New Delhi: Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, Ameer (National President) of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, has highlighted the concept of God in the life of human being. Addressing a distinguished gathering of Muslims and Non-Muslims at the Eid Milan program held at Jamaat’s headquarters here on 17th August, Maulana Umari spoke on the importance of fasting and Ramadan. He also expressed his anguish on the ongoing bloodshed in Egypt.
Here is an excerpt from his Eid Milan speech:
I welcome you to this get-together on my behalf and on behalf of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. Please accept my Eid greetings. We have many friends here, both Muslim and Non-Muslim. A special welcome is due for our Non-Muslim friends who have joined us here today.
A little more than a week ago, we celebrated Eid, the full name being Eid-al Fitr, i.e. the festival of Fitrah. In Islamic terminology, Fitrah is the special charity given to the poor on the eve of Eid. Eid is the occasion of thanksgiving after the rigorous spiritual training in the month called Ramadan. Ramadan is a very important month because the revelation of Quran commenced in this month.
Fasting is the prescribed mode of worship in the month of Ramadan. When one undertakes fasting he/she goes without food and water for a long period; in today’s season the duration of fast may easily exceed 15 hours a day. The fast consists of abstaining from eating, drinking and satisfying one’s sexual urges for a duration which lasts from dawn to sunset. We know that these acts are natural and there is no wrong in doing them. But in doing so, one must respect the ethical boundaries and moral limits. When these boundaries are crossed, the consequences are disastrous. Corruption, economic crisis, violation of human rights and oppression are familiar consequences of such moral laxity. The whole character of an individual is destroyed and moral fabric of society is threatened, when people satisfy their sexual urges in immoral ways. The rigorous worship of fasting undertaken during the month of Ramadan inculcates in human beings the spirit of piety (called Taqwa in Islamic terminology). Taqwa is becoming sincerely obedient to God’s commandments and respecting the limits prescribed by Him for human conduct. Such an attitude motivated by the sense of accountability before God, is the essence of Taqwa. Even if one escapes social censure for a bad deed, one cannot imagine escaping God’s punishment. Fasting cultivates this moral sense, provided fasting is observed consciously and not as an empty ritual. Indeed there is no possibility of basic reform in the human personality if man does not surrender to God. A person can always find ways of escaping the human laws, but he cannot escape from God.
The Quran trains people in having God consciousness over our hidden motives and desires. Without commitment to God’s obedience, no amount of formal education or factual information can lead to moral reform and healthy conduct.
When one talks of God and morality, some people tend to object in the name of secularism. Their contention is that in today’s secular age, an appeal for action based on religion has no validity. One must examine this objection. If we refer to the constitution of India, we do not find the constitution prohibiting us from talking about social relevance of God’s guidance. However, some people interpret the Indian constitution differently.
Leaving the constitutional debate here, we return to the basic question. If religion is a promising answer to our ills, will it be wise to ignore religion? If God’s guidance provides us the solution to our problems, should we turn our back to it, simply because some quarters are allergic to God and religion? A formal stress on the slogan of secularism should not prevent us from a serious consideration of the role and relevance of God’s guidance. As far as Islam is concerned, it shows man the path to moral uplift.
Besides inculcation of piety, the worship of fasting has another beneficial consequence. It makes us aware of the plight of the poor and the hungry. When during fasting, we experience the pain of hunger, we are in a better position to appreciate the miserable condition of a large segment of humanity which perpetually lives in hunger. We are then led to help and assist them.
There are weak people and weak sections in every country, in today’s world. They are deprived of their human rights. No on listens to their plight or pays attention to their miserable condition. Fasting makes us sensitive to human problems. We are motivated to help and support the weak.
Unfortunately in today’s world, injustice is a bitter reality. In Egypt we are witnessing brutal attacks of the army on its own citizens. Is this brutality justified? In Egypt people had elected a party through the recognized electoral process but that popular government has been overthrown forcibly by a military coup. This is blatant and grave injustice. Do the world powers think that democratic process is acceptable only when it serves their interests? Why don’t they let the elected government complete its designated term? More than 2500 people have already been killed by the military; though they were demonstrating peacefully. Thousands have been injured. This is a great calamity. But the world powers are silent. They are not uttering a word to stop the massacre of people. Our own country, except for a subdued reaction, has not done anything to ensure justice in Egyptian society.
Eid is an occasion of joy and happiness, but we cannot ignore the bitter realities around us. So I had to mention some of them. We have to confront them, after undertaking an in-depth analysis of the current situation. With trust in God, we may be able to make the world a better place.
I once again welcome you and thank you for being with us this evening.