughter chickens whenever possible. All types of lentils, vegetables and spices are available. Ghee (melted butter) is not available. Butter, olive oil and other types of oils are obtainable. By the mercy of Allah Ta'ala, all food items are obtainable in abundance.

Cold and hot water taps, cheap electricity, telephone services, excellent roads and other modern facilities are available for the usage of each and every individual. Despite all this, there is no peace of mind. Allah Ta'ala has opened the doors of material progress upon them. Their material progress has increased our yaqin (conviction) in the following ayah of the Holy Qur'an:
"When the forgot the reminder they had received, We opened upon them the doors of all things, until, in the midst of their enjoyment of that which they were given, We suddenly took them to task, when lo! they were plunged in despair" (Surah An'am: 44)

The enjoyment of these bounties has created arrogance in these people. If they respond to the call of Islam, then only will they be saved from the punishment of Allah Ta'ala. Certainly, their disobedience to Him after enjoying so much of His bounties, invites His wrath upon them. Alas! If only some kind-hearted person could explain to them this reality.

Unfortunately, the Muslims have been so overtaken by their involvement in material things. They have forgotten themselves, though the Holy Qur'an commands the following:
"And do not allow your gaze to pass beyond them; seeking the pomp and glitter of this life; nor obey those whose hearts are negligent of Our remembrance, who obey their desires and whose cases have been abandoned." (Surah Kahf: 28)

The Jews have influenced the lives of the people here. The financial reserves, the newspapers, radio and television programmes are in their control. Hence, they can sway the majority's opinion to suit their aims and objects. Every high-ranking person is forced to obey them.

Racialism is practised here. Initially, the Negroes were brought here as slaves. They were exploited, forced to do hard labour, deprived of knowledge and making progress. Consequently, they became like the untouchables of our country. None of the religions can offer them a fair treatment. Slavery has been abolished and the government has awarded them equal rights. Nevertheless, racialism is still practised. They reside in slummy areas. They have been made to suffer from an inferiority complex. This social discrimination has frustrated them and made them mentally and physically rebellious.

They have showed a keen inclination towards Islam. In fact, they are embracing Islam in large numbers. A person by the name of Elijah Mhammed has taken advantage of the situation and started a movement called the 'Black Muslim'. Initially he introduced himself as a 'reformer', but now he claims to be a prophet. The famous boxer, Mohammed Ali, is one of his followers. Elijah Mohammed has a larger following. His followers are said to be militant. He has amassed much wealth for himself, owns a private plane and has built a huge mansion where he lives separately from others.

Malcom X has also become one of his followers. He has converted thousands of people as 'Black Muslims'. He resided in Egypt and Arabia for a while. Here he discovered the reality of Islam. He became a true Sunni Muslim and wrote many books against the teachings of Elijah. Many people became true Muslims at his hands. Some time ago, the followers of Elijah murdered him. Currently, very few people follow Elijah. many of his followers became true Muslims. In fact, both his sons are Sunni Muslims.

Besides the blacks, the whites are also tired and disgusted with the 'progressive life' here. Consequently, the new generations want to free themselves of every type of social restriction. They are embracing other eastern religions to relieve themselves from mental frustration. In these religions, they are allowed to use opium, drugs, musical instruments, etc. without restrictions. The youth are deceived.

Generally, the Americans do not possess a high IQ. They are attracted by any new thing. They are discarding their comforts and luxuries to lead a vagabond life. We should learn a lesson from this. They are prepared to sacrifice their comforts, whereas we are not prepare to discard any of them for the propagation of the truth. Many white youth have become hippies. They have left their comfortable homes in search of peace and are completely confused. This is a wonderful opportunity to present Islam to them.

A high percentage of every person's salary is utilised for the payment of taxes and insurance premiums. Everyone is compelled to pay certain amount of his salary as insurance. The insurance companies are owned by capitalists. They manufacture motor cars, market them and finally, collect motor car insurance premiums. If the car is cheap, then more money is paid on insurance than its actual price. In the case of an accident, the afflicted person is recompensed with his own money by the insurance company.

Similarly, every month a medical-aid premium is paid. The capitalist manufacture medicines and open hospitals and clinics to cover their capital. A sick person is treated with insurance money for the first 15 days of treatment. Thereafter, he takes a loan on interest. In this manner, the capitalist control the circulation of money.

Medicines are very expensive. The poor are treated by welfare organisations. The actual object of these aoragisations is to protect their own interest. Approximately $1,000 are spent on the birth and death of an individual. Sometimes hospital-born babies are deprived of parental care for several months. The government takes the responsibility of nurturing and caring for illegitimate children. The number of such children is increasingly high.

Stealing, highway robbery and murder takes place in broad daylight. Nudity, immorality, immodesty, drinking and interest transactions are part of life. They are not considered sinful. The people here are totally unmindful of the akhirah (hereafter). They behave very shamelessly in public. They are bereft of good character, modesty and fear of Allah Ta'ala. They have reached such a low moral ebb where now only the punishment of Allah Ta'ala is awaited. However, Allah Ta'ala will not punish them until His proof is not established upon them through dakwah.

