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Devils deception : Individual Reformation

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    Devils deception : Individual Reformation

    salaamz theres alwayz been a lot discussion on how to change socty from kuffar to islam....there r many suggesstions from every single person shud changeheir morals to every single person should read their what is the islamic opionion on this??? the following article explains this


    An idea held without question by many is that the revival of a society begins by reviving only the individual. This will lead to the revival of his family, his neighbourhood and then ultimately the whole society. It is maintained that change occurs from the individual and grows from there on, until the whole of society is revived. This idea is alien to Islam since not even the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) proceeded along these lines!

    Changes in society

    Societies are dynamic and change from time to time. History has witnessed many societal shifts. The European states changing from theocracies to secular nation states, Russia's change from a feudal system to a communist system and then from Communism to Capitalism, Turkey's change from an Islamic state to a secular republic

    On close inspection none of the above changes occurred as noted above. Communism did not spread gradually from a man to the rest of society by changing individuals. Rather the idea of communism was held by a group of people who took control of the state and changed society to match their ideas. When the Bolsheviks took control they were neither a majority nor a reflection of the majority view. The change from communism to democracy again did not come from the bottom up, but rather top down with perestroika and glasnost.

    Likewise, Europe did not emerge from its dark ages by change taking place from person to person. Those thinkers and philosophers who were 'enlightened' struggled against the clergy to remove its influence on the levers of power. It was a good many years later that society was at one with the idea of secularism.

    Turkey's transition from an Islamic state to a secular republic did not occur by the young Turks changing each and every individual. Rather the colonial powers gave them support to take power. By doing so they changed the laws and structures of the State that brought the change of mindset amongst the people to sustain its existence.

    In short we are hard pressed to find any examples in history, which reflect the idea, stated above.

    The Prophet's Example

    The greatest change that has taken place in society is that which took place in Arabia. Muhammed (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) changed the tribal society of the Arabs to an Islamic society, which became a global force. We find no proof here of change occurring from person to person, until the whole society became Muslim. Neither were people affected by pious conduct alone.

    Muhammed, prior to becoming a Prophet up to the age of forty was renowned for his pious conduct. This in itself did not cause a single person to follow him. Once the responsibilities of Prophethood fell on his shoulders, he gathered a number of people around him who were convinced of the vision the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) brought.

    The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) addressed the society without having convinced all his family and relatives to follow him, Abu Talib being a case in point. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) began in Makkah, but did not wait for the whole of Makkah to revive before going to Madinah. He established Islam in Madinah, but the majority of the inhabitants of Madinah were not Muslims. This included four large communities of Jews living in and around Madinah (Bani Quraydha, Banu Nadhir, Banu Qaynuqa and the Jews of Khayber). The inhabitants of Madinah included new Muslims as well as Munafiqeen, in short a whole variety of people were living there. Thus there is no evidence to say that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) changed society by merely changing individuals one by one.

    The Qadr of society

    The flaw in the idea outlined, stems from the incorrect understanding of society. The individual does not influence the society, but the society influences the individual.

    A person follows the deen of his companions. [Hadith]

    Those who keep the company of a blacksmith will smell like him and those who keep the company of a perfume seller will smell like him. [Hadith]

    The influence on the Muslim youth who live in a non-Islamic society is ample evidence of this. Thus the influence a society has on the individual is far greater than the influence an individual exerts on society.

    This reveals the qadr (nature) of society. It is assumed that society is merely a collection of individuals. This clearly is not the case. Merely having a group of people gathered does not make them a society. Fifty thousand people at a football stadium do not make them a society. That constitutes a crowd. However, fifty thousand people living in a town does. This differs from a crowd because such a collection of people interacts and have relationships based on some common thoughts and sentiments. These interactions are regulated by an authority, which is based on the same common understanding.

    Thus a society is a group of people that are held together by certain common thoughts and sentiments. A society is labelled western, if the western values bind its people and are used as criteria for resolving societal issues. Likewise a society is labelled tribal if the tribal values bind its people and is used for resolving societal issues.

    In Pakistan to give and take a bribe is easily done. A person entering into such a society soon learns to play by the 'rules'. However when a person comes out of this society and enters into Britain or America, he soon loses this behaviour, but acquires others. He may start to openly date a person from the opposite sex.

    A deeply religious person coming from Pakistan does little to affect the Western society as a whole. Even though many people may be turning to Islam and many mosques may open, it does little to detach society from its belief in secular ideals. Even 'devout' Muslims will turn to secular politics, acquire capitalist traits and call for the ideals of a secular society, whilst still remaining a Muslim.

    Changing Society

    If society cannot be changed by merely concentrating on individuals, then how do societies change from one state to another? It was shown above that people in a society are bound together by certain thoughts and ideas that the government protects and enforces. If these thoughts can be challenged and another system put in its place, which moulds the people around different thoughts, society would change.

    Looking at the life of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), we find that his method was in harmony with the qadr of society. Muhammed (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) gathered people around him for three years. He would take them to the house of Arqam to give them a deep culturing in Islam. After a period of three years Allah (Subhana wa ta ala) ordered the Prophet:

    Proclaim openly! And separate yourselves from the Mushrik [TMQ : Surah Al-Hijr 94]

    From here onwards the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) began to address the common ideas of that society which they lived by, like the burying of the daughters, cheating in the market place, and taking of riba, imitation of their forefathers and so on. It is important to note that the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) challenged the ideas and not merely the practices.

    Burying of daughters was not prevalent. Had it been so, there would have been a dearth of women in Makkah. Clearly this was not the case, since some men had ten wives as well as prostitutes existing in Makkah. However, all the above ideas were commonly accepted, even if they were not widely practised. It is this fact that made them worthy of being attacked.

    In 12th year of his Prophethood, he (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) sent Musab ibn Umayr (RA) to Madinah. He managed to change the general ideas of the society towards Islam. Unlike Makkah, they were not anti Islamic. The Madani society was not perfect, nor the majority of its inhabitants Muslims, but it became suitable to accepting an Islamic government. The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) then sought the physical help from 12 prominent people from the Aws and Khazraj to give him the pledge of war. They thus facilitated him coming to Madinah to assume power, even though there were people like Abdullah ibn Ubay who detested this.

    Thus by changing the general thoughts of the society and taking power, the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was in a position to effectively remould society according to the beliefs and values of Islam. Within 10 years of its establishment, tens of millions of people embraced Islam.


    Change in a society cannot come by addressing only individuals, since society is not made up of just individuals. Society is made up of individuals who are bound together by certain thoughts and ideas that are established and promoted by the government.

    The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) did not solely focus on the individual and wait for the majority of the people to become pious before he established the Islamic state in Madinah, rather he changed the collective thoughts and ideas and then established his authority.

    Mazhar Khan Pathan
    27 April, 2002