The clear and basic reason of this is that, this populace- no longer a Nation- is neither Mu’men nor Muslim and far from being the Ummat-e- Muhammadi, it is supposed to be and as it claims to be. The Islam, which was sent to mankind by Allah through His last Messenger and the present day Islam, is not only two entirely different things but these are two contradictory opposite things. These two look more or less alike, but inside these are different and opposite things. It is like a person you knew many years before as an honest, god fearing gentleman whom you could trust in any circumstance and you meet him after long years who for some reasons, some occurrences in his life has formed into an Atheist, vile and corrupt person. You would recognize him as the same person from his outward look and appearance but who has changed into not only a different but entirely opposite person. Or as an example, two trees looking alike, its leaves branches are more or less the similar, but the trees bear entirely two different kinds of fruits; one sweet, delicious and the other bitter offensive shelling fruits. Now can these two trees be the same kind just because they look alike?
This is what has happened to the Din (system of living in this world/ code of life) that has been sent to mankind to live by, to conduct our lives; personal and collective lives by the Creator Himself. Through the centuries, the Din has slowly changed like the man I have mentioned, who is more or less similar to his old self to look at, but his soul has died and his character has changed completely and now he is an entirely different person inside. Yet the Din–e-Huq that the last Messenger established in Arabia, and which his immediate followers spread over half of the then world and the present day din is taken to be the same one, the same tree though like the two trees I have mentioned behind, these two trees bearing entirely different fruits.
These are three basic reasons of this unfortunate state. The very first one is wrong perverted Aqaed, secondly the misconception about Tawheed and finally misunderstanding about Eabadat.
Wrong Perverted Aqaed
It is stated and accepted throughout the Muslim world that, if the Aqida of a person or a group of people or a nation is wrong, then his/her/their Iman (Faith, belief) is worthless, meaningless. Once, one’s Iman is gone, it follows that, all his Amal (activities, pious deeds) are also washed away worthless, because all Amal are based on the Iman (Belief, Faith). This statement, opinion is agreed upon and accepted by all factions, sects in Islam. This is one of the few articles, which are accepted by even Sunni & Shiite Mazhabs, and all things different tariqahs (Sects).
The fact that wrong Aqaed (plural of Aqida) render a person’s or a nation’s the very Faith and hence all his/their good Amal futile indicates the tremendous gravity and importance of it. It seems, in fact it is more important than the Iman (Faith, Belief) itself, as its wrong perception can render one’s whole lifetime of pious works (Amal–e- Swalehan) futile. Notwithstanding all these differences of opinions in other subjects, all ulemas (Learned in religion) of all Mazhabs (Factions) and Firqahs (Sects) and even Shiite and Sunnis are unanimous on this opinion.
What is Aqida, or its plural Aqaed? The prevailing opinion in the ‘Muslim’ world is that Aquida means Iman (Belief, Faith). Unfortunately, this is wrong and this wrong idea is one of the reasons of the perversion and fall of this Millat (Nation). Given the gravity and importance of the Aqida, which in a sense surpasses the Iman (Belief, Faith) itself, it is clear that wrong opinion about it would destroy the Nation, or at least lead it astray, away from its goal, rendering meaningless its own existence like a bullet missing its mark. Aqida cannot be Iman. Iman and Aqida are entirely two different words from two different roots and meaning two different things. The meaning of the word Iman is belief, Faith and meaning of the word Aqida is knot. This word Aqida is also used in wedding, marriage as Aqd, i.e. knotting two persons, a man and a woman in a knot. In Islam it means idea about a subject-and correct Aqida means the correct idea about the goal, purpose of Islam, correct idea about why Allah has created this Universe, this earth, this mankind, Malaekhs (Angels), Iblis (Devil), Adam and why He blew His own soul into him, His Messenger, hell and Heaven.
