Assessment of the current Situation of Muslims The previous chapter detailed the situation of groups which do not claim being enemies of shirk. Now we must look at the group that was created primarily on the basis of tawhid and whose fundamental purpose was to destroy shirk and establish tawhid. It is absolutely certain that the reality of anything does not change just because its location changes. If any element of shirk exists within polytheists and hypocrites and it also exists within Muslims, it will not become tawhid, but will remain shirk. Impurity, whether it exists in a dirty utensil or in one of gold or silver is impure in both. Its matter does not change due to the change of container. However, as circumstances change, instructions for them are also altered. Pork and liquor are forbidden regardless, but if someone who is helpless and distressed eats some of this to satisfy his hunger, the shari'ah will not hold him accountable. Thus, an incident or situation is one thing and the instruction according to change in circumstance is another. In this chapter, we shall undertake a review of the situation and then present the instructions in the subsequent chapter. If the current situation of Muslims is assessed and if undeserved pride does not stand in the way of the admission of the truth, it must be accepted that the majority, if not all, types of shirk beginning from the times of the Arab jahiliyyah to the hypocrites exist within Muslims. Only their manifestations have differed. Which worship: worship of djinns, evil forces, nationalism and support of the jahiliyyah and worship of evil forces, self and ego and personal benefit of hypocrites is not present in Muslims? How many Muslims are involved in black magic? They have made sorcery, rituals, tricks, amulets, magic and casting spells the foundation of their business. Knowledge of chants and incantations based on control of djinns and devils is real knowledge for them. They go through various physical and mental exercises to bring djinns under their control; undertake meditation; make offerings; believe that these djinns are their entry to knowledge of the unknown; consider them to be a source of benefit and harm; call upon them and declare many things to be haram and many to be halal. Similarly, there are many who are busy with extracting knowledge of names and the characteristics of specific terms and entities. They use this knowledge for the same evil purposes for which their precursors, the Jews used. Some have gone to such an extent that they use of verses from the Qur'an to create love and grudge between people, to foster discord and control among them, to ensure pregnancy and a painless delivery among women. So much so, some verses are used to prolong intercourse by delaying ejaculation. Those who create such practices convert some of God's blessings into halal, sometimes temporarily and sometimes, permanently. During times of epidemics or when patients are suffering from some specific diseases, there are many things inside homes that are not used for fear of the spirits responsible for these illnesses getting angry and becoming furious if they see these things inside the home. There are also so many superstitions related to star zones, days, months and eclipses of the sun and moon which both men and women are suffering from. Many Muslims are involved in ancestor worship. Shrines of elders and sages are present in every corner and are worshipped openly. Offerings are placed over these graves; sacrifices are made; they are covered with sheets and prayers are offered. Problems and losses are attributed to the anger of these people in the graves. People come from far off places to pay homage; meditate here, prostrate and commit various forms of acts that are forbidden in the shari'ah. Connection with them is considered essential to attain closeness to God. Many believe that they can see and hear and call to them at times of danger and problems. They think that these people lying in the graves will speak up for them in front of God and ask for success in this world; victory in court cases; prosperity in business and blessings of children. Requests are made to them for different purposes. Formal arrangements are available to present requests for some shrines. There so many polytheistic innovations that exist in association with the names of the Prophet (sws), his companions and his noble wives. Special dishes are cooked in their names and they are differentiated on the basis of distinctions that were practiced by the polytheists and that have been mentioned by the Qur'an in Surah An'am. There are so many people who associate the specific attributes of God with the Prophet (sws), to the extent that they claim: "He who was at level with the heaven as God descended on Madinah in the form of Mustafa." There are so many places where sacred relics from the Prophet (sws) and his companions are said to be located and the pilgrimage celebrations of these relics remain a source of constant mischief. In some places, water after bathing graves of saints, chests containing their relics or the imprint of the Prophet (sws)'s foot are distributed among pilgrims. Many people drink it in the belief that this is the only cure for various physical and mental illnesses. They rub this water in their eyes and rub it in their beards. Polytheistic innovations of Muharram and the ta'ziyah are common in every town and village and almost every person is aware of these. There are so many who consider their lineage to be the path to redemption or at the very least, closeness to God. So many believe that the way of their ancestors is what religion and shari'ah really is. Religious