MESSAGE FOR MUSLIMS IN THE WEST
Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Rahmatullahi Alayh)
Summary of a speech delivered in Urdu at Tablighi Markaz, Dewsbury in 1982.
Your warm reception and friendliness is a source of great happiness for me.
If I do not respect your wishes and express my inner feelings, I would be
most ungrateful. If I desire, I could shower you with praises, for Almighty
Allah has bestowed me with an abundance of vocabulary, but I would not be
fulfilling the right of friendship.
As you are aware, the Prophet Sallallaho Alahi Wasallam had a burning desire
to invite humanity to accept Islam. Despite 13 years of untiring effort in
Makkatul Mukarramah and 7 years in Madinatul Munawwarah, there was no large
scale conversion of non-Muslims into Islam. However, between 7 AH and 10 AH,
after Fateh Makkah until the Prophet’s demise, there was such an influx of
people entering into Islam as was not witnessed in the preceding 20 years.
Imam Zuhri Rahmatullahi Alayh, an eminent Muhaddith and Tabee, expresses
surprise on this sea change, with so many people embracing Islam in a matter
of just 3 years. He along with other distinguished Muhaddith have commented
that this large scale conversion was due to non-Muslims having an
opportunity, for the first time, to observe and intermingle with Muslims,
witnessing their honesty, fair dealing, compassion, and their sole reliance
on Almighty Allah. This left such a deep and profound impression on
non-Muslims that thousands entered into the fold of Islam within a
relatively short period of time.
This incident also contains abundant lessons on how Muslims should live in
this country. Their conduct should be so sublime and captivating that
whosoever sees us accepts Islam. Whosoever sits with us should be inclined
towards Islam. There should be no need to convince anyone to accept the
Therefore, in this country, if you wish to live peacefully and have an
opportunity to present Islam to the host community, you will need to
inculcate and manifest sterling qualities – not just inside the Mosques -
but also outside in the streets, in the markets, in your daily activities,
and at home. A life of Taqwah will immediately attract non-Muslims towards
As an ordinary student of Islam it is my religious responsibility to warn
you. If you do not lead an upright life, if you continue to live an insular
lifestyle, and if you fail to manifest the beauty of Islam to non-Muslims,
then you face some real dangers. In such a case, there is no reason for you
to feel content and secure in this country.
If ever the fire of race, religion or nationalism rages here, then you will
not be saved. In Spain, there were Mosques a hundred times more beautiful
than yours. So do not feel content and self-satisfied. As an ordinary
student of religion, I would wish to express my joy and happiness at this
wonderful new Mosque. But how shall I congratulate you on your achievement
when the words of congratulation are self-evident on the walls. How better
can I compliment you?
Others may not speak to you as plainly, but remember the glorious
Masjid-e-Cordova still stands in Spain. Iqbal so eloquently reminisces the
great legacy of Islamic Spain in his famous poem Masjid-e-Qurtaba. In
Islamic Spain there were such brilliant Mosques, celebrated Madressahs,
famous scholars, for instance Shaykh-e-Akbar, Ibne Hazm, Qurtubi, Shatbi -
and how many others shall I mention? However, when the flames of religious
sectarianism raged, then the Mosques and Madressahs became deserted. Once
Islamic Spain boasted such magnificent structures, distinguished educational
centres, and a refined culture and society. Regrettably the Muslims, despite
such a high standard of living, did not draw the native non-Muslims of that
country to see the Truth of Islam, to warn them of the dangers of disbelief,
with the result that religious violence subsequently consumed Muslims like a
morsel. The Arabs with their glowing history, architectural splendour, vast
ocean of knowledge, were displaced from the country, and today the ears
eagerly wait to hear the Adhaan and the empty Mosques thirst for your
You must earn your place in this country. You should leave an imprint on the
host community of your usefulness. You must demonstrate your existence here
is more beneficial than that of the native people. You must impart on them
the lessons of humanity. You should demonstrate how noble and principled you
are, and that there cannot be found more upright humans elsewhere besides
you. You need to establish your worth, that you are a blessing and mercy for
this country. However if you decide to live in an enclosed environment
content with your Prayers and Fasting, apathetic to the people and society
you live in, never introducing them to the high Islamic values, and your own
personal qualities, then beware lest any religious or sectarian violence
flares up. In such a situation you will not find safety.
I pray to Almighty Allah my prediction is totally untrue and baseless.
Remember, you are guests here. Your Tabligh, Mosques, Madressahs, Ibaadah,
and religious sacrifices are all worthy of commendation. May Almighty Allah
grant you Barakah, but do not forget to earn your place in this country.
Gain mastery of the national language and become proficient so that you can
use it effectively to propagate Islam. Prepare writers and orators and,
although you will distance yourself from their religion, do not distance
yourself from them. Earn credibility through your daily activities, so much
so that if you are entrusted with onerous responsibilities, as was Prophet
Yusuf Alayhis Salaam, you do not shirk but embrace all challenges
You will have to present a new pattern of life to this country. You will not
earn recognition by exerting yourselves in the workplace. If you overwork,
you will looked upon disparagingly and be likened to horses and bulls and
labelled as money-making machines. However if you can show to the natives
here that you are worshippers of Almighty Allah and not wealth, you do not
bow before power but only before virtue, you are humans and think like
humans, you are concerned not only about yourselves but also about others,
and you are compassionate not just to your own children but also to theirs -
and to them – you are earnestly concerned about the path of destruction they
have chosen for themselves, you will then earn their respect. They will
begin to respect Islam and become desirous of studying it. They will ask you
for literature concerning Islamic beliefs and practices, and an opportunity
will arise here for you to propagate Islam.
However if you remain preoccupied in eating and working and engaged in
Prayers, indifferent to what is happening in the country, insulated within
Muslims, totally apathetic to what is happening outside, which direction the
country is taking, in such a situation if there is any trouble you will not
be able to save yourselves.
I have been meaning to convey and emphasise this message to you, because I
do not know whether I will be able visit you in the future. You gathered
here with love and affection and therefore it was easy for me. As a student
of religion it would have been convenient for me to suggest virtues of
reciting various Zikr or prescribe certain Wazifahs, but you might not have
had an opportunity of listening to the message I have just conveyed from
Please strengthen your position in this country and earn your recognition.
Do not be like a straw or crop that is uprooted by the slightest breeze. You
should be so firm that not even a hurricane is able to shift you. Display
such noble character that you enslave the natives, then see how these people
will stand to defend you. If there is the slightest opposition against you,
they will be the first ones to argue on your behalf and vouch what a
blessing you are for them.
May Almighty Allah grant us the ability to understand what is right; may He
bless and protect you. Ameen