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Foot prints on the Sands of Time …
Dr. Shehzad Saleem


In our society everything is given patronage except learning and research. Praises are showered on worthless ideas, meaningless concepts are applauded and senseless thoughts extolled. Sadly enough, true knowledge is forsaken and condemned. Ignorance is garlanded with ignorance profound. Scholarly research in religious issues, in particular, is considered high treason and inevitably rewarded with spite and venom.

In this regard, the greatest malady is Taqlīd (Blind Following). 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 has rendered 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 baseless 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 traditional quarters. A person who does so is degraded in society, even if his arguments are based on the Qur’ān and Sunnah.

But then, this attitude is not even worth complaining about. 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 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 would make this path easier for others to tread. Like a lighthouse all his struggles and sacrifices would then shine as a source of guidance for humanity. He would then redefine the meaning of courage and extend the frontiers of valor. He would add new dimensions to dare and defiance. In the heavens, the angels would pray for his success and upon the earth success would yearn to waylay him.

He should, also, never forget that since the very first nautical mile of his intellectual voyage, he has remained the most besought target of traditionalists. They have always challenged the torrent of his intellectual advancement. Almost always they have obstructed his progress, but then, to no avail. Every time that their claws have closed on the champions of truth, a new episode of man’s loftiness has been scribed by the historian’s pen. A Socrates, an Ibn Taymiyyah, a Mālik, a Galileo, a Copernicus, a Farāhī was always there to write with his own blood an episode of man’s resolve to abide by the truth. They died while upholding the cause of truth and with their death the torch of truth shone even brighter and is held high to this day by the successors of these giants, by no means any less in stature.

Perhaps these legends, in the words of Longfellow, have a message for us:


Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time

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