and traditional phrases are at the tip of all tongues and those who prefer customs over shari'ah exist in every group of Muslims. Search and desire for knowledge of God's guidance is almost nonexistent. Muslims have various sects. In every sect, fanatics can be found among both the common people and religious scholars, who are so fixated and biased towards their own, specific ways, their own scholars and their own designated imams that the concept of truth and guidance outside of their circle is difficult. Some extremists go to the extent of spending every effort on shredding to pieces the content of the Book and Sunnah but will not allow any criticism on what their imam says. Some even say that this verse or this hadith would have been assessed by their imam, but when he has given his fatwa despite this, we shall follow him only. Understanding the secrets of the verse and hadith is his responsibility. There are many who possess knowledge of the religion of God, due to His blessings, but believe that their scholars and sheikhs are the standard for truth. They are not satisfied with the legitimacy of arguments of the sect to which their sheikhs do not belong, even if one presents these based on the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (sws), rationality or previous understanding. The partiality that they should possess towards God and His Prophet (sws) is directed towards their scholars and sheikhs and the regard required for God's guidance and the way of the Prophet (sws) exists for their preacher's path. Even people with intelligence do not understand the significance of this problem. We have discussed the self worship of polytheists and nation worship of Jews earlier and have demonstrated how nations and groups become evil forces after having obtained legitimacy in the religious and worldly sense; how they connect God's promises and all of His blessings to their lineage and families instead of faith in God and good deeds; how they make their circle the circle of redemption and their path the stand-in for God's guidance. Muslims today are exactly in this situation. Whatever they do become Islamic automatically. It is not necessary that this should be according to the Qur'an or to the path of the Prophet (sws). The ways they adopt become the colour of God, even if it is a coarse imitation of the ignorant culture of the West. The education they provide to their children is Islamic, even if such an education uproots Islam from within the hearts of these children. The institutions they set up are Islamic, even though Islam and its teachings may be ridiculed in them. Whatever basis they establish their collective lives on and whatever laws and constitution they adopt, their Islam will never be taken away from them. Turkey took its personal law from Switzerland; penal code from Italy and trade laws from Germany. However, it remained an important Muslim state and the people who made these things happen are considered upholders of religion, mujahid and worthy of gratitude. It is due to the predominance of this point of view that Muslims of Hindustan think that if they have created a few sectors in which there is a majority of Muslims that has dominated the government machinery and legislative processes and they were able to show their performance in collective and social matters, these sectors would become Pakistan, regardless of whether the governance system would be an imitation of an ignorant system, and the Qur'an would neither play any role in legislation, nor would religion have any say in cultural and traditional sectors. The Qur'an had counted pretensions related to superiority and purity of Jews and polytheists to be elements of shirk. Muslims of today have clarified the interpretation of this so clearly. They were the progeny of those dear to God and a prestigious nation, hence they have started to believe that they are the best of nations and so, every act of theirs is better and pure. Whatever law their majority passes is the law of God; whatever polish they prepare for the faces of Muslims is the colour of God and whoever leads them in this process is the greatest of leaders. As if it is enough to be within the group of Muslims to be on the guided path, regardless of life spent in rebellion against God and disobedience to Him. This circle is a haven for those who go against God: those who are outside this circle are destined for .Hell, but the ones who are within are worthy of God's mercy despite being evil instead of being His servants. The Prophet (sws) had said that they would follow every step of their predecessors, the Jews. Think about how close the thinking of Muslims is to کُوۡنُوۡا ہُوۡدًا اَوۡ نَصٰرٰی تَہۡتَدُوۡا (if you become Jew or Christian, you will find guidance (2:135)) and وَ قَالُوۡا لَنۡ تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ اِلَّاۤ اَیَّامًا مَّعۡدُوۡدَۃً ؕ (they will not be touched by Hellfire but only for a few days (2:80)). The Qur'an has declared the worship of evil forces by the Jews and hypocrites and their support to shirk as shirk. Jews worshipped evil forces by following leaders who made people follow their desires instead of guidance from God. The same situation exists for Muslims today. How many among them follow leaders who make them follow their desires? They claim to follow the Book of God and Sunnah of the Prophet (sws) but are neither aware of it nor do they practice it. There are many simpletons who say that their path may not be that of God and the Prophet, but they retain good will towards Muslims. What can be a worse example of becoming an evil force than the fact that today, Muslims desire their personal benefit over what God, His