And to you your faith, and to me mine. (Al-Quran, 109-6)
By all accounts it appears that January 17, 2014 was the day Khuzaima Qutbuddin had been waiting for. Within a couple of hours of Moulanal Muqaddas’ demise, the Qutbuddin coterie went into a frothy frenzy making tall claims and mounting a bevy of falsehoods upon the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq, Moula Mufaddal Saifuddin (tus).
On March 19, Khuzaima Qutbuddin’s son Abdeali went on record in an Indian tabloid saying that “since [the nass] three years ago the community has become regressive... My father, on the other hand, wants to bring the true identity of the community back.”
Interesting. We are left to wonder whether in the last three years it has been the drive for tanazzuf that has made us regressive. Or has it been the planting of trees and the development of urban gardens. Or the distribution of food to every mumin household every single day of the year. Or the call to be dressed appropriately so that we are judged by our intelligence and not by our appearance. Or the ambition to have at least one Hafizul Quran in each family. Or the encouragement of mumin men and women to pursue education to live lives abuzz with entrepreneurship, constructive activity, and industry instead of being enslaved by unsavory employers or being afflicted by the malaise of doing nothing. How very regressive of governments and organizations around the world who are funneling billions of dollars to encourage many of these very initiatives among their populations never mind with a much lower success rate than Moula (tus).
Abdeali Qutbuddin’s outrageous statement not only went against any grain of truth and reality there ever was, it loudly echoed the ideology of the “reformist” camp who as we well know have tried in vain for decades to undermine the Dawat. The declaration also instantly aroused the media’s continual intrigue with Islam and its perceived ill-alignment with progress. It was a quick and calculated way to guarantee that the upcoming weeks would be tainted with constant media battering of our faith and to harangue and harass Moula (tus) in a time of loss and grief. And given that everything in the last three years happened with the raza and rida of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (ra), Abdeali Qutbuddin’s insidious statement was only a poorly veiled attempt at questioning Moula Burhanuddin’s legitimacy as the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq.
Some of us thought at first the smear campaign might run out of steam before too long. But it seems that the greed-fueled onslaught has barely just begun. Society’s insatiable thirst for sensationalism and gossip combined with the omnipresence of social media ensures that the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease.
And so this is no longer the time to watch silently on the sidelines. Moula’s magnanimity and forbearance must never be misconstrued as weakness. The day has come for us, the followers of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (tus), to wear our hearts on our sleeves, beat the drums, raise our voices, and make sure our loyalties are heard loud and clear and show the naysayers that our lives, our livelihoods, our relationships, and our souls are so much the better for no other reason other than our association with Moula (tus).
Consequently and understandably, we mumineen have begun to defend ourselves against these baseless allegations designed to defame Moula (tus). And we must do our utmost to shine light on the idiocy emerging from the fringes of Mumbai. Thought-provoking and well-articulated essays have gone viral on the blogosphere and excellent rebuttals to Khuzaima Qutbuddin’s defenseless claims are being widely shared not to convince us for we don’t need convincing but to let fact and truth speak for themselves.
In all of this discussion, we must also consider whether we are being inadvertently led into the trap of judging our sense of self or our progress and liberation using an external, foreign perspective. We know that Khuzaima Qutbuddin’s kith and kin have sold their souls to embrace a cherry-picked paradigm that delivers pure convenience. Will our arguments on Islam and progress and liberation then ever persuade an audience that has pre-conceived, ill-informed, and deep-seated biases? Are we channeling our energies to bridge a gap that may or may not ever close?
As we go down this road, let us remind the self-proclaimed bastions of progress that progress and liberation is widely understood to be the presence of equal socioeconomic rights and opportunities. What these rights and opportunities are have not been defined in absolute terms by society. If the last century is anything to go by, we know that progress is temporal and continuously in flux as society has and continues to debate resolutions over slavery, women’s suffrage, racial segregation, abortion, and gay marriage.
So unlike the Qutbuddins we don’t need to clamor to show the world we are in congruence with its transient ideas that are here today, gone tomorrow, and condemned the day after. We are not going to waste our time trying to steer a boat whose direction changes with the prevailing wind. Nor are we willing to abandon our morals to prove that our beliefs converge with the inscriptions drawn on the shifting sands of popular public opinion of the day. We’d rather as quickly focus our energies on our pride that comes from knowing our lives conform to a timeless philosophy anchored in solid ground, one that has come from Allah through Rasulullah (saw) and is espoused by Aimmat Tahereen (as) and their Duat Mutlaqeen (sa).
Unfortunately for them in their pressing need to reconcile themselves with the world the Qutbuddins have jettisoned the true liberation that comes from our connection with Moula (tus). Moula Mohammed Burhanuddin would often talk about the concept of real progress and liberation. As he once said:
Today Moula Mufaddal Saifuddin (tus) is reminding us of that very philosophy lest we get carried away by some ephemeral currents to rocky shores. Unlike Khuzaima Qutbuddin, Moula (tus) has his fingers on our pulse, he understands our aspirations, predicaments, and fears so well it is uncanny how he responds to them preemptively. How many of us have sat through a waaz or bayan and been taken aback by how Moula (tus) confronts issues that deep down within us hound us, create conflicts, and raise questions. How many countless times has he liberated us from our own demons?
But one wouldn’t expect the Qutbuddins to understand this basic idea. Those who have chosen to take off (among other things) the qiladas of Imamuz Zaman’s ghulami must not, by definition, believe in the idea of true progress and eternal liberation.
So let us stand tall and declare that our progress, liberty, dignity, strength, and our true identity comes from our Mawali Kiram who have defined these ideas. Let us scream from pillar to post that we are proud of who we are, the clothes we wear, the food we cook, the language we speak, the education we receive, and our way of life because all of that comes from our Moula (tus). And let the Qutbuddins know that we will do as our Moula (tus) wants and desist as he deems fit and we would only expect the standard bearers of progress and liberation to defend vigorously our right to our beliefs.