The successful prophetic mission of Muḥammad (sws) gave
rise to a culture which was based on and dominated by the value of ‘ubūdiyyah.
It implies that the whole society centred on belief in God and servant-Lord
relationship. This centre was the only criterion of validity of all human
thought and action. Freedom was no doubt valued, yet dominated by the value of
‘ubūdiyyah. The Muslim culture was not unclear on the question of its moral and
ethical foundations. These were authenticated by divine revelations. Poets,
litterateurs, philosophers, sages, scientists and rulers, all were clear on this
issue and recognized this reality in their views and thoughts. The Muslim
culture, founded on this clear and uniform model of thinking, governed the
collective body of Muslims for more than a decade. hifẓ-i furūj, ḥifẓ-i
marātib and ’amr bi al-ma‘rūf and nahī ‘an al-munkar constituted characteristic
values of the Muslim culture.
These can be explained as follows:
Ḥifẓ-i furūj implied that the members of the society
would not be allowed to practice and promote sexual promiscuity. Men and women
could not openly enter into sexual relations. They could not illicitly live
together and were not allowed to reveal their bodies.
Ḥifẓ-i marātib meant that though all human beings are
originally equal in the eyes of God, yet they are not equal in their family and
social relations. The younger have to show respect to the older, the children to
their parents, the students to their teachers, the wives to their husbands.
Socially seniors were given the right to correct and censure the juniors in all
social layers. The respect and honour of the elders and the seniors was always
preferred over individual liberty.
‘amr bi al-ma‘rūf and nahī ‘an al-munkar entailed that the
adherents of the Islamic faith would not, at the collective level, show
indifference to the values of good and evil. All such values as accord to the
human orientation (fiṭrah) and acknowledged by entire humanity as virtue and
good would be promoted at all scales and all such actions, as abhorred by the
human nature and termed evil and bad, would be prohibited in all circumstances.
Such was the Muslim culture, the beauty and crown of
humanity. The downfall of this culture is nothing less than the downfall of
humanity. Alas for man! If only he craved for re-establishing this great
tradition as much as he yearns for democratic ideals and rule of law.
Ghāmidī’s Maqāmāt by Tariq Mahmood Hashmi)