The first thing we have to take into consideration is why do misconceptions occur in Islam in the first place. We will be able to understand this taking into consideration the following incident.
Once a Muslim scholar from the UK visited India to give a lecture on: ‘Islam and the West.’ During the question hour, an Indian Muslim asked: ‘You have given us so much information about Islam and the West, now, would you please tell us what the Muslims should do, when in the minority, in countries such as India?’ The scholar remained silent for a while and then replied: “It is, indeed, a difficult question. In Islam we find a model for a position of strength. But, there is no model in Islam for the position of modesty.”
This is not just a stray remark. In fact, it illustrates the way of thinking prevalent almost all over the Muslim world today. It clearly shows the mindset of today’s Muslims. Consciously or unconsciously, they look to their glorious history in order to understand their status and role in the world. Their mentality is such that when they find a prominent model of strength, they naturally conclude that what Islam stands for is worldwide Muslim political dominance. It is this attitude, which prevents them from penetrating the veil of their glorious history to seek guidance directly from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Had they done so, they would certainly, have succeeded in finding role models for all human positions including that of modesty. They would further have realized that it is not the political but the ideological spread of Islam through peaceful missionary work that the Muslim Ummah has to struggle for everywhere and under all circumstances.
Contrary to the prevalent misconception that Islam failed to provide its followers with any model of a low-key position, an unbiased study of the Prophet’s biography will reveal that up till the conquest of Mecca in the 8th A.H., 20 of the 23 years of his life as a Prophet, were spent in exactly what is nowadays termed a state of modesty. When, chronologically, more than three-quarters of the Prophetic mission portrays a picture of humility, what is it that makes one remark that there is no Islamic model for Muslim minorities in India or elsewhere? The fact is that such people are so overwhelmed by the political glory built up during the later period of Muslim history, that their eyes are totally blinded to the glory of the modesty in the life of the Prophet.
This shift in later history of drawing inspiration from political glory instead of from the Qur’an and Sunnah, has, unfortunately, blurred the general vision of present-day Muslims to such an extent, that the original Islam has turned for them into an alien religion. They proudly claim that Islam is a complete code of life and that their Prophet had set a perfect role model for all times to come, yet due to their own misdirected approach, they are unable to find any model for the position of modesty which is comparatively much more important than the model for a position of strength, as it is popularly called.
This state of affairs is entirely in accordance with the prophetic prediction: “Islam began as a stranger. And, finally, it will again become a stranger. Let, then, the strangers be blessed” (Muslim). It would be no exaggeration to say that the original version of Islam has literally become totally unfamiliar to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Islam has thus, to be rediscovered. And to rediscover Islam, we have first of all to discover what the factors are that have made Islam a stranger in the world today. In the following pages, the reader will find a thorough analysis of the historical and political reasons for the tragic phenomenon of the alienation of Islam as predicted in the Hadith.