Lessons from #SaveMaryam: Major Reforms Needed of Masjids
For some who have seen the video, it may have been a very worrying eye opener. The video claims that 2 million Muslims in Indonesia are converting to Christianity every year. The exact number is disputable as they even say in their Youtube description that it is for demonstration purposes, but there has been a long standing problem of aggressive evangelical Christianity being pushed in Muslim neighbourhoods.
Most Muslims would immediately point the finger of blame at Christians for this. The use of Islam’s words, such as “Allah” or “Imaan” for their own agenda may seem sickening to some, but are these concepts exclusive to Islam, even though they may be in Arabic? Also, the video highlights that they are doing only what the Imams and Masjids should be doing, that is, catering for the everyday needs of the youth and the future of their faith.
This only shows that it is not a battle of faiths between Christianity and Islam, but rather it is simply Christians opportunistically making the most of the situation, whilst the Imams and Masjids continuing to take it lying down and doing nothing about it (as is so typical of non-political Muslims).
Political Muslims, who have pushed for reform of these Masjids know how hard it is to even get the average Masjid to listen. All they are met with are excuses and pointing of fingers. They blame the youth for deviating whilst in turn completely ignoring their own responsibility in bringing them up as proper, upright Muslims. Their reluctance to change is phenomenal, given that one is only asking them what Islam asks of them.
The Prophet (pbuh) used to take any opportunity to empower the youth, as they were the future leaders of Islam. It is not difficult to conduct a khutbah that is not only relevant to Muslims' lives but also in a language that they can understand. After all, it is how it was intended in the Sunnah. Nor is it hard to set up a counselling helpline for the youth, especially with the amount of money that flows into these Masjids. So why does the Save Maryam campaign have to plead for money from Muslims internationally? Where is all that money going? Its obviously not going towards the youth.
Whilst the Save Maryam campaign seems like a noble one, it only offers an emergency and short term solution. The root of the problem are the Masjids themselves. Muslims tend to view these establishment with a degree of holy invincibility. As a result, accountability, something so core to Islam, goes straight out of the window.
Our religious leaders have watered down our Islam to be one of heavy ritualism to the point of addiction. We see very little leadership, pro-activity and accountability in our religious establishment. Nor do we see them really speaking out on real issues that Islam demands them to prioritise. On top of that, most are just little more than an empty prayer hall. Dead of community and void of essence.
Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (Radiallahu anhu) said: “Islam will be destroyed by the mistakes of scholars, the arguments of the hypocrites who misinterpret the Qur’an to support their views and misleading rulers.”
Mahd as-Sawab, 2/717
Is it not time we, as an Ummah, started seeing our scholars as humans and ask them why they are doing such an awful and insanely useless job for the Ummah and Islam? Do we continue to be a simple battery in the system that just pays into it whilst expecting nothing in return? We have let them ignore their duties to our community and to the Ummah long enough. Surely the time of politeness has passed.