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The Role of Change in the human destiny
by Nasir Shamsi
People can be divided into two groups, for
the purpose of this study. Those who acknowledge that to change
is to live and to look forward to the future.
Others who fail to acknowledge the role of change in time and
tend to perpetually live in the past, unaware of their present
The former are people of Tradition, who guided by the Tradition
and interpreting the current realities of life according to the
changing circumstances (ijtehad) are able to carve out
their present and future. The latter group clings to "
unwilling to accept the role of Change in their lives.
People who perpetually live in the past fail to recognize that
besides past, there are two other segments of Time: the "
Present " and the " Future "; while each of these three segments
of Time are parts of the essential " whole ", they are bound or
held together by the inevitable, ever-present element. That is "
History (past) is as essential to humanity as brain is to the
body. But to tend to always live in the past is equivalent to
being continually obsessed with one's brain, failing to realize
it is part of the whole body; it has a function; it is not the
Tradition and traditionalism are poles apart? Tradition embraces
change; traditionalism abhors change. One is forward moving,
with eyes on front, the other is static, with eyes on the back.
One embraces change and moves with the time; the other resists
change and defies the changing times.
Tradition is a living phenomenon, a flowing river, with fresh
waters, ever moving and changing its course when it goes up and
down the valleys, the plains and the mountains. Traditionalism
resembles a stagnant pond, an an abiding obsession with the
past, characterized by a pathetic indifference to the living
realities, a kind of backward phenomenon.
Tradition, according to the Evangelist Charles Windall, is the
living faith of a people, while Traditionalism is the ' dead
faith ' of the living, a person's fixation with the past.
Tradition acknowledges change; it is healthy and leads to
prosperity. Traditionalism defies change; it is sick and leads
Allah swt swears by the Time (al-Asr) in Quran's shortest
chapter, al-Kothar; in another Aya of Quran makes the
significance of change manifest in these most clear and eloquent
"...Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people
until they change it themselves..." Qur'an 13:11
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