How should this Political advice of Hadhrat Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Nadwi (Rahmatullah alayh) be interpreted?


Please comment on the following advice of Hadhrat Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Nadwi (Rahmatullah alayh):

“If political understanding is not created in the Muslim Ummah, then what will happen in this land (i.e. India)?

Besides the five times Salaat, if the nation is induced to be 100% observant of even Tahajjud Salaat, but there is no awakening in them of political understanding, and if they are not made aware of the conditions of the country, then it is quite possible that, leave alone Tahajjud, that even the five daily Salaat will be prohibited.”

How should this advice be interpreted?


The advice of Hadhrat Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Nadwi (Rahmatullah alayh) is far, very far off the target set for the Ummah by Allah Ta’ala via His Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

The Hadhrat’s emphasis on political perception is misdirected and due to short-sightedness. He has further failed to understand what the fundamental objective of Islam is. Regarding political perception, in this age every Tom, Dick and Harry – every illiterate village dweller – and the vast majority of Muslims in every country are politicized. They are ‘experts’ in the politics of the age.

This politically charged Ummah in fact condemns those Ulama who advocate against participation in politics. It is the vast majority of the Ummah in every Muslim country who votes into power fussaaq, munaafiqeen and kuffaar to be the rulers. The press, television and the internet have educated the entire Ummah in the lesson of politics to such an extent that their Imaani bearings are severed. Today the vast majority of the politicized Ummah is in fact kuffaar. It comes in the Hadith:
“An age will dawn when the people will gather in their Musaajid and perform Salaat while not a single one among them will be a Mu’min.”

The Ummah is trapped in a cauldron of zandaqah, kufr and nifaaq. And, all of them do generally perform Salaat despite not being valid Muslims. Hence, the call of the times is to rectify Islamic Beliefs and to reform the rotten moral character of the Ummah. But moral reformation is possible only on the bedrock of valid Aqaaid. Islaah of the nafs is not possible on the basis of corrupt beliefs. In the initial period of Nubuwwat in Makkah, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) concentrated on only Aqaaid, Salaat and Islaah. Nothing else was entertained. Discussing politics/Jihaad was expressly forbidden by Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

If the Salaat of Muslims is discharged correctly on the basis of correct Aqaaid, then the Ummah will achieve moral reformation to a substantial degree. Salaat performed correctly will engender in the hearts the yearning for the Aakhirah. It will slacken the worldly bond and Muslims will then focus more on Allah Ta’ala and the objectives of the Aakhirah.

When a morally reformed Ummah has perfected its relationship with Allah Ta’ala, then He will create the circumstances for the domination of Muslims. The very such circumstance created by Allah Ta’ala was the Battle of Badr which was not a planned Jihad. The Sahaabah did not go out to fight the kuffaar. However, Allah Ta’ala created the circumstances whereby their backs were against the wall and the enemy in front of them. They had no option to fight nor the inclination to fight. But in Allah’s Wisdom they were now qualified for Jihad.

It is indeed a grievous error in this age for the Ulama to concentrate on politics and to divert the already deviated minds of the masses languishing in the necrosis of corrupt ideologies and convoluted ‘islamic’ beliefs, from the goals of the Aakhirah, among which Salaat is of paramount importance. In fact, the vast majority of professed Muslims, does not perform Salaat five times daily. This fact can easily be ascertained at the time of Fajr and Isha’ when all people are home.

There is no dearth of secular institutions (universities, colleges, schools, etc.) in the Muslim world which concentrate on politics and all branches of mundane education. Political discussion is of great topical importance in all sectors of Muslim society, even among the rustics and slum-dwellers. Hadhrat Nadwi (Rahmatullah alayh) has clearly misunderstood the diseases of the Ummah. His finger was not on the pulse of the Ummah hence the proffered advice is the effect of misdiagnosis.

This advice has been offered in isolation of the innumerable Ahaadith and numerous Qur’aanic Aayaat deprecating indulgence in the dunya and emphasizing the goals of the Aakhirah. The Qur’aan repeatedly proclaims: “The life of this dunya is but play and amusement whilst the abode of the Aakhirah is best for those who have intelligence. What! Do you not have intelligence?” Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily, the dunya has been created for you, but you have been created for the Aakhirah. —– Verily, this dunya is carrion.”

The emphasis of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith is on the Aakhirah. If the Aakhirah is our sole objective, Allah Ta’ala will take care of our worldly needs.

Hadhrat Nadwi’s advice of awakening the masses to political understanding is indeed a conundrum. The incremental denial of religious (Deeni) freedom even in Muslim countries, is the consequence of the transgression and rebellion of the Ummah against Allah Ta’ala. It is not the result of being ignorant of politics or of any other branch of secular knowledge.

While Hadhrat Nadwi (Rahmatullah alayh) attributed the current hopeless state of the Ummah to lack of political perception, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stated the actual reason. He said that a time will dawn when Muslims “will be like the scum of floodwaters whom the kuffaar will devour”. When he was asked if this degenerate state will be the consequence of the paucity of the numbers of the Ummah, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “On the contrary, you will be innumerable, but you will be like the muck of floodwaters. Allah will eliminate fear for you from the hearts of your enemies, and Allah will instill wahan in you hearts.”
When asked for the meaning of ‘wahan’, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Love of the world and dislike for Maut.” The advice of Hadhrat Nadwi (Rahmatullah alayh) is unfortunate in that it gravitates the Muslim’s heart and mind towards the dunya. When Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) was on his way to take possession of the City of Jerusalem, he halted at a place called Jaabiyyah where many Sahaabah and other Muslimeen came to meet him. In a khutbah at this place, he said: “O People! Reform your souls, then your external affairs will be reformed. Practice (make amal) for your Aakhirah, it will suffice for your worldly affairs.”

Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) did not proffer advice which gravitates the heart towards the dunya. The focus was and should always be the Aakhirah. The Ummah is not in need of political awareness. It is gravely in need of awareness of the Deen and of its objective, which is only the betterment and salvation in the Aakhirah.

In brief:

1) Hadhrat Nadwi (Rahmatullah alayh) has erred in his diagnosis of the condition of the Ummah.
2) His prescription of creating awareness regarding politics and assigning Salaat secondary importance is egregiously erroneous.
3) He has failed to take cognizance of the absolutely decadent moral and Imaani states of the Ummah.
4) All politics in this age is kufr politics. The need is to remain aloof from politics.
5) Political awareness is not a requisite for our success in this dunya nor for the everlasting salvation and happiness of the Aakhirah. Deeni awareness is Fardh

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