religion and the Prophet (sws) have preferred? If they can get their way, but the way of God is destroyed, it is fine with them. If a person is leading them on a path where their own head seems to be high, there is no problem if the flag of religion is lowered. Allah O' Akbar! What a time of mischief! A Muslim claims to be a Muslim even though he is outside of servitude to God and believes those people who lead him on a path away from the religion of God to be his well wishers. The evil worship of hypocrites was that they would take some of their matters to courts of Jews, not to that of God and the Prophet (sws). Here the situation is that every sector of life is dominated by evil forces. Courts are evil and Muslims refer to them in all situations; teaching institutions are evil and a large group of Muslims send their children to these places; the system is evil and not only are Muslims instruments of this system, they compete with each other for their progress within this system and try to get above others. The culture is evil and Muslims are eager to paint their faces with this rose paint. The economic and trade system is evil and the Muslim is ahead in adopting this. Literature and art is evil and the Muslim is keen to get a share in it. There are few, if any, who feel that there may be anything wrong with these things. We have shown above that support of and agreement with shirk is also shirk. But here how many Muslims spend their mental abilities and strength of their physical selves in the development of an evil system and civilization? How many are there who labour to strengthen and stabilize this and who are ready to give their lives to uphold the words of kufr? The Qur'an has considered the whispers of hypocrites and their willfulness against the path of the believers, but how many Muslims today are not satisfied only with defaming the instructions of God and the Prophet (sws), but ridiculing the same openly. They call the shari'ah laws out of date, impossible to implement and against rationality and civilization. They believe that Islamic laws and economic systems were appropriate only for those times. They consider the wisdom of the Qur'an to be subservient to the standards of current times and are deniers, in every sector of their lives, whether external or internal, of the route that was determined by God and His prophet (sws) for believers. Their approach is un-Islamic; their social systems are un-Islamic. That which is required by God and the Prophet (sws) is detestable and rejected by them. That which is odious and condemned by God and His Prophet (sws) is desirable and popular among them. They have either made their desires or the people they envy for their education and culture their deities. Their relationship with Islam is only to the extent that, in spite of all this, they still call themselves Muslims. The worship of benefits to self was also considered to be shirk. There are so many Muslims today who claim to worship God but they present a picture of those who وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَّعْبُدُ اللّٰهَ عَلٰي حَرْف (they worship God while standing on one side (22:11)). To the extent that there is no misgiving about accepting Islam and following it, they are Muslims. But where the demands of Islam begin, where their worldly concerns are damaged, or their lives face challenges, they cut themselves off. They have not submitted completely to God and the Prophet (sws). They consider it enough to believe in the Prophet (sws) as a matter of belief only. For them it is not a part of tawhid and faith in prophet hood to obey him in all matters in every aspect of life according to the teachings he had brought and the guidance he delivered. However, every messenger instructs his people to obey God and to obey him as well and also clarifies that those who are against his path should be rebelled against. وَلَا تُطِيْعُوْ٘ا اَمْرَ الْمُسْرِفِيْنَ (fight those who go against my path (26:151)) . This is the point where the real dispute between Islam and denial begins. Otherwise, what is the problem with the belief that God is one, messengers are sent by God, we believe in God, His angels, His books and the day of Judgement, that necks are cut, swords come into action, and deeds of hijrah, jihad and killing are carried out? There were people in Arabia before the Prophet (sws) who decried idol worship openly and among them were many famous orators. They would openly talk about tawhid in their speeches but the Quraysh were not against them. Hence, there was no reason for them to fight the Prophet (sws) only because he considered himself to be the messenger of God and was against idols. They entire battle was because the Prophet (sws) called for complete obedience to God as an essential element of worship, the way to His obedience as obedience to himself and rebellion against them as necessary. This is the part of religion that cannot be private and that calls for giving up one's life for sustainability. This is the reason why Arabs could tolerate followers of the hanifi belief, but could not bear the Prophet (sws) and his companions. Thus, those Muslims who do not find any aspect of shirk in including elements of other religions along with their belief in God and His Prophet (sws), whose religion requires no more than a mosque in Lobe and graveyard in London, whose strike of "no god but God" falls only on dead gods and not those who are alive, should think that for them, not only Hindustan but the entire world is a world of peace. This blunt sword would have been of no danger to Arab jahiliyyah and is of no danger to the ignorance of modern times. If the ignorant Arabs disliked