Ghouse speaks on commitment, Akhira (life here after) and the Power of Engagement

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Ghouse speaks at Aligarh Muslim University | The Ghouse
This is the outline of my speech at the Plenary session of AMU conference,  “Intellectual crisis of the Muslim Ummah;
Rethinking traditions solutions” held at Aligarh Muslim University on
April 6 and 7th in 2015.  It is not the transcript, hence the words and expression differ from the speech. 


Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a visionary, who understood the issues and
hopelessness of the Umma after the fall of the last Mogul.  He knew modern education was the only way to
pull the community out of the quagmire.

He took the bold steps to establish the educational institution despite the
opposition and hurdles. It is perhaps the first “Muslim” university
in the world where Muslims were taught subjects other than memorizing Quran and
Hadiths. He paved the Middle path for us with Deen and Duniya together
that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had advocated.

We went back in to slumber and remained
dormant for nearly a hundred years.  Thanks to the VC General Zameeruddin Shah, Pro-VC Brig Ahmed Ali
and Professor Rashid Shaz for having the courage to resuscitate that
vision and bring critical thinking back to AMU. We have to admire the staff and
volunteers who supported them without any reserve.

I pray that AMU will become one of the high profile Muslim
Universities in the world, and hope we all can pitch in to make that happen.  I am not an Alumni of AMU, but my spirit has always
been with AMU since I learned about Sir Syed in my school days. I was
completely surprised when my sister in Bangalore told me that it was her dream
to be at AMU campus as well.   Insha Allah,
her dream may come true next time when I visit the campus, hopefully to speak
about Pluralism in Islam.

I believe AMU was looking for critical thinkers who can challenge the
prevailing practices and take the Ummah forward to live the God given life
on this earth to the fullest possible extent.

Salam Friends.

Has anything ever happened by itself? No matter what it is, getting a job,
raising a family, going to war, building cohesive societies,  going to moon or coming to Aligarh – someone
caused it. 

conference would not have happened by itself; it needed a driver with passion
and a strong commitment.

Ray Bradbury had once said, “Until
one is committed, there is hesitancy… Concerning all acts of initiative (and
creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless
ideas and splendid plans: the moment one definitely commits oneself, then
Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never
otherwise have occurred.… Whatever you can do or dream that you can do, begin
it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

When you are not committed, and if something goes wrong, your attitude would be,
“ I knew it, I knew, it was not going to work out  for me” or “I should have listened to my
friends” and on and on… you find every excuse to justify the small set back to
get out of the situation.

Let me ask you this, if you fail yourselves, why should anyone give you a pass?
Why should anyone support you if you are hesitant?

Abdul Hamid Abusulayman beefs it up, “There is a clear distinction between
doubts and problems. Doubts provoke obstruction, frustration and
discouragement, where as problems inspire motivation, action and diligence

On the other hand when you are committed, and if
things go wrong,  your
attitude would be “Oh, I have to do this to get there, hurdles will not be hurdles
any more, but become stepping stones to get to the destination with all the

One of the greatest examples of commitment was delivered by Tariq Bin Ziyad;
when he crossed the Gibraltar Channel, he burned the ships. There was no going
back, period.

Such is the power of commitment and let’s give a big round of applause
to Dr. Shaz, his staff, volunteers and the management of AMU for their strong
commitment to make this event possible, and guess what, Aghaz to acha hai, and
Anjaam will have to be shaped by each one of us.  

Congratulations Dr. Shaz, God
is with you, and indeed, we are with you!

conference, “Intellectual Crises of the Muslim Ummah: Rethinking
Traditional Solutions” is a timely event. Today, we are at cross roads of
leaving behind 100 lousy years of post-colonial trauma, and setting up the next
100 years.  This is the time for us to
shape our destiny…

And it begins with freedom.  When Adam
and Eve were given the options and consequences for each action, God gave them
complete freedom and stuck to his words.  

When Adam and Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit… God knew they were wrong,
but God did not get mad, or slapped them left and right… instead, he accepted
their choice, he did even not stop them… Friends, we are born with freedom and
we must live with freedom. There is no compulsion in what you believe, and we
must value freedom as the most important value of Islam.

One of the major flaws in our thinking is our misplaced focus on
Akhira. We need to invest our time in fixing this flawed thinking and change
the future of Muslim Ummah.
have a choice to be herded, or shape our own destiny.  We need to boldly challenge what is taught to
us in our mosques. God has given us this life to live it to the fullest, and
not throw it away for Akhira.

I have not been to a Mosque in Aligarh yet, but every Mosque I have been to,
keeps pounding on Akhira. Life is a trust given to us, and how can we do
qiyanat with it, how can we jump to Akhira without living the Hazira? How can
we cheat the present for the future? We need to be honest with today to be
truthful with tomorrow.

When you are talking to your parent or child, how do you feel if he or she is
thinking something else… instead of being with you, he or she is somewhere
else? That is how God would feel, he gave us this life to live, and instead of
living it, we are jumping to the Akhira.

The Akhira is a poor excuse for those who are unable and incapable to deal with
what is given, and simply find refuge in Akhira. Next time you hear someone
talk about Akhira, please tell them that it is a poor excuse for not making
good of this life and Akhira is sequence after Hazira and we cannot jump to Akhira
without living the Hazira.


How many of you have heard about Fox News? 
How many of you have heard about Sean Hannity? He is the 2nd
most popular talk show host in the United States.  He is one of the most hated guys not only by
Muslims but the progressives as well.

The story I am about to tell is an eye opener and hopefully change your
mind.  I call this the power of
engagement, when you engage with people there is always a chance to bring about
a change. If you don’t, you don’t even have a chance.  I did not have to go to China to learn this,
I learned right here from Mother Teresa, she said, “If you want to bring peace,
go talk with your enemy.” Indeed, that is the truth.

When I go back to the States, I will be doing my 100th appearance on
his TV show and probably 50+ on his National talk show radio.

major things have happened thru this engagement; He has stopped attacking Quran
in the last two years and had agreed to (but has failed a few times) to use the
phrase “Radicals among Muslims” instead of “Radical Muslims.” It was a huge
concession!  Furthermore, the biggest
accomplishment for Muslim community through his promise was the change in the
tone of several of the right wingers. 
Representative Peter King, Chairman of the Homeland Security said this
on April 15, 2013 when CNN camera honed on him in the evening right after the
Boston Marathon bombing…
Hear the rest of the story in the video at:

Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and
other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book
standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature
film ” Sacred” to be released on 9/11 and a
documentary “Americans
” for a July 4
release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated
Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning
News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at and his writings are at – Mike is committed to building
cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 


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