The pattern of trade

Some time ago I was on an Islamic tour in Canada. My hosts took me to the Islamic center in one city. They proudly told me that the building had been a Christian church until bought by the Muslim community and transformed into a mosque/Islamic center. The architecture of the church revealed the history of the building. It was quite an emotional experience to hear the adhan and observe the Islamic prayers in this place. Then my hosts took me to another city. Their faces gleamed joyfully as they introduced me to a second surprise in one day: the mosque had also been a church and then bought by Muslims. Barely containing their jubilance, they asked me, "Describe your feelings, doctor." I answered, "I feel very scared!" It was a shocking response to them until I explained that the pertinent question to ask should be, "What made the Christians sell their churches to Muslims?" A generation of observing Christians was followed by another generation who could care less for religion or the church. The inevitable thought to follow was whether the same could not happen to Muslims. Unless the coming generation grows up to be active, genuine Muslims, the chain will be broken and God forbid our current masjids and centers might be on the market for sale in a decade or two.

The challenge facing Muslim parents, centers and mosques is obviously tremendous, given the sad state of licentiousness and moral disintegration pervading Western society. At the top of the list comes the sexual revolution with its vagaries that are too obvious to describe. Not only do our young people have the natural sexual instinct as their bodies beam with hormones, but they are also subjected to a tidal wave of neo-morality providing stimulation, inflammation, promotion, commercialization, easy access, rationalization and brain-washing into new social norms that conflict with Islam and with all divine religions.

How do we prepare our children to confront this temptation and be victorious over it? How do we train soldiers for battle? How do we vaccinate our children to acquire immunity against that to which they will inevitably be exposed?

Many Muslim families and indeed Muslim leaders and preachers have no real answer. Some think that children will remain children and others believe that because we are observant Muslims then our children will naturally follow in our steps. To bury our heads in the sand is no good and is a betrayal of our Islamic obligations to our children.

Dr. Shahid Athar is one of the small band of Muslims whose conscience made it incumbent on them to stand up and try to neutralize this gaping deficit. In my knowledge of him, I found a man who is keen on serving Islam with his mind and soul, rather than with rhetoric and sioganism so abundant in our ranks. He is among the few whose vision is more focused on tomorrow rather than the fleeting hustle and bustle of today. Unless the real issues are addressed, the future will be bleak.
In this book, Dr. Athar establishes the diagnosis and prescribes the treatment. I hope it will be read with an open mind by the Muslim youth and especially by their parents, teachers and preachers.
It is indeed my privilege to write this foreword. My God bless my brother Shahid.

Hassan Hathout