it, the civilized human of current times faces no danger from this mouthless cannon and a dummy gun. He is happy with worship of anyone, provided only he is obeyed. Real Obligation of Current Times and Removal of Some Doubts The natural relationship of a Muslim with things that are shirk or that possess even basic elements of shirk is not one of union, but of separation; not of friendship but of enmity; not of love but of hostility; not of support and victory but of hatred and rebellion. It is the responsibility of a Muslim that he destroys it if he the power to do so. If not, he should raise his voice against it. If he cannot do this either, he should at least hold hatred and anger against it in his heart. There is no level of faith and intent below this. It is clear from the condition of Muslims explained in previous chapters that the majority are in opposition to the above. Not only are they falling below the lowest level of faith and intent, layers of shirk related deeds and beliefs are covering them. The reason for this is nothing other than the fact that the true realization of tawhid and its demands is missing from their minds due to a long term absence of a true religious system and overwhelming presence of the forces of evil. The real responsibility of the times is for a reformist and pure group to rise up which should create a correct sense of tawhid among Muslims; explain the actual meaning of worship and obedience to people; clarify what is meant by rule of God and obedience to the Prophet (sws); make the demands and requirements of Islam and faith clear to the world; fulfill the obligation that is levied upon the ummah of the last Prophet (sws) by order of كَذٰلِكَ جَعَلْنٰكُمْ اُمَّةً وَّسَطًا لِّتَكُوْنُوْا شُهَدَآءَ عَلَي النَّاسِ وَيَكُوْنَ الرَّسُوْلُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيْدًا God (We have made you a midway ummah so that you may become witness upon people and the Prophet is witness upon you (2:143)). Such a group would pay to God the trust due to non- payment of which the Jews were cursed: لَوۡ لَا یَنۡہٰہُمُ الرَّبّٰنِیُّوۡنَ وَ الۡاَحۡبَارُ عَنۡ قَوۡلِہِمُ الۡاِثۡمَ وَ اَکۡلِہِمُ السُّحۡتَ ؕ لَبِئۡسَ مَا کَانُوۡا یَصۡنَعُوۡنَ (Why do their rabbis and jurists not stop them from saying sinful things and eating haram?) (5:63). And that would fulfill the aim of God for which He sent His messengers again and again and for which He destroyed many nations and uplifted many. وَلۡتَکُنۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ اُمَّۃٌ یَّدۡعُوۡنَ اِلَی الۡخَیۡرِ وَ یَاۡمُرُوۡنَ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَ یَنۡہَوۡنَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡکَرِ ؕ (And it is required that there be a group within you that invites people to do good , instructs for the best and prevents them from what is wrong. (3:104)) This group should not only be witness to God's tawhid through verbal or written words but also through its own practice. It should rise up to colour the world in the colour of God and should itself be steeped in this colour. It would break all prejudices of nationhood and statehood and all barriers of race and clan. Even a small desire for political superiority of a specific nation, numeric majority or economic preference should not be hidden in any corners of the heart of such a group. The only purpose of its efforts should be to raise the word of God and the invitation of His messengers. It should be enemy not just to a single falsehood in the world, but to all falsehood and mischief of the world. It should strike all ignorant and evil systems simultaneously to the extent that even evil that arises from within its own nation would not expect to be excused or overlooked. Such a group would select every falsehood one by one and declare its support for the truth and enmity for falsehood. For this path, it would cut off from all desires, aims, all friendships, relationships and connections and be satisfied with what it has been given by God. Its invitation for the whole world would be the same: the bread in its satchel and water in its bottle would possess contentment and quenching for all who are hungry or thirsty. Its lamp would light up like that atop a hill and point the direction for anyone who has lost his way. The brightness of its guidance would be for the benefit of all and sundry, just as the sun of God. Its clouds would make fertile every desert and mountain like the rain from heavens. It would speak in all languages and to all addressees. It would shout out to all and explain by holding everyone hard to its chest. The spiritual illnesses of humankind would disturb it to the extent that it weeps un-consolably when prostrating to God in isolation. Its nights should become deprived of the comfort of sleep and its days of moments of freedom. It becomes full of pain and sorrow after observing the heavy yoke of slavery of so many elites and deities around the necks of God's creation. It would carry the invitation of God that is the only solution to all such problems to every ear that listens and every eye that sees through word and practice. Such a group that connects with everyone cannot be unsuccessful in its aim. In spite of the dominance of evil, human nature is not dead. There are so many servants of God within whose hearts the awareness of tawhid and its requirements is still alive. But they do not possess the resolve and strength that disturbs them enough to fight with current conditions. They do not await any evidence or argument for acceptance of the truth, but they only need a sincere person who can raise his voice to come to prayer" and convince them with his firm determination and what