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There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. Muslims have

surpassed the Roman Catholics in numbers. Every fifth person who

walks on this beautiful earth is a Muslim. Politically they are divided in

three groups. 60% (sixty percent) Muslims live as majorities in the so

called 56 independent, sovereign Muslim majority states. 35% (thirty

five percent) Muslim population live as minorities. There are 77

countries (out of 200) in which the Muslim population is two or more

than two percent. The third group consists of the five percent of Muslim

population, through they are a majority, their political status is still

unsettled. One million Chechens, two million Kosovans (they recently

declared independence), three million Palestinians, thirteen million

Kashmiris, and thirty three million eastern Turkistan in China (xin-kang).

It is interesting to know about Muslims in Europe and the USA. A

student of history knows that at first Muslims tried to enter Europe from

the South in 732 A.D. Muslims reached a place called Poiters, 40 miles

south of Paris.

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Everybody knows what happened in Spain. After another 600

years, Muslims tried to enter Europe from the east and had reached the

heart of Europe. Vienna was under siege of the Ottoman Turks. Not

once, but twice. One might say, that Muslims invaded Europe from the

South and the East. The fact of the matter is, in the second half of last

century, (1950-2000) for the first time, Muslims arrived in Western

Europe and England by invitation. After second world war, England,

France and Germany with some other countries needed labour.

Muslims came (with others) from India and Pakistan to England, from

Northern Africa to France, from Turkey to Germany. Today there are 13

million Muslims in Western Europe and England alone. 5% of the

Belgian Population is Muslim. Islam is the second largest religion in

Europe after Christianity.

Story of USA is a little different. Historians record that 1/3 rd of all

the slaves who were brought to the shores of USA were Muslims in 18 th

and 19th Century. In mid sixties of last century USA needed skilled

labour. Highly educated Muslims came with others to USA from 65

different countries. Today there are 4-5 million Muslims (40% indigenous

and 60% of immigrants) in USA. Islam is the third largest religion in USA

after Christianity and Judaism.

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The biggest Muslim minority lives in India. In terms of numbers,

Indian Muslims are (150 million); rank the third in the world. First is

Indonesia (190 million), second is Pakistan (160 million), 12 to 15% of

Indian population is Muslim. They are found in all the states. The

maximum are in Assam, 30%. There are four major cities in India where

Muslims are in majority. They are Malegaon in Maharashtra, Garden

Reach in West Bengal, Rampur and Muradabad in Madhya Pradesh.

80% of Indian Muslims were born after 1947. 60% of Indian Muslims are

below the age of 30. Almighty Allah bestowed five blessings on Indian

Muslims. One blessing is common to all Muslims of the world from

Morocco to Malaysia; the remaining four are unique to Indian Muslims.

The one which is common is the family life. The family life is intact in the

Muslim world, because of the controlling position and the practice of

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the unique authority of Qura’an. In

western societies, the family life is shattered (in USA six million couples

live together without marriage, 26 million families are single parent

families, in England every fourth child is an illegitimate child.) India is

the only Non-Muslim country where Muslim family life is protected by

Muslim Family Personal Law. Indian Muslims (IM) should appreciate

this and be thankful for this and the remaining four privileges, which are

unique to IM.

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1) Democracy. India is the World’s largest democracy. By no means

it is a perfect one, when one sees how the minorities are treated,

but it is true democracy in the sense that all sorts of political

parties of any size, shape and shade are allowed to participate as

compared to the USA where communist party is banned to

participate. Indian Muslims should not loose hope in the Indian

Democracy. It takes years and years for a democracy to mature.

Take the example of USA again. The USA declared

independence on July 4, 1976 and made a lofty proclamation

that, “All men are created equal.” The constitution of USA became

the law of the land on March 4, 1789. But it took 81 years for the

Afro-Americans (black) to get the voting rights. Fifteenth

amendment to US constitution gave them the voting rights in

1870 A.D. (It took another 90 years for its full implementation,

which was done in 1960s). It took 131 years for the American

women to get the voting rights. It was the 19th amendment of US

constitution which gave them voting rights in 1920. (36 years

before the implementation of Indian Constitution in January

1956). Indian constitution has a feather in her cap that right from

its inception on paper and practice, gave the right to vote to every

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man and woman irrespective of their religion. Survival of IM goes

hand in hand with the survival of Indian Democracy. There is no true

democracy in the 56 independent Muslim majority states. 600 million

Muslims are deprived of a true democracy.

2) Freedom to practice one’s religion unrestricted. Muslims of

majority Muslim states have problems in doing so. A few

examples :-

• Turkey : Muslim Majority State : (95% Muslims), in 1920s

abolished Khilafat, Shariah Law and changed the script of the

Turkish language. A few years ago an elected female Muslim

member of parliament was thrown out of Turkish parliament

because she was wearing hijab. Even today the wife of the

Turkish Prime Minister cannot attend the Turkish

Government’s official functions, because she also wears a


• Albania : A Muslim majority State : (90% Muslims), in 1930s

President Hoxa of Albania declared that Albania is an atheistic

state and ordered the citizens not to keep the Muslim names.

