By Syed Ilyas Basha
Shaikha Momina al-Azzam, a renowned Islamic-researcher and grand-daughter of prominent Egyptian Islamic Scholar Shaikh Ali al-Tantawi describes that those migrated in the past to the land of non-Muslims with a different civilization and practices, risked their faith and have lost path of Islam. In a report published in the media that those who had objected then to migration on that ground were labeled as fanatics, narrow-minded and backward.
She says: “The advices of saner elders then were simply over looked. Thousands of Arab-Muslim families mainly from African and Asian countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Somalia, Syria, etc. had migrated to United States, Canada, Europe, Australia in search of livelihood or for education. Some had boasted about a strong background in matters of religion, traditions and practices. Even I used to wonder and ridicule then for our own family elders’ policy of opposing such migrations. Now that I grew up and having travelled to some of such countries and interacted with those settlers, I am saluting today to the foresight and fore-warning of those noble souls”.
Shaikha Momina writes that she was recently assigned the task of looking into the impact of migration on the members of ‘RAMADHAN FAMILY’. Upon searching various places in Europe, U.S. etc, I could find out 5000 members of that clan after quite tedious work. It was shocking to note a very large number of members of following generation had met a very tragic fate in matter of faith. The following forms part of that data:
Those migrated a 100 years ago, 96% are converted to other religion.
Those migrated a 80 years ago, 75% are converted to other religion.
Those migrated a 60 years ago, 40% are now Christian.
Those migrated some 40 years ago, 25% have abandoned Islam.
She further says: “I have noted that one Shaikh had migrated to Equador in South America along with his family. He built a Mosque, ensured proper religious education to his children and seriously brought them up. Unfortunately, none from his grand children have remained Muslim today. My own grand-father Shaikh Ali al-Tantawi migrated and settled down in USA around 40 years ago. I regret to note that 16 from his own grand-children have abandoned Islam. Some 98 members of ‘Ramadhan’ clan migrated to Equador in 1923. I found all of them are Christian by religion today. I have even met some of them like George, Emily etc. I reminded them of their original faith, glorious past of their ancestors and tried to revert them back. Unfortunately, they refused to oblige,” she added.
As is well-known, Islam is not just name of a belief or faith. It offers a comprehensive way of life needed for a human being to succeed in this life and also in the everlasting life after death. Its knowledge is acquired through effort and principles are to be adhered to in practical life. Any negligence at any level is fraught with danger, risk to faith. While a lack of money or material can cause hardship in day to day life, negligence in matter of faith or practice is sure to harm ones faith. And a long, prolong insistence of that behavior, whether intentionally or un-intentionally is sure to result in getting away from path of righteous and ultimately abandoning of faith. I have seen several epitaphs in Muslims Cemeteries in some places in Australia carrying non-Muslim names, during my last visit a few years ago. It also pains to find in a family there, siblings belonging to different faiths. Changing of faith in such societies is as easy as changing of dress. Seeking of livelihood, a decent living and luxuries of world are surely neither unlawful nor undesirable in Islam. Faith of Islam for a Muslim is certainly the most important than anything else in the world.
PRESENT DAY SITUATION MORE DANGEROUS:
Hundreds and thousands of Muslims mainly from African and Asian, and migrating today to European countries, Canada, United States, Australia etc., due to political upheavals, armed conflicts and rebellions against cruelty of rulers. Having started with the invasion of Iraq (2003), Syria (2011) etc. by Western forces and later civil war like situation in Somalia, Libya, Yemen, it is still continuing amidst more dismal and depressing condition. Reports suggest many resorting to illegally crossing over the border from Turkey into adjacent Europe; or through boats etc. mainly because of huge un-employment, lack of livelihood opportunities in their own place. While such migrations in the past were with due planning after undergoing legal process and through legal means, the present attempting is largely through illegal border crossings, trespassing through sea route, overstaying after entering that place. There are reports of attempted trips even by violating international laws helped by human smugglers. The tragic side of the story is during these days of advanced technology and means; many are losing their lives in transit due to un-organized, unplanned journeys or overloading of transporters etc.
REMEDY: The most easy and effective way to ensure safety of one’s faith (Eiman) is to maintain constant contact with (areas’) Masjid by offering five time obligatory prayers. This approach will generate several benefits like opportunity to learning, strengthen fraternity and social cohesiveness.