In our society everything is given
patronage except learning and research. Praises are showered on worthless ideas,
meaningless concepts are applauded and sensless thoughts extoled but, sadly
enough, true knowledge is forsaken and condemned. Ignorance is garlanded with an
ignorance profound. Scholarly research in religious issues, in particular, is
considered high treason and inevitably rewarded with bricks and battons.
In this regard, the greatest malady is
Taqlid. Every opinion which has once
been adopted is never thought over again. Every idea which has once been formed
is regarded with a sanctity which renders it eternal. Every view which has
remained undisputed in the past has become no less than the Word of God.
Emotional attachment to traditional concepts and conventional thoughts, however
foolish they may be and however much they might distort the truth, has given
rise to prejudice and intolerance. Sincere words of criticism are anticipated
with fire and fury from these quarters. A person who does so is degraded and
disgraced in the society, even if his arguments are based on the Qur’ān and
But then, this attitude is not even
worth complaining. Irrespective of all consequences, a person should always
uphold the voice of his conscience. He should remain steadfast in the cause of
truth and face every adverse current of the society with grit and endurance. Any
increase in the intensity of opposition should only increase his patience. The
more the going gets tough, the tougher he should become---for expending even the
last drop of blood in the cause of truth will make this path easier for others
to tread. Like a lighthouse all his struggles and sacrifices will gleam as a
source of guidance for humanity. He would then redifine the meaning of courage.
He would then extend the frontiers of valor. He would then add new dimensions to
dare and defiance. In the heavens, the angels will pray for his success and upon
the earth success itself would yearn to waylay him.
He should, also, never forget that since
the earliest stroke of his intellectual voyage, he has remained the most
besought target of traditionalists---the worst enemies of true knowledge. They
have always challenged the torrent of his intellectual advancement. In all times
of known history they have obstructed his progress, but then, with no avail.
Everytime that their claws have closed on the champions of truth, a new episode
of man's loftiness has been scribed by the historians pen. Ibni-Taimiyiah and
Ibni-Hazm, Abu-Hanifa and Maalik, Socrates and Copernicus all have written with
their own blood, stories of man's resolve against oppression and persecution.
They did die fighting but with their death the torch of truth shone even more
brightly and is held high to this day by the successors of these giants, by no
means any less in stature.
These legends, perhaps, have a message
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time