Instead keep Aalerian names.

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• Tunisia : A Muslim majority State : In 1960s President

Boraqiba banned fasting in the month of Ramadan on the

pretext that it reduces that productivity.

Islam is not a religion per se, it is a “Deen”, A Way of Life. If

an Indian Muslim chooses to live that way of Life, there are no

hindrances in doing so. The question is how many Indian Muslims

want to live that way of Life?

3) Freedom of Expression (through speech, press and other media):

Indian Muslims are free to speak their mind and for that matter

everyone is. Today, the Friday sermons all over the Arab Muslim

World are censored. Nobody can speak or write against the

rulers. Print Media, by and large is fair in India. When the Babri

Masjid was demolished, Hindu paper’s front page was printed all

in black. The caption red “Today India Hangs her Head in

Shame”. It was independent TV Channels who brought the

atrocities of Gujarat Government and the genocide of Muslims to

the forefront.

4) Independent Judiciary specially at Supreme Court and presence

of a good number of fair and secular minded people (like Harish

Mandir, Kuldeep Nair, Desai) in the majority community. Contd…

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Indian Muslims indeed, should be thankful to Almighty Allah and be

grateful to Indian Democracy for providing these privileges and make

a good use of them. For a Muslim, inspire of all these shortcomings,

IM have a lot to do. Allah Helps those who help themselves. The

question is, how can IM help themselves ? It is high time that IM stop

complaining and start contemplating. Stop fighting pointing fingers at

others and start pondering about them and see what has gone

wrong with them secularly and spiritually.

On the secular front, Muslims are failing individually and collectively.

It is the story of the failures of learning and leadership. The mother of

all the failures is the failure of the Muslims to educate their children.

There is no thirst for knowledge in young Muslims. But they have a

voracious appetite for making a quick buck. There is a scarcity of

honest and sincere leadership. Muslim organizations / institutions at

National Level and at the state levels are all divided. The

organizations / institutions which are not divided are led by leaders

who have become old and are on the verge of senility. They do not

want to leave the chair.

Contd.. 8

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They do not train and groom the younger generation and hand

over the reign to them. There are influential Indian Muslims who are

opening institutions of learning in the name of minorities. It is not

known as to how many poor downtrodden Muslim students are

benefited, but the personal coffers of them are bulging.

Muslims of India do not compete and participate in each and

every walk of life. How many Indian Muslims join the Indian Arm


On the top of all these, as soon as an IM attains an ability to do

something, leaves the country, never to come back.

In the spiritual sphere the conditions are not any better. Out of

150 million IM how many are fulfilling there obligations towards their

Creator, their Lord Almighty Allah ? How many pray 5 times a day ?

How many give Zakat (Alms Due) properly ? How many fast in the

month of Ramadan ? Apart from all these, the question of the most

fundamental importance is, how many IM do really believe that there

is no Allah but One Allah ? One is compelled to ask this question

when one sees rampant grave worship. This practice is not

discouraged but rather promoted.


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There is no difference, whatsoever, between a member of a

majority community, going to a temple and worshipping an idol and a

Muslim going to “Dargah” and asking for help. It is outright “shirk”.

These Muslim grave worshippers, do they not know what advice

Luqman gave to his son, “O my son ! Join not in worship others with

Allah, joining others with worship with Allah is a great tyranny indeed.


The story does not end here. The other day, I was at a Muslim

wedding reception. The things which are saw there, I could not

believe. Some “Sajjada” (custodian of a dargah) arrived. People

started to kiss his hand, touch his feet and one gentleman came and

put his head on his feet. The astonishing thing was that, that “holy”

man did not stop them, rather relished all that; forgetting that the

companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) each and everyone of

them, could have given their lives for him, they never touched his

feet or put their heads on his feet. He would have never allowed. He

was so full of humility and humbleness that in the company of his

companions, he never sat on a prominent place. This practice of

grave worship and personal adoration has to be condemned in no

uncertain terms. This must be stopped.


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See what, not only the Indian Muslims but the Muslims world

over, did with their sacred book – Quran-ul-Hakeem. They gave it a

unique distinction. These days it is the most widely read book,

without being understood ! So where is the question of acting on it ?

What Indian Muslims have done with their Masajids (Masjids) ?

Made it a place of rituals and on the top of it, kept 55% of Muslim

work force, women folk, out from most of them, forgetting that at the

time of Prophet (PBUH) women use to go to his Masjid and he

never stopped.

Indian Muslims point fingers, as the majority community for their

cast system and created our own. The shias, the sunnis, the Sufis,

the sayyed, the sheikhs, the boharas and the baigs.. so on and so


Are the IM fulfilling their obligations towards other Human beings?