he says, he also wishes for. As soon as this reality dawns upon them, they would wrap up their beds and, breaking all chains of their worries would accompany him. There are so many who are completely disgusted with shirk but are not aware of all the requirements of tawhid. They have not understood the devotion of humans, the absolute rule of God, messenger-ship of the Prophet (sws) and the real meaning of Islam and faith. They have either not read about religion or, if they have, they have not done so with thoughtful analysis. Due to this, they do not see their current lives as being parallel to the path of God. If they do, the actual divergence of their path is not evident to them. They are under the misconception that while they may have created a way different from that of God, this separation is not so as to make the integration impossible. As soon as they understand that these two paths are proceeding in two different directions and the farther they move ahead, the greater will this difference become and when they reach the Day of Judgement, they could find themselves to have strayed the most, they would ponder over their situation and a majority of them would, God willing, side with truth. There are many people who are not unable to understand truth as truth but they are unable to recognize their own difficulties. As they gain better knowledge of God and His attributes through deeper appreciation of His invitation, they will break away from the chains of their personal desires, until there will be many who emerge from this process preferring the soul over the body; faith over hunger and God and servitude to Him over the world and its false reputation and affectations. They would see safety only in the path of God and those among them who are less strong would find strength from the practical demonstration of the group of the faithful. When they see that there are people under God's heavens who have given up on false worldly positions in favour of obedience to God; turned their backs on the world; rebelled against evil and invited all kinds of danger to their benefit and family, their conscience would also be invigorated. They, too, would test the power of their will. Such a group would not be labeled as one belonging to any specific nation. Instead, it would be linked totally with God's religion and its rules. Hence every person would contemplate solely upon the characteristics of its invitation. He would not mistrust this invitation based on misgivings about its links with any nation's majority or political superiority. The popularity of this invitation would increase at the same pace at which this reality becomes evident. A Christian, an Englishman, a German, , an Italian, a Hindu, a Jain, a Buddhist- all would ponder only from the perspective of the rational value of this invitation. They would think about the scale of its morals; the level of its economic and political point of view; its comparison with all tested and tried ways and faiths of the world; the extent of its ability to address the problems in the world. This would make Islam a vibrant element: something is currently dormant like the water of a closed pond would cover everything above and below like the energy and storm of a flood. The invitation of this group would not begin with the presupposition that Hindustan has 100 million Muslims: their number should increase to 120 or 160 million. Instead, it would differentiate between these Muslims on the basis of their beliefs and practices. This does not mean that this invitation would begin with "O' deniers of truth, believe in God." Those who have this misunderstanding are not aware of the form of invitation that has been derived from earlier prophets of God and that has been explained in the Qur'an itself. Those who have studied the phased stages of Qur'anic invitation know that when the Prophet (sws) gained his prophet hood, he did not begin his invitation with words of "O' infidels" and "O'polytheists", despite the fact that everyone in his nation was a polytheist. How can people have the right to assume that those who have been Muslims for generations and it is unknown how many of them could be on the right path are deniers and begin their invitation by calling them polytheists? The Prophet (sws) had started by calling them "O' my nation" and "O' people" and "O' humans". He first revived the sense of requirements and needs of their nature in principle and clarified how they had developed elements of polytheism in their lives. As long as God wished, this work continued until all arguments had been completed. Those who had the capacity to understand accepted the truth and those whose hearts had deadened or who had developed hard positions not only declared themselves as deniers of truth but also decided to kill the Prophet (sws). At that stage, the Prophet (sws) was ordered to migrate and that was the first time that the word kafir (denier of truth) was uttered by him. This word occurs in Surah Kafirun. Before this, this word is not found in the Qur'an from the Prophet (sws). In the same way, the word "the word "polytheist" is also used for the people of Makkah at the time of or after migration. قُلۡ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ In the same manner, the invitation given to the People of the Book did not begin with "O' infidels" or "O' polytheists", but with "O' People of the Book" and "O' people". Until the requirements of all their principles had been clarified to them and the messenger and a pious group had fulfilled its responsibility of explaining the truth and completing all arguments, neither was their denial and polytheism declared nor was the stage to fight