18 May, 2024


Those Jamaths Are Not Taking Us To Heaven! 

By Silma M. Ahamed

Silma M. Ahamed

Shock, disbelief, anger. Sadness, empathy, shame, fear – all raging inside. It is a turmoil of emotions that is consuming us, like the fires that destroyed beautiful lives last Easter morning. 

We have failed as Sri Lankan Muslims. Failed not because those terrorists were Muslim; if they truly were, they would never have killed, because every Muslim knows what The Almighty clearly says in the Holy Quran, that to take an innocent life is like killing all of humanity, and to save a life is like saving all of humanity. 

So if those abominable killers were not true Muslims, can we absolve ourselves of their crime? How have we failed? 

We have failed miserably, by distancing ourselves from our fellow Sri Lankans, our brothers and sisters of other faiths. We have failed to follow what Islam asks us to do, to interact with our neighbours, to share, to care, to love, to understand. And this, while we thought we were ‘educating’ ourselves to be ‘better’ Muslims, to be ‘enlightened’ Muslims, in the misguided notion that we would have an easier and faster ticket to heaven than our parents and grandparents. 

And so we gulped down blindly every word that spilt off mouths of persons who called themselves scholars. We didn’t check if what they said was true. We didn’t compare them with other interpretations. We didn’t use our own intellect to weigh what was being fed to us, to see if it went against the basic teachings of our faith. We lapped them all up, whatever that was dished out, and we aligned ourselves to the group which was most successful in invading our minds. 

And so there are groups, Jamaths, in numerous ideologies, sizes, influence and origin. We latched on to whichever that succeeded to capture our conviction. They set up their own mosques, their own madrasas, their own schools, and their own classes. 

And in the rush to ‘study’ Islam, we thought we knew more than the generations before us. We thought we were better than them. What our parents taught us was wrong. What our Islam teacher in school taught us was not sufficient. The books on Islam didn’t offer the opportunity of belonging to a Jamath, Ahadiya classes on a Sunday morning wasn’t ‘in’ as everyone around us was going for ‘classes’. We thought our parents were not good Muslims. Everyone needed extra classes, and so they attended them, from grandmothers to tiny kids. 

Now I know this comment of mine can result in angry responses being hurled at me. I also know that all these classes are not teaching extremism. But our community got so engrossed in the Akhira, the after-life, that they forgot how to live in Duniya, this life. We forgot to balance our life. To take the middle path in everything. To interact with our neighbours. Be national minded. Be Sri Lankan. It was a like a race to get to Jannah by defeating the other. Each jamath was busy trying to expand their number of followers, to outdo each other to see who was the ‘better Muslim’. In that blind and manic race, we forgot many things. We became arrogant. We became judgemental. We became selfish. And now we’re paying the price for it. Not because we became terrorists. But because we weren’t vigilant in our matters of Duniya. We distanced ourselves from others, put up walls in such a way that our children don’t have friends of other faiths, they don’t speak the languages spoken on the streets, our women don’t smile with their neighbours because the veil prevents it, we don’t honour their invitation for many superfluous reasons – halal food and haram activities, the list goes on. And we didn’t only distance ourselves from people of other faiths. We fragmented into Jamaths, building walls between families too. We were so dissected that we fought over how to pray and how to live our daily lives. 

Now we say this catastrophe is a machination of Zionists, of the West, of India, of politics, of racists… perhaps it may be so. But who is there to listen to us when we have lost our friends, the friends who would have stood by us, because we put up those walls and isolated ourselves? Now they have forgotten our old friendships because we have been separated for decades. Now they don’t know what’s happening on our side of the wall. So they believe what the machiavellians say, what the instigators say, what the opportunists say. 

Accuse me of being apologetic, but there is no point in burying our heads in the sand. There’s no point in living in denial any longer. Let’s at least now have the courage to put our house in order, tear down those walls, embrace our neighbours and remember that The Almighty created the Universe. So He would certainly want us to embrace everyone and celebrate our differences. At least now, let’s be truly Muslim. 

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Latest comments

  • 9

    This is a very good article. There may be some reasons for the changes that have taken place in recent decades that also need to be discussed but we now need to focus on the future. Your decision to write this article is a good one. Please translate it into Sinhala and Tamil and share with the general public.

  • 3

    What is the meaning of almighty if he or she or it can not predict or foresee his or her or its so called revelation may be misinterpreted in future and make whole world a hell. That means no so called Almighty is in existence at all. It is a somebody’s bullshit or big lies. Islamist do not acknowledge it in public in fear of reprisal from fellow Islamist. I feel writer is in same boat. Know very well no such Almighty is in existence but write bullshit in fear of fellow public reprisal.In Sinhalese It describe as “Ugurata Hora Beheth Kanawa Wage Wedak”‘ Taking medicine without Knowledge of Thought. Nobody can do that I suppose. Man or Women almighty is themselves.Nobody can change his or her destinies. It is upto themselves to decide If almighty concepts continue over & over again these kind of brutalities may be order of the day. .

