On Dealing with the Dark Side of the Maulanas
On Dealing with the Dark Side of the Ummah
The darkness we see in the Maulanas and Muslim community comes from our own selves.
By Rayhan al-Safawi
I’ve known quite a few people who have refused to come to the Masjid because of all the dark things they’ve seen in the ummah or community (or body) of Muslim believers. To keep īmān (faith) in this context is a difficult task. The mistake that we make is that this darkness is not separate from us. It is the result of our own sins and the overall fallen nature of the world. It is the part of us that still remains in the darkness, the part which has not come into Allah’s light.
God is near unto those who have faith, taking them out of deep darkness into the light (Chapter 2, verse 257 of the Qur’an)
The most difficult task for a believer is dealing with the darkness when it manifests itself in the form of clerics, namely the imams, imams or “maulanas” of the center. When we understand this darkness for what it truly is, we will realize that it does not come from the light of God but from our greatest enemy, the outcast enemy of God and humanity: Satan. His attack on the ummah (body of believers) is the result of an ancient fossilized hatred he’s carried from time immemorial. When maulanas or sheikhs act in ways that are shameful, we find ourselves wondering whether or not Islam as a religion is even true. When the ummah fails us, be it in the form of maulanas, or even the supposedly pious and leading members in the Masjid (Mosque), we feel betrayed and simply want to run away. Any option, even places that are haram to go become a better alternative.
Members of the community who perceive this may see the ummah as no different than any other institution or community of people (corporations, political organizations etc.) Instead of seeing the community as sick and in need of healing, they will see themselves as having been wronged and abused and as a consequence will feel alienated. But our corruption, whether in or out the Mosque, or the ummah, is directly the result of our own fallen nature and the scheming of the Devil.
When we look at our common enemy, namely this dark side, it isn’t really about the ummah or the Masjid we go to, it is about ourselves and our failure to submit our hearts to Allah. This submission is what is called Islam. It is in this submission that shifā’ (healing of the soul) will take place. This is the point where we will stop blaming this or that “maulana” but begin blaming ourselves. This dark side comes from our own selves and it is we who must act in accordance with the message of the Qur’an. It is our sins that are responsible for the darkness currently present in the ummah.
When we confront our short comings and blame only ourselves for the darkness that exists in the ummah, we bring in the nūr or light of Allah into our lives and that of the community. The psychological effect of this attitude is that we are no longer able to see the sins of others, at least in its first impression, as our focus is on ourselves. When our focus becomes our own faults, we begin to see the good and light in others and not just their shortcomings. More importantly, this attitude will make us better our own behavior and like a domino effect, it will inevitably affect others and perhaps even some of the maulanas themselves.
It is this attitude that emerges us out of the darkness. Love for others and the ummah will begin to sprout out of the heart again and we will learn through experience that Allah allowed us to suffer and be humiliated so that he would make us stronger again. When we learn this, we will know that He allows us to go through pain in order to make us stronger. Just like the child who is overprotected does not grow into wisdom and power, Allah will allow us to suffer the darkness so that we too may become loving, forgiving and compassionate servants.
Rayhan al-Safawi is a blogger at the World Shia Forum. He lives with his family in the West Coast, United States.