The Muslims of America are lost in glitter and glamour of this temporary world. They have drifted from their purpose of life and are unmindful of Allah Ta'ala and the sunnah of Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam. They are affected by those who are treading the path of Jahannam and making an effort to transform this world into a furnace.

The flight of the Arabs in America is extremely saddening. They are unmindful of their origin, awe-inspired and affected by the Americans. They have constructed a few 'Islamic Centres' and feel ashamed to use the word 'masjid'.  Every type of comfortable arrangements and facilities are provided in these centres. The Muslims gather here on a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, none of them perform solah. However, some signs of Islam were noticed at centres that are frequented by religiously conscious Muslims. Nevertheless, there are some servants of Allah Ta'ala who are making an effort to light the lamp of Islam in this spiritually pitch black environment. By the grace of Allah Ta'ala their efforts are proving to be fruitful.

I intended to write details of the effort, but unconsciously the conditions prevailing here were written.

We worked in New York until 23rd of August. An effort was made to meet the people from all spheres of life. Muslims from our area have settled in large numbers here. People responded very well to our message. New York, the largest port, is a country on its own. The headquarters of most of the important international organisations are based here.

The Muslims live scattered in different areas. The new Muslims have a strong desire and zeal to learn and practise the sunnah of Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam. Most of them grow beards and wear Islamic dress. They are very keen to learn more about Islam. Alas! If only they had a teacher, they would have learnt much more.

The new Muslims bring many new people to us on a daily basis. Approximately one person converts to Islam daily. This is the condition when no real effort is made to invite them towards the Deen. The new converts seem to be very strong. Nevertheless, there is a great fear of thousands of new 'brands' of Islam being introduced, because of the lack of educational institutes and proper Islamic training. These people study the English translations of the Holy Qur'an and Mishkat Sharif and then start practicing Islam according to their own independent understanding.

The foreigners and locals who have spent time in jamaat can be clearly distinguished from others through their correct aqaid (beliefs), amal (deed), akhlaq (character) and 'ilm (knowledge). Many new Muslims are becoming leaders. These are all the fears that are apprehended. Nevertheless, by the grace of Allah Ta'ala, the effort of the jamaat is creating a correct understanding of Deen amongst the people. However, a single jamaat can only control the situation for a temporary period of time. It is necessary to send experienced workers' jamaats continuously to permanently control the situation. If this is overlooked, then the punishment of Allah Ta'ala is very severe.

These people are anxious to accept Islam, but there is none to extend dakwah of Islam to them. They are ready to become Muslim. Alas! It would be greatly appreciated if some such individuals, who would not be affected by the environment here, could reside here to make an effort on these people and ensure that the constant coming and going of jamaats is not hindered. There is an urgent need to correctly educate and train the new Muslims. Tabligh is the only way by which these people could be united. If unity is not achieved, then they will split-up into thousands of disunited groups.

Some of them are very compassionate and soft hearted. They understand and accept everything that is explained to them and are very eager to learn. Most of them perform solah regularly. Many of them are in the habit of performing tahajjud solah. Some of their womenfolk wear hijab. If not, then at least their heads and entire body is completely covered. Most of them have disengaged their womenfolk from working.

Some of them have intended to come to India/Pakistan. Two youth are prepared to spend 4 months and then take admission in any of our local madaris to become ulama'. Their desire for Deen is remarkable. Their condition is a practical explanation of the aayah, "If you turn away, then Allah Ta'ala will create another nation in your place. Then they will not be like you." (Surah Muhammad)

The majority of new Muslims are youth. Most of their parents
and other family members are non-Muslims. Consequently, they have to bear all types of opposition and difficulties. Although not so severe, a reflection of the difficulties borne in the initial period of Islam is being witnessed here. Every individual in the American society is free to do as he wills.

Some responsible brothers have accompanied us . Saturdays and Sundays are the official holidays of the week. Every week a jamaat from New York proceeds to work in other areas like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, etc. These jamaats consists of 20 - 30 individuals from amongst the local new Muslims and Muslims hailing from the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Sometimes even two jamaats proceed in the path of Allah per week.

Our original effort id to establish the local work. By the grace of Allah Ta'ala, many brothers from New York and other areas have intended to do the weekly two ghusht, daily ta'leem in the masjid, establish five times daily solah and proceed for the monthly 3 days and annual 40 days in the path of Allah Ta'ala. Many brothers attend the weekly ijtima'.

Our jamaat was divided into three groups. Our group proceeded to work in Boston which is about 300 miles from New York. We worked here for 8 days. There are a few Muslim students and lecturers in Harvard University. This university is regarded to be one of the best in America.

By the grace of Allah Ta'ala, our brothers do have the concern of Deen to some extent, despite the unfavourable environment. At least a definite effort is made everywhere for the establishment of the Jum'ah solah. This has helped our effort tremendously. We always found a gathering of people to whom we could explain the message.