with them reached. Exactly the same situation occurred with the hypocrites. These people apparently believed in all principles of Islam. The Qur'an always addressed them as "O' People of Faith" and defined for them requirements of faith, Islam, tawhid and belief in prophet hood so that those who were making mistakes due to their ignorance and being in slumber would take heed. Then the Qur'an threatened them of a war against them if they did not refrain from making mischief and breaking their promises. This approach was followed for the hypocrites and those weak in faith from the time of the Battle of Uhud to the Battle of Tabuk. During this time, if there was the danger from passionate Muslims that they might adopt a severe attitude towards them, the former were stopped from doing so. There is evidence on this both in the Qur'an and Ahadith. Thus, those who were warned and reformed themselves were accepted into the fold of Islam. Those who did not refrain from their deeds even after these admonitions were exposed and final decisions were made about them. This approach adopted by the Prophet (sws) was not a false demonstration of the psychology of invitation and preaching. It was, in fact, based on a very significant truth which most people today are ignorant of. If something is false, shirk or wrong, it does not mean that the person committing it is a false person, or polytheist or hypocrite. Someone who consumes haram does not become a sinner automatically. It is quite possible that such a person might not be aware of the forbidden nature of that thing; he could also have been forced by necessity to consume it. It is possible that he has become involved with a misconception based on an argument. Any other reason could be possible. Especially, during the hiatus of messengers, with the propagation of truth having being abandoned for a long period, such darkness is spread throughout that even those with sight cannot see the path ahead, let alone common people. The natural requirement of such times is that whichever prophet comes, he does not come with labels of denials and polytheism. He does not attach labels such as deniers of the truth, hypocrites and polytheists to people. He highlights the signs of the truth for people; removes dust from pathways; opens up closed alleyways; and lights up the truth as the light of dawn with his constant effort, continuous struggle, a pious and pure life and selfless deeds. This struggle extracts the essence from within people who possess pure hearts and their distinctive presence is another proof of truth being truth and falsehood being falsehood. At this time, whoever possesses even the semblance of recognizing the truth sees with his own eyes that the path to God is this and that it is also possible to walk on it. Then, either God's punishment appears to decide on their falsehood or the swords of the faithful comes into action. This is the lesson we derive from the lives of God's prophets. People who get up today with the blessed resolve to reinstate religion and to resurrect the Sunnah will find their guidance from the same style of prophet hood. Obviously, no one is in this ummah is waiting for a prophet to come now. The system to sustain faith and revive it is one following the way of the Prophet (sws). It was the same system that had kept Muslims on the mid way and completed arguments on the creations of God. But this system has been disrupted for centuries. It has been replaced and is dominated by an evil system that has made every part of a Muslim's life impure. There is no sector that is free of subservience to these evil forces. From among us, those who do not willingly succumb to this system are doing it unwillingly. The purest of persons are not clean from the splashes of this dirt. The entire system of religious education is in abeyance. Whatever remains is governed by the dominant system. The tongue and the pen is free for all obscenities except for the word of truth. Much of what is being taught in the name of religion today is a license for current society and the current system of ignorance from religion. In these troubled and chaotic times it is not a surprise that Muslims become unaware of faith and its demands, tawhid and its requirements. A garden that has become bereft of the care of its caretakers, or those who are charged with looking after it believe that the wild weeds and trees are the real plants and spend their efforts in watering and nourishing these instead of cleaning it, pruning its trees, getting rid of weeds and taking care of the sprouting plants becomes a jungle instead of a garden. This is a true example of the command to do good and say no to evil. This is a natural obligation that a farmer fulfils for his farm; a gardener for his garden; a shepherd for his herd; a guide for his nation and the authorities on an ummah for their people. The caliphate system is the natural and system for fulfillment of such a responsibility. Without it, it is neither possible for Muslims to remain on the right path, nor can arguments for religion be completed upon the world. Hence, one should neither censure Muslims for straying from the true path nor should people be blamed for their perdition. Muslims were salt for this land: when their salty nature has disappeared, how can any salty dish be prepared. If the group that rises up today to invite Muslims towards tawhid and its requirements believes that all Muslims have become non believers, they would be unmerciful in the extreme. If it does so, it would demonstrate clearly that it neither possesses a correct assessment of the situation, nor does it have any inclination towards the invitation approach that