What is the purpose of creating all these things? What after all, He wants, expects from us, mankind. To have an idea about all these in a nutshell is Aqida. If idea about the purpose, goal or all these things is wrong, then all Amal (work, labor etc) are in vain useless. Aqida can be described as “Comprehensive Conception”; idea about a particular thing, a subject about the purpose of its creation, why it has been created and what is expected of it. If this idea is not correct then that thing is rendered useless and if the idea is correct, then that is useful and will serve its purpose. That is why the early Mu’men (believer) have opined that wrong Aqida about Islam rendered everything, even the Iman itself worthless, meaningless, and futile and that opinion is still prevailing.
To understand the subject more clearly, let us take the case of a car. A car is manufactured with only one purpose- to carry people from one place to another; no other. Its engine, wheels and chassis have been made to make it mobile. Steering wheel has been made to control its direction so that the people carried can reach their destination. To make the journey comfortable, seats have been made. To make the journey more comfortable air conditioner has been fitted. To make the journey enjoyable, cassette/CD players have been fitted too. Finally, to make the car look beautiful, it has been painted with nice color. Now in spite of all these addition and fittings the basic and main purpose of manufacturing the car is to carry people from one place to another. If one fails to understand the purpose of the car, then that car is useless, meaningless thing to him. Let us proceed further. Suppose you present me with a brand new car. You also supply me with a manual in which it is explained how I should look after the car so that it remains in excellent condition and gives me long trouble-free service. Now, suppose that I have greatest regards, respect and love for you, so I give great value to your present, gift and consider it a precious thing.
Yet another example, or similitude, take flowers and garland. A garland consists of flowers, yet it’s a different thing. You run a thread through a number of flowers and put the two ends of the thread together and tie the knot, and it becomes a different thing- a garland is that you can wear around your neck that you couldn’t do with the flowers. That know make the garland, without that knot there can’t be any garland. That is what is meant by the word Aqida whose root is Aqd i.e. knot. Without that knot all flowers would be strewn around and there will be no garland.
But suppose, I do not know for what purpose the car has been machine has been manufactured or why you have presented it to me. In that case, what will happen? I shall closely look at the car and try to find out what to do with it. When I shall see the comfortable seats I shall think this car has been made to sit and relax. Similarly, when I shall see the air conditioner, I shall think that this is to make my relaxation more comfortable in the hot seasons. The cassette and C.D. player will make me think that these are fitted for my enjoyment while I relax on the comfortable seats, and the radio for news, to keep me informed about what is going on in the world.
In such a case what shall I do? Since I consider the car a precious gift from a great person I shall be very careful about it. Keeping it in a garage and whenever I am hot and tired would go to the garage, sit in the car, put on the A/C, relax and listen to music or news. Since I value the car much, as it is a gift from you, whom I adore, I shall take much care of it, read and follow the instructions in the manual meticulously. Wash and clean the car periodically grease and oil the points mentioned in the manual, fill the tank with correct fuel, put the right oil in the gear case, even paint the body of it with same color if by chance any part of it is damaged. But since my Aqida (Comprehensive Concept) about the purpose of the car is wrong, the whole idea of presenting me with it is useless, worthless and meaningless. That is why it is accepted among all the learned of Islam, that if Aqida about Islam is wrong then everything including even the Iman (Belief, Faith) and the following all Amal (actions, prayer, spending, pilgrimage, fasting and all other) are waste.
Besides the car being useless, as it is not doing the work it was manufactured for i.e. carrying people from one place another, there will be some more consequences. I shall have wrong priorities about the different parts of the car. To me, the seats will be of more importance than the engine, the Cassette and C.D. player more than the wheels, the radio more than the steering wheel, as I do not know the main purpose that the car is made for.
