Time to Repent
I would perhaps also have said something to the effect: Remember Muslims, no matter what terrible things you may have done in the past, there is always the door of repentance that lies open before you until death slams it shut in your face.
So, Muslims, did you ever think of repenting? Making Taubah that is? Individually as well as collectively, for some of the havoc you have caused in the world, through your various acts of commission as well as omission? Things you did and the things you failed to do?
It is your Qur'an telling you to do so, you know: Wa tooboo ilallahi jamee'an, ayyuhal mu'minoon.
Paraphrase: All of you turn to God Almighty in collective repentance!
Don't look at me Muslims, if no one told you to do so before. That is the kind of leadership - of all kinds - you have foisted on yourselves. Don't blame everyone else, blame yourself.
Falaa taloomoonee wa loomoo anfusakum.
So, it is time to repent Muslims, it is time to repent.
Both individually and collectively.
An Outrage on the Principle of Human Equality
Also, the Global Muslim Ummah as a whole seems to be safe until now from such outrages on human equality and liberty as the expression "His Holiness," which violates the central Islamic premise of direct, free and equal access to God Almighty for all members of the human family, male as well as female, good as well as bad.
I am not saying this in reference to the Christians and their use of that expression for the Pope or anyone else, but purely in reference to the Muslims and any thought any of them may have of tapping into it for their own use. While the Christians can do what they want, Muslims have no such room to maneuver.
That is because there are no priests or "holy" people of any kind in Islam.
That means, according Islam, all humans are created equal. This was the principle that Thomas Jefferson chose to guide his thinking on the Declaration of Independence. It was a principle that Jefferson, and his fellow Enlightenment thinkers in Europe, in all probability, must have borrowed from Islam. Sadly, without giving Islam or Muslims any credit.
They often used to refer to Muslims as Turks in those days.
No Holy Humans, Only a Fistful of Dust
According to Islamic teachings, no human being, however special or exalted, can be "holy." Not you and I; not our leaders of any kind or category; not the Prophet of God himself, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Kullukum min Aadam, said the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in a public speech that he delivered at Makkah before tens of thousands of his devoted male and female followers.
Paraphrase: "You are all descended from Adam."
And then the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, proceeded to make clear the essence of a human being's birth and origin.
He said: Wa Aadam min turaab.
Paraphrase: "And Adam's origin is dust."
What a beautiful echo of the Biblical teaching of "Dust thou art!"
Message to Muslims
Nor did Allah ever mince words in the Qur'an, when he commanded his prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to go to the people and "Say: I am only a human being like you."
This eliminates all room for all aspirations or imputations of all forms and measures of "holiness" to anyone born of a woman. Anyone who traces his or her lineage to the fistful of dust that our common ancestor Adam, Allah bless him, was.
Of course, many Muslims, especially the more recent ones among them, including the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah, sat on this most revolutionary doctrine of human equality and did not much bother to share it with the rest of the human family.
So, my message - Payaam - to my beloved Muslim brothers and sisters in America and elsewhere when it comes to the use of titles like Imam: Cease and desist, ladies & gentlemen, cease and desist!
Let Islam be, as someone I know once put it. Go find your cheap thrills elsewhere.
But my message - Payaam - to Muslims, when it comes to their larger role in this world? It does not have to exceed one word: Balligh!
Paraphrase: Go, convey to the world the beautiful message of Islam that God Almighty sent down to his prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Or, if you prefer: Fad'u wastaqim kamaa umirta.
Paraphrase: Invite people to the life-giving message of Islam, just as you were told to do, and do not waver.
How much clearer does it get?
© 2007 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.