The first 80 or so years after the Prophet (peace be upon him) were the best time in all human history to live. Pure, true, uncorrupted Islam was practiced and spread. In His Infinite Wisdom, Allah revealed the Quran in Arabic to the Arabic-speaking people. These same people had only to hear the Qur’an and immediately they understood its significance. The greatest thing in their culture was their depth of understanding of the pure Arabic language. Islam thus transformed them into the most outstanding civilizations of all time. Wherever Islam spread, naturally the Arabic language was learned and hence the doors to Islamic knowledge were opened. Indeed the love for learning and spreading true knowledge was an essential part of life.

Through the ages and the ebb and flow of time, Islamic resurgence continues – parallel to the obedience or disobedience of the people. The moment the individual and hence the society, lets go of the Trustworthy Handhold; the moment they feel self-reliant; the moment they choose to knowingly disobey Allah, the Creator of all – that, is the moment when the ever-waiting tides of evil will overcome the ‘Islam ‘ of the people, for true Islam is submission and obedience to Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him).

Today a lot of Muslims are a fragmented group, reveling in nationalism, self-glorification, and desire for the world. They often carry their Islam as a kind of insurance card, ready to use it when necessary, thinking that their recitation of the Shahadah (testimony of faith) will alone save them from the evil consequences of their deeds.

We hear about Islamic culture in this pro-multicultural world of the new age as if Islam is a cloak we choose to wear while other people’s cultures are deemed equal in beauty and truth. But is Islam really a culture? We have Turkish culture, Lebanese culture, Asian culture, and Western culture and then we have Islam. Islam is ‘the ‘ way of life prescribed by the Creator for His creatures. It contains no man-made elements; the choice remains either in obedience or disobedience to the Creator.

Unfortunately, however, throughout the world, we have the notion of ‘culture’ seeping through to the mosques and those who desire to govern them. Each ethnic group believes it has a more legitimate right to lead, govern and control.

In this process, the beauty of Islam the spiritual and practical manifestation of the love and fear of Allah – courage, loyalty, forbearance, trustworthiness, honesty, punctuality, and piety have been squeezed out of modern-day ‘cultural Islam. ‘

The Arabic language is no longer sought after like before, and understanding the Qur’an in Arabic is no longer a priority. In doing so, we have lost the true essence of the Qur’an!

How much thinking is controlled by family and societal expectations, which contain a smattering of superficial Islamic manners and ‘traditions’, acting as a facade against self-centered nationalism?

Come on! Let’s shake off the shackles of cultural thinking, nationalist pride, and love of the West and sincerely follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) who was sent by Allah the Almighty to be our example.

Let’s turn to the Creator. Put our foreheads on the ground in humility and obedience and then, I’m sure, that Allah will turn in His Mercy to those who truly seek His pleasure.