Are the Indian Muslim have become their real force in inviting

towards good and forbidding evil. Are the IM taking care of their

neighbors? Are the rich IM feeding hungry, clothing the naked?

Shelting the unsheltered?

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Qura’an repeatedly commands Muslims to give (apart from Zakat,

which is compulsory) to take care of poor and downtrodden. Prophet

Muhammad (PBUH) emphasized the rights of the neighbor so much

that the companions feared that he might give them some rights of


And when the Qura’an does not say to give and the Prophet

Muhammad (PBUH) advices about the neighbor, the Qura’an nor the

Prophet said “Poor Muslims, Poor Neighbors” That poor and that

neighbor can be a Hindu, a Sikh, a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist or an

atheist. But the Rich Indian Muslims are busy in the shameful and

vulgar show of their wealth, especially in Hyderabad.

In a nutshell, the situation of Indian Muslims is pretty grim. Islam

teaches cohesion. IM are chaotic. Islam teaches discipline, IM are

disorderly divided. Islam teaches dominance, IM are dormant. Islam

teaches dynamism, IM are docile. Islam is a constant struggle, IM

are in a eternal slumber.

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What is to be done?

Indian Muslims have to struggle and strive in two spheres. i.e.

secular and spiritual. I call it an external and internal struggle. In the

secular domain successive Indian governments have deprived the

IM of their sense of belonging. IM must tell loud and clear, to the

powers to be, that we belong to India and India belongs to us. We

are born here, we will live here and we will die here. This is our

home, and we will make it a better home. We are the sons of the soil

and part of the Indian soil. If we sink, India sinks. Indian Muslims

(IM) should continue to demand for their due rights guaranteed by

the Indian Constitution. Fredrick Douglas said, “Power concedes

nothing without a demand, it never did, and it never will.”

Indian Muslims should participate in each and every walk of life.

Be, it business, or bureaucracy, politics or professions, civil service

or ordinary service.

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IM must educate their children in every sphere of education, be

its economics or engineering, liberal arts or architecture or army

service, politics or police service. Muslims who went abroad should

come back and retire here to guide the younger generation. Muslim

youth is restless.

More than the external, the internal struggle is the need of the

hour. Absolutely essential, and most vital. Each and every Muslim

should try to become a better Muslim.

Contd… 14

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Manu has beautifully said, “There is nothing noble or being

superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to

your previous self.” The essence of Islam is the development of a

God Conscious, Allah-fearing personality. A good Muslim, a devout

Muslim cannot be melted in a melting part. He can become part of a

mosaic. He adds a beauty and grace to that mosaic. A devout

Muslim is a true secularist. A good Muslim is a best citizen of any

country and is an asset to any community to any country. To become

devout, one has to struggle with himself. When returning from

Hunayn Expedition, the Prophet (PBUH) had declared, “We are back

from the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad.” A companion asked,

“What is the greater Jihad, O Messenger of Allah?” He answered, “It

is fighting the self (ego).”

In these days of murder and mayhem it is good to know about the

expeditions which were carried out by the Muslims under the

leadership of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). “Qitaal” i.e. “Killing” took

place in only 9 expeditions out of some 80 expeditions over a period

of 10 years. Only 270 persons were killed on enemy side and only

110 companions were martyred. It is to be noted that all the killings

took place on the battlefield, none in the city or the city centre.

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No non-combater, or a women or a child was killed. Prophet

(PBUH) participated personally in 27 out of 80 expeditions.

Coming back to Indian Muslims, IM have to embark on a massive

Jihad-e-Akbar to become better Muslim because Noble Qura’an

does not talk in terms of majority or minority. The Noble Qura’an

gives the Muslims, the glad tiding of vicegerency. If there are

hundered thousand Muslims with the degree of honesty and integrity

of persons like Abul Kalam Azad, Zakir Hussain, Lal Bahdur Shastry,

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the majority

community will say to them, “You run the country” It is the promise of

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, “ Allah has promised to those among

you, who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety

grant them succession (to the present rulers) in the Land.” (24:55)

IM have a tremendous task ahead of changing themselves

spiritually in this global village a call has come from the only Super

Power of the world – USA. This call for change was made by

President Barack Hussain Obama. This call for change is resonating

and reverberating the world over.

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Indian Muslims must remember the reminder of the One and the

Only One Supreme Being – Almighty Allah who says, “Verily never

will Allah change the condition of a people until they change

what is in themselves.” (13:11)

Are the Indian Muslims ready for a change?

Syed Habeeb Asharuf

Doctor of Medicine
Ex Sqn Ldr. I.A.F.
Attending Physician
in Emergency Medicine
at Siani Hospital of Baltimore, MaryLand, USA.
Ex President of Islamic Society of Baltimore