A while ago an artile on islamonline caught my attention. A global poll was conducted by America’s Foreign Policy and Britain’s Prospect magzines, to pick the world’s top intellectuals and thinkers who are changing the world in our times.
RESULTS: all top ten intellectuals were muslims, including great scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, turkish thinker and scholar Fethullah Gülen, Egypt’s charismatic Day’ee Amr Khaled, famous scholar and grandson of Hasan AL-Banna- Tariq Ramadan, a Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, Iranian Philosopher Abdulkarim Soroush, Iranian Lawyer and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, and Ugandan anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani.
Most of the above names are well known, and alhamdulillah many of them are the contemporary scholars of our time, others great callers of Islam.
However, the reason of this post is the man who was voted in as the Fifth World’s top intellectuals, Aitzaz Ahsan, the Pakistani Lawyer, writer, human rights activist, and currently the man leading the movement for th ere-instatement of judges in Pakistan.
He truly is a source of inspiration, a rare gem, and one of the unsung heroes of Pakistan. Unfortunately, muslims around the world have mostly misunderstood islam, and have made it a religion of beard, hijab, salah, fasting, hajj and zakah (charity). All these are now considered a sign of islam, and vigourously practised during Ramadan. I am not denying the importance of the rituals of islam, I believe in all of them as well, and yes they are an integral part of a muslim’s life, especially salaah (prayer). But we have forgotten that Islam stands first and foremost for Justice.
When we don’t pray, we are being unjust to ourselves by denying our bodies and hearts their right to worship the only God, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and condemn oursleves for the punishment saved for the arrogants in the akhira. When we don’t pay charity, we take the rights away from the poor and our own family by not purifying our income, when we break the laws of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, we do great injustice upon ourselves and on others.
If this is the case with duties that personally pertain to us, individually, then what about the injustice and the violation of rights of human beings. How come most of the human right abuses take place in the muslim world, why are the women killed in the name of honor and their blood is made halal in the name of islam. Why people from amongst ourselves are willing to strap explosives and kill innocents whether muslims or non-muslims in the name of islam. And why is there a total absence of a sound justice system in the entire muslim world?
The great scholar Sheikh Ibn-Taymiyyah had remarked centuries ago that the Sunnah of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is that the land will be given to the one who is just, and so a just non-muslim ruler will be given dominance over an unjust muslim ruler. And we know this to be true.
Coming back to Aitzaz Ahsan, here is the place to get more info on him: http://www.aitzazahsan.com/
Poetry he wrote while in detention:
Kal Aaj or Kal
Kal Aaj or Kal (Part 2)