Ref. your vol 9 Issue 12 dated 15-21 Mar 2007, the article Save the US Ummah, by Adil James.
Jeffery Lang has lucidly identified some negative aspects in the present state of the US `ummah, (by and large also applicable to the Ummah in general). Racial bias; cultural bias; cultural obsession (with oneâ€™s culture to the extent of confusing/substituting the essentials of Islam with cultural practices); imposition of remotely obscure and/or questionable interpretations of the Shariâ€™ah seem to be mainly responsible.
Statistics of â€œfastest shrinkingâ€ in numbers apart, what is really alarming is the fast shrinking level of taqwa in the `ummah.
This could possibly be attributable to two factors. Firstly, the lack of genuine and convincing spiritual guidance, both at macro level (mosques, discussions, seminars, etc) and at the micro level (homes).
In either case there is an apparent shortage of role models to follow.
At the macro level, the emphasis should be more on practical righteous behaviour rather than just regularity in prayers. A good person makes a good believer. At the micro level (where an individualâ€™s character and personality are large moulded) where generally the father is the role model, children observe an alarming disparity between preaching and practice, with hypocrisy often being the rule.
The second reason seems to be the alarming rise of hypocrisy amongst the `ummah. Of course, only Allah knows for certain what is in a manâ€™s heart, but it is disturbing when you see people say one thing and then do something totally the opposite.
We also seem to be unmindful of the damage caused to the fair name of the `ummah, when we exonerate, (even trying to cover up) known individual cases of excessive behaviour.
Occasionally we even highlight (perhaps through ignorance) display of ostensibly religious fervour which more likely may be acts of hypocrisy.
[The writer of this letter now cites as evidence a specific example of a person he says was arrested for a crime–TMO did not verify this information and if it is true the TMO editors do not wish to expose the person].
The dire need of the moment for the `ummah seems to be Righteous (behaviour and) Acts, emphasised so frequently in the Qur`an.