was adopted by God's messengers. Before deciding upon denial or transgression of anyone, this group should first clearly explain the Book of God and struggle hard to become pious and God fearing itself until God removes the darkness that covers everything and it becomes possible for everyone to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Accusing someone of being an infidel actually means that such a person be declared an apostate and he be given the punishment that has been stated in Islam. A pious and authoritative group gives this punishment to those people within it who rebel against this invitation and its basic system openly and deliberately. The condition for giving this punishment is that a group that is pious exists. A non pious group does not have the right to declare another group as non pious. The second condition is that such a group should possess the authority. A group that does not have the necessary legitimacy cannot issue regulations for punishments. The third condition is that due to the establishment of a pious group, the environment should have become such that it is no longer easy for sinners and criminals and all resources are available to explain and clarify religion and truth upon people. Without this, neither can the hand be cut off for the crime of theft, nor can an adulterer be stoned and nor can a drunkard be given lashes. Even if such a group that is both pious and in control comes to rule the nation and the religious environment is such that moral restrictions exist that deter crime, in case temporary conditions that enable rise in crimes arise, the government shall not issue the shari'ah related punishments for such crimes. During the reign of 'Umar (rta), a severe famine led to an economic downturn, he postponed the punishment of cutting off hands for theft until improvement of the situation. During the times of Jesus (sws), a woman was brought to him for having committed adultery. Jew rabbis asked for the stoning punishment for her. Jesus (sws) replied to the affect: "Yes! Stone her, but only he who has never committed such a sin should do so" (John, 8:7). He did not mean that everyone was an adulterer and that no pious person had remained. He was pointing towards the conditions of those times when there was no pious group, no pious system and no shari'ah environment. If the woman was guilty of infidelity to her husband, who among the people present was not guilty of infidelity to a greater sin, i.e. faithlessness and infidelity towards God? They had broken their promise to God and polytheist Romans had been imposed upon them as a punishment from God. They had no right to punish the woman because of her infidelity. Thus in principle, it is wrong to accuse some one of being an infidel. This is an extreme punishment, after which a person gets cut off from his group and after which it becomes obligatory to kill him. Today, no pious group with authority exists; no shari'ah system of calling people to do good and restraining them from evil exists that could keep alive the sense of shirk and denial. The darkness of evil surrounds all aspects of life and, not only is the distinction between truth and falsehood non-existent, but efforts to embellish falsehood and show it as the truth are more successful today than all previous times. Under these conditions, people who are playing games of infidelity and perdition charges are completely ignorant of the situation, significance of applying such accusations and the rules and regulations that govern this. They are themselves a result of the ignorance and mischief of current times. The people to whom God has given the strength and desire to make a real effort are not seeking to declare others as infidels. Their point of invitation begins from: "O' People, you who believe, believe fully." If all have fallen into a dirty pond, no one has the right to call the other impure and consider him liable for punishment. One has only the right to explain what is dirty and invite others to escape the dirt. This effort should continue so that Muslims who are sleeping a calm slumber, thinking that Hindustan is a world of peace would understand that it is not a peaceful home, but it is a house that is full of smoke or a toilet where it is difficult to breathe because of the stench. Human nature does not possess shirk, as we will explain in the next chapter. A Muslim cannot even imagine shirk. Thus, there is no reason for such a nature that is currently dormant due to the darkness of the time and lulled into ignorance by those around not to be awakened and for humans not become aware of the true love for and obedience to God. (Translated by Nikhat Sattar) _____________ . The maximum allowance for amulets as found in Ahadith exists only for very specific circumstances. Secondly, they are meant to benefit from the Oneness of God, recourse to Him and expression of disassociation from anything other than God. Amulets that include words and even the slightest element of shirk have no legitimacy in the shari'ah. However, it is heart rending to see that most amulets in use are based on polytheistic and incomprehensible words. Even if Quranic verses are used, they are altered. A gentleman shared information with me about a ritual to heal a scorpion bite in which the last word of Surah al-Nas had been removed. When I told him that he should keep distortion of the Qur'an confined to himself and spare me, he was very disappointed in me.  For example, a certain food offering should not be eaten by men or certain foods should not be consumed by a certain type of woman; certain food offerings can only be eaten on a particular day or can be eaten only at night.