For more understanding of the Aqida, I can put forth the well-known story of five blind men visiting the elephant. They could not see so felt the elephant’s different parts with their hand and later fell into dispute about the elephant. The one who felt the trunk said that the elephant was like a Python snake. The one who felt the legs was sure that the elephant was like a pillar of a house. Oh, no, would say another who felt the abdomen the elephant is undoubtedly like a huge drum. You all are wrong insisted the fifth one-Elephant is like a big whip, which felt the tail of the elephant. None had seen the whole elephant, only the parts of its body, so none had correct Aqida about the elephant and its purpose, like the person who didn’t know that the purpose of the car and so couldn’t use it for that purpose.
Yet again take the example of thousand of building in a city. The buildings are more or less similar to look at. All are buildings made of steel and concrete having a foundation, walls, roof, doors and windows.
But every one is for a different purpose. Some are residential, to live in; some are hospitals; some are educational institutions; some are shops; mosques churches, temples etc. Now, correct Aqida is to know correctly which building is for what purpose. A person with wrong Aqida will enter a hospital for renting for residence, or enter into a church for medical treatment or enter into a school or college to buy a T.V. or a toaster and meet with trust taking disappointment. Another with correct Aqida will not to do so, he will enter the right building for the right purpose.
So Aqida is not Iman (Belief, Faith). Aqida is knowledge about a certain thing; matter or object, goal and what are expected of it. And correct Aqida is to know that correctly and Iman is belief, surely and certainly on the Aqida. Aqida and Iman are two different things though these two are symbiotic, riveted together.
Let us go back for a short time, to the similitude of the car. Suppose that the car is the Islam and the manual supplied with it is the Quran and the correct Hadis. If we have wrong Aqida about why Islam has been created what is its purpose and goal, what its Creator, Allah expects of it, then what we would do? Like the person who was presented with the car and who did not know that it was manufactured to carry people from one place to another and so kept it immobile in the garage and meticulously followed the instructions in the manual for its upkeep, we do not know the purpose of Islam, kept it immobile, confined in the mosques and khankas (cloisters) and trying our best for its upkeep by meticulously following its manual, the Quran and the Hadis. The consequence of this is that at present Aqida of a part of the people who profess Islam is that strictly and meticulously abiding by the personal shariahs (do’s and don’ts rules, laws) is the purpose of Islam and hardly anything to do with souls. Another part has nothing to do with that their Aqidas that they would get salvation by cleaning their souls of all sins by certain spiritual process (tariqahs). Still another parts, which have been educated in secular schools, colleges and universities established by Christian Occupation forces, have nothing to do with either of the Aqidas. They only have a vague Aqida about Islam as a religion. Besides these main divisions, there are many more Aqidas about Islam, all wrongs. Hence the state and condition of this populace called Muslim is what it is today.
Aqida is like the rudder of a ship or a boat. Today the ship of Islam is floating on the sea without its rudder and is baffled by strong winds and waves from all directions, without any idea of its port.
Now, what is the correct Aqida of Islam? Aqida is the comprehensive Concept about the goal, purpose of Islam.
Some people confront me with the question why I am giving so much importance to Aqida since Allah has not mentioned it in the Qur’an at all when He has mentioned the Iman so many times. My answer to them is that the thousands of volumes written on Aqida in the last thirteen hundred years has been written by people who are accepted by the Muslim world as the most learned in Din-Imams, Ulemas, Allamas doctors etc and not by me. If Aqida is so unimportant that Allah has not mentioned it in His Quran then why all those most learned men have written thousands of volumes on that? The answer is that, there are some very important things, which are taken granted without mentioning. Aqida is such a subject. To understand it, let us revert to the example of the car. When one is presented with a car or bought one, along with it a manual is supplied in which all instructions, advises are given in detail for maintenance and up keeping of the car. But nowhere in the manual it is written that this machine has been manufactured for taking people from one place to another, as it is obvious, doesn’t need to be mentioned or explained. In the Qur’an Allah has not mentioned Aqida for exactly the same reason the car manufacturers have not written it down in the manual the purpose of the car i.e. carry people from place to place.