By M A C M Jawahir –
Islam always gives preference to knowledge. It guides human through its principles based on knowledge. The content of the holy Quran consists of knowledge on world’s vital fields like Science, Medicine, and law and so on. For a human who approaches Quran seeking knowledge, it’s a wonderful source of knowledge. Guiding people with changes of time, and giving perfect solutions to problems faced by human at any point throughout the time-line, from the past into the future, is the uniqueness of Quran, the word of almighty Allah. This special feature of the book of Allah, which is not seen in any other religion, is much-admired even by non – Muslim scholars.
We have witnessed in the recent past that the hate campaigns and violence unfolded against Muslims in Sri Lanka have gradually grown, and at the current context, they have taken an atrocious shape to the extent of destroying their houses, businesses, properties and even killing them. A group of extremist Buddhist monks and politicians, with a definite agenda to shatter the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, brand them as ‘Muslim Extremist elements’. They say the Muslim extremists are a threat to the Sinhala community.
The worrying fact is that their venomous campaigns are often organized in rural Buddhist temples with the view of diverting the innocent Buddhists against Muslims. Though, these campaigns have not had a bigger influence over the majority of Buddhists who are very precise in extracting truth from the made up, it’s true, and sad to note, that these monks have been able to attract a small portion of people, mostly thugs and ‘people with corrupt interests’, to their fold. It is this group that has staged the recent violence against Muslims.
Even though the violence has besieged the entire Muslim community in Sri Lanka, the monks who have been instrumental for the recent mayhem repeatedly say that they have not been against the ‘traditional Muslims’ but are strong in opposing the existence of ‘Islamic extremism’ in the country. To justify their ‘finding’ or to elaborate on their term ‘Islamic extremism’, they mostly talk about the increase of Muslim women wearing ‘Nikab’ or Hijab; implementation of Halal certification system, increase of mosques in certain areas of the country, changing appearance of Muslim males and the increasing enthusiasm among Muslims to practice Islam.
It is observed that the extremist monks and their allies unnecessarily fear about these changes. It’s generally comprehensible that these people have in fact failed to observe the history – long ‘journey towards Islam’ by HUMAN, without any differences, whether they are Muslims or Non-Muslims.
As we are aware, with the rapid advancement of information technology within a very short span of time, the knowledge of science, medicine, technology etc., has developed. As pointed out earlier in this article, Islam is a religion which is knowledge based. Hence, Islamic knowledge too has advanced; has become more influential on people.
Even in the past, Islam has been in existence, Islamic scholars have been there. But, there has been no proper media to spread Islam. Hi-tech communicative gadgets accessible by almost all, as in the present, have not been there. The knowledge of an Islamic scholar had been confined only to a small region or a surrounding. There was no any easy way that could carry a message about an Islamic research to an average Muslim in a corner of the world.
But now, the situation is not so. Message from the best Islamic scholars spread all over the world within seconds. Updates about researches on Quran and Islam by Muslims or non-Muslim researchers are conveyed in no time to every nook and corner of the world. Like the human knowledge developed on par with the rapid advancement of the information technology, Islamic knowledge too has advanced among people.
Whether it could be American, European or even Far Eastern countries, it is the impact of the spread of Islamic knowledge that has led the ‘human’ everywhere to march towards Islam. It is the same impact that has encouraged the existing Muslims too to practice their religion with more passion and devotion, that is, the advancement of information technology and the consequent spread of Islam in its true form is the contributory factor to the present keenness of people around the world to practice Islam with much more interest.
It is therefore not possible to Sri Lankan Muslims to stay spared from the rest of the Muslim world in practicing the religion in its true form. It is the reality and branding them as Islamic extremists merely because they follow their religion well is a lamentable situation and it clearly reflects on the ignorance of the particular group of monks and their associates. They must understand that it is not possible to control the spread of knowledge; in this case, it’s Islam, which goes with the rapid development of the information technology in this era.
Without a clear realization of this reality and the trends, unnecessarily comparing the ‘past’ with the ‘present’; fearing that Islam would surpass Buddhism in Sri Lanka, attempting to destroy their businesses, houses, properties of Muslims and their lives are not wise options.
*The writer could be contacted via his email id: firstname.lastname@example.org