In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
As-salamu 'alaykum wa ramatullahi wa barakatuhu
It is unfortunate that Muslims in many parts of the world are practising a mixture of many un-Islamic practices which find no basis in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. In the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent there has crept into the practice of Islam the influences of Hinduism, Bhakthi-movement, idol-worship, degenerated forms of Sufism and so on and so forth. In many parts of Africa, the remnants of paganism, cult-worship and celebration of pagan festivals and fetish practices are practiced side by side with Islam.
In some Arab countries and the Maghrib, people have evolved their own peculiar, form of Islam, which finds no support or sanction in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The practices which have been condemned by the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, are being upheld by some people, by giving them religious flavor. This type of Islam is found in all countries where the Muslim dwells.
The Prophet in his final Hajj message: "O people, I leave behind two things. If you hold fast to them, you will never go astray: the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." Hence, the true revival of our Ummah can be achieved by no other means than that which the Messenger of Allah asked us to do. Allah has also asked the Prophet to declare that the touchtone of the love of Allah is the obedience to the Messenger.
"Say, if you love Allah, then follow me , Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Al-Qur'an 3:31]
In the face of attacks on Islam by the disbelievers, some Muslims turn to the defensive with an inner feeling of defeat as they try to show that Islamic values are no different from western ones. If they are told that the Islamic political system is dictatorial, they respond by trying to show that it is democratic. If they are told that Islam is spread with jihad, they respond that Muslims fought only to defend themselves when attacked. If they are told that there is a problem with the status of women in Islam, they try to prove that Islam allows polygamy only under strict conditions, which most men do not fulfill and hence they conclude it is virtually not allowed.
Such apologetic attitudes should be put behind us. Islam is a way of life given to us by Allah, it cannot be put on the same level as other man-made ideologies or corrupted revelations. Muslims should have enough confidence in themselves to go on the offensive rather than stay on the defensive like an accused person. When Quraysh accused the Muslims of violating the sanctity of the sacred months on the occasion of the fight between the Muslim brigade of 'Abdullah ibn Jahsh and the disbelievers, Allah revealed: "They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (these are the 1st, 7th,and 12 months of Islamic calendar). Say: 'Fighting therein is a great transgression but a greater transgression in the Sight of Allah is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allah, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and polytheism is worse than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion. If they can. And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds wil lbe lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever." [Al-Qur'an 2:217] This is how the Qur'an argues with the disbelievers. The Qur'an starts attacking them on their greatest crime: their disbelief in Allah and their association of partners with Him. One should not present a false interpretation of our religion for he purpose of pleasing the disbelievers.
Some Muslims today try to hide their Islamic identity for fear of being labeled a 'fundamentalist'. Men are shaving their beard and women are trying to make their hijab look like the latest fashion. If presented with food or drink that is haram, they say we are full at the moment, or they say we do not like that particular food. Only few say that they cannot eat it because it is unlawful in Islam. This is not the way the companions of the Prophet behaved. When the companions accepted Islam, they became proud of it and felt that all other ideologies and ways of the life are inferior to that which has been revealed to them from above the seven heavens.
In the battle between the Muslims and the Persians, Rostom, the leader of the Persian army, asked to negotiate with the Muslims. Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, the Muslim leader in that battle, sent a group of companions among which was Rib'a ibn Amir. The Persian leader prepared a magnificent reception in order to impress those 'bedouins' and weaken their position. The Persian asked Rib'a to enter without his arms. He refused and entered with his arms and his horse and tied his horse nest to Rostom. Rostom asked: "What brings you?" Rib'a said: "Allah has sent us to convert mankind from the worship of people to the worship of Allah and from the narrowness of this life to its wideness and from the oppression of the religions to the justice of Islam. Allah has sent us to His religion. Whoever accept it, we accept from Him and whoever refuses, we fight him until we get the promise of Allah." "And what is His promise?" asked Rostom. "Paradise for those who die and victory for those who survive," answered Rib'a. Rostom said: "Can you delay this matter until we think about it?" Rib'a answered: "Yes. How many days do you need, one or two?" Rostom said: "More. Until I write to my people." Rib'a said: "We can't. Our Prophet does not authorize us to delay our enemies more than three days. So make up your mind!"
This companion came from a society which was materially far behind the Persian empire. Nevertheless he had himself the seed of Truth and righteousness that allowed him not to be distracted or impressed with the glamour surrounding the disbelievers. Civilization starts with the correct belief and faith. The material aspects of civilization will come later on as a by product. On the other hand, the disbelievers, no matter how materially advanced he might be, is an uncivilized person and bears in his sould the germs of his own destruction. This is why you should TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR RELIGION. This is why YOU SHOULD TAKE PRIDE IN ISLAM.
It is the bounden duty of every Muslim to mutually co-operate in the work of daw'ah, preaching and teaching the faith taught by the Messenger of Allah. Those practices (Sunnah) of the Prophet which are lost and have gone out of practice, due to the weakness of the Ummah must be revived, taught and propagated to the world at large. The work of daw'ah in reality begins with the reformation of one's own self and then the message is taken to everyone. In daw'ah, one is bound to face obstruction and encounter difficulties. Such person should excercise the utmost patience, constancy and endurance during hours of trial and tribulation. The revival of the Sunnah must first be established in one's home, then one's family, friends, society and the Ummah at large. The work of revival and the practices of the Prophet the Sunnah will automatically bring about the destruction of bi'dah, the devilish innovations which have crept into the lives of Muslims everywhere, due to various influences both within and without.
"Where you to obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's path. They follow nothing but conjectures and they do nothing but lie." [Al-Qur'an 6:116]
"It is not right for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any choice about their decision. And whosoever disobey Allah and His Messenger he has indeed gone astray." [Al-Qur'an 33:36]