  • 5

    Well said Silma – not sure how many Muslims are brave to say this in fear of reprisals. But you are spot on Please do translate and send out .
    There is a need for a single interpretation of the Quran- to bring it in line with the 21st century – who dares do that ? Unfortunately no other majority religion is open to such ambiguity / extremism which results in violence. Yes political ideologies have spawned extremism and violence .

    • 0

      There is no need to translate Quran. If you are going to translate God’s language you will end up with mess, because God does not have a tongue, without tongue there would be no language. Please tell your Muslim friends stop translating Quran and start helping God to maintain what he has created if such thing really exists.

  • 1

    Pleasing to read an Article written by a Muslim Brother who seems to have grasped the Reality of Life particularly in the Srilankan context.We need hundreds of Muslims to come forward and express the Truth without hiding telling us always how to be a true Muslim.All the Perpetrators of Jihadism are Muslims,true or untrue in the eyes of Allah.Pl. practice your Religion at home and leave the rest of us to do our own thing .This terrible crimes are going on and on always the same ExcuseTrue Muslims do not do those things

  • 1

    Excellent article.
    I have borne such sentiments myself but, mine has been a voice in the wilderness. We Muslim have been ostracizing ourselves instead of building bridges and breaking down barriers. All this though we are told that we ought to be ambassadors for our community.
    What Ms.Ahamed has missed out on is the quality of sermons and the mode of delivery. Preachers seem to believe that they had to spit venom and snort flames whilst admonishing the congregation and threatening them with dire consequences in the hereafter if they do not follow their dictates. To add to this,they scream menacingly like psychopaths and yet resort to the use of amplifiers.
    No doubt,in the end, many in the congregation leave disoriented and agitated.

  • 1

    A very good article but it has become a habit for many apologetic Muslims to deflect responsibility and pass it onto all sorts of non-Islamic hazy conspiracy theories like Zionist, Western, Indian mischief etc. Why not look within? What about influence of extremist teachings of Saudi Wahabism & Salafism, not to mention the terrorist influence of ISIS, Taliban, Al Queda and Pakistan based terrorist outfits, which are more realistic? Should not Sharia universities funded by Saudi Arabia being located in Sri Lanka and foreign Islamic scholars coming to teach here, be brought under the scanner?

    • 1

      Yes it should be very transparent. Secondly Muslims have been living in this country for centuries and sharia ( Law) is taught in Islamic books in all government schools and to be more precise at home too. So what more.

  • 1

    Silma, hitting the nail on the head takes bravery. Painful as it is, we as a nation must accept certain truths in our communities. You have made everything so clear that those concerned can learn immensely from these windows of knowledge you’ve opened.
    I hope the children of the future can rise above the differences and truly begin to identify themselves as SriLankans in our lifetime.
    Congratulations on a well written article.

  • 2

    Coming from a similar faith, Christianity, I felt a heavy conviction myself, when it was announced that this catastrophic event unfolded. My heart ached that we Sri Lankan Christians had not LOVED enough, to prevent or deter even the very thought of our place of worship being desecrated, or our children be considered worthy to be kept alive. We ourselves have lost our reverence for humanity’s value. And we have ALLOWED communal differences to divide us. When our Muslim brethren are attacked by racists, how many of us TRULY reached out to the community?
    Let’s start now. The mature Gen X adults must make the difference. We have all failed. Let’s make a collective effort to succeed in second chance offered.

  • 1

    Teach your children to live and let others live. Also dont brainwash them with religious nonsense. Killings in the name of God is sickness. Tell your children that your God is in you don’t take it out from your brain. Because once God comes out from your brain it will start doing his dirty work

  • 1

    Dear Silma, Well written. I am indeed happy to see that this kind of a discourse has been started by few of you within your community. We all can rise up as one nation. We should, and we need more Muslims like you who stretch your hand of brother and sisterhood towards others; i mean so called non believers.

  • 1

    It’s a very good article. Some of us, not all, have got bogged down with the hereafter ignorant of the world we live. I’m a Muslim who endeavour to live by its principles. Said that, I’m ashamed by what the so called Muslims have done. Nonetheless, one has to realise not all fingers of a palm are alike. When you are faced with atrocities, the intellects would take a pragmatic approach. The less exposed may try to take the law to their hand. When Muslim shops were gutted, villages destroyed, mosques damaged and some lives lost in the process what was the Administration then doing. Don’t forget some Churches too were damaged during this era. Therefore we need to find the root cause and address those issues. Please do not misunderstand me; I’m in no way supporting the events that took place on Easter Sunday killing innocent lives. I totally condemn the atrocities.

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