Quincy is an area near Boston. The Arabs have built an Islamic centre here. We worked in this area for a few days. Generally, the Arabs are very far from Deen. It is better not to discuss their condition. They have constructed clubs in which liquor is served and people gamble.

Besides the Arabs, there are Muslims from Yugoslavia, Albania, Iran, etc. Their condition is the same as the Arabs. However, a keen desire and concern for Deen can be clearly seen in those Egyptian Muslims who are connected to the al-Ikhwaan Movement. Similarly, by the grace of Allah Ta'ala, the youth from Indo-Pak subcontinent who are settling here are completely disgusted with the western way of life. many of them are leading a pure and chaste life. They have accepted the effort of dakwah whole-heartedly. Some of them have joined our jamaat from a distance of about 2,000 miles. They are very particular about consuming halal meat. May Allah Ta'ala accept them for the service of His Deen and grant them success in both the worlds. here ghusht is done using cars. If the need be to go far, then we travel by subway.

The second group proceeded to work in Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore. We decided to have a mashwarah in Detroit on the 27th - 29th August to discuss ways of increasing the effort of dakwah in America. We reached Detroit on 24th August. There is a large concentration of new Muslims here. Approximately 40 concerned brothers from Chicago, Washington, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, etc. gathered for mashwarah. Some of them came by plane from as far as 2,000 miles. 

The mashwarah was conducted and a system to do the effort was worked out for the entire year. The brothers expressed their intention to spend 40 days, 4 months, etc. and to do the local work. It was a wonderful gathering, probably the first of its kind in American history to revive the Deen of Sayyidina Rasullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam. May Allah Ta'ala accept it and use it as a means to strengthen the roots of dakwah in America.

We came to Flint yesterday. This is an area which is about 70 miles from Detroit. Detroit is 700 miles away from New York. Today we will return to detroit. On Saturday morning, we will proceed from Detroit to Cleveland. The third group has proceeded to work in Chicago and surrounding areas. They will return to New York by 20th December.

We will proceed from Cleveland to Washington, the capital of America, by 7th December. We will work in Washington for approximately a wek. Thereafter we will proceed to Baltimore and Philadelphia. We will return to New York by 20th December.

There is a great need amd demand to do the effort here. Regretfully, our time to make an effort here is too little. Doing the effort here demands much patience and determination. Nevertheless, the hope for the future is promising. If the local Muslims make the correct effort, then communities upon communities will accept Deen.

We have realised that we as Muslims have greatly wronged ourselves by discarding the Deen of Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam and its dakwah. Consequently, the entire ummah is suffering disgrace. The ummah has disunited because of abandoning the work of dakwah. There is none to enquire about the condition of the ummah. We have brought the wrath of Allah Ta'ala upon ourselves through evil actions. The only way to save ourselves is to collectively turn to Allah Ta'ala and repent. If not, then none can save us from calamities. The only solution is to make istighfar and taubah individually and collectively. This is the advice of all our spiritual elders.

Actually taubah and istighfar has to be made from the major sin because of which the entire ummah is suffering, viz. discarding the effort of Deen. Each individual from the entire ummah has to perform solatut taubah and beg Allah Ta'ala to forgive our negligence and error. Thereafter, solatul hajat should be performed and du'a be made for the entire ummah.

A promise should be made never to be negligent of the Deen. Be rest assured that if we will discard the Deen of Allah Ta'ala, then never will we prosper in this world. Moreover, what answer will we give to Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam in the akhirah? What appreciation are we showing to the sacrifices and difficulties borne by Sayyidina Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. We have wasted our lives by not making any Deeni progress.  We have placed the Deen aside and have vied with one another to acquire wealth. How can divine mercy descend when this is our condition. We need to introspect and cry over our condition. It is a time to fear divine wrath. This is no fiction nor verbosity. It is a reality.

Currently, everyone is surrounded by difficulties. It is not known when we will be deprived of divine kindness. Na'uzubillah, in that case,  endless regret will be of no benefit.The demand of intelligence is to postpone the fulfillment of our personal needs and proceed far and wide in the path of Allah to make the effort of Deen. Much du'a should be made. The local work which includes the two weekly ghusht, daily ta'leem and weekly ijtima' should be done regularly. Individuals should be punctual with their nawafil solah, tilawah of the Holy Quran and tasbeehat (dzikr). The ladies should also be engaged themselves in these amal.

It is hoped that this letter would not be readsuperficially. It will be given due importance. It is difficult to express my feelings and thoughts in writing. May Allah Ta'ala create the concern and worry of Deen in our hearts so that we may earn divine pleasure.

Make special du'a that Allah Ta'ala protects us from every type of evil, grant us sincerity and accepts us to revive the Deen.

Convey our salam to all and request them to make du'a for us. Please forgive me if any disrespect was shown. I have written this lengthy letter without really intending to do so. Some important facts have been noted herein. Please file it away safely so that I could retrieve it after I return.

Your servant