Quarterly: Issue No 49
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UNITE! O MUSLIMS
A western neo-colonialist critic once said: “Even if Islam were to sweep the entire area from South Africa to Philippines we need not fear for they are utterly and hopelessly disunited. The Islamic world would probably turn in on itself over sectarian and national divisions before it would be a major threat to even India.” We wish it was not but the fear is that this is the truth. Today Muslims number over 1.5 billion and growing rapidly, by the Grace of Allah. Oil drives the world and three-quarters of the proven oil reserves lie under Muslims feet. Islam the religion of Muslims is no doubt a very powerful force as it was when it first spread out of Arabia over fourteen centuries ago. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific isles is a landmass spanning more than 15,000 km that is inhabited by Muslim majorities. Yet how do Muslims figure in the world arena? Sad to say it’s nothing less than pathetic. The GDP of all the Muslim countries combined is less than or equal to that of France. When 50,000 Muslim women were raped by Christian Serbs in Bosnia, Muslim rulers watched as spectators. When country after country falls to the hands of neo-colonialist, Muslims look on helplessly. When Lebanon is bombed to Stone Age and Palestine is no more they sit on their backs and heat their seats. Millions starving in Africa and many more oppressed in Central Asia do not disturb the Muslim peace of mind. Ya Allah! I dare to say they will still be heating their chairs even if Makkah Mukarramah is vapourized or millions butchered in this Noble City. "The less we think about the future of Muslims, the better" seems to be the thought of the day. Disunited as we are, I don’t think Allah will ever help us unless we correct our own social conditions. Allah also confirms the consequences of a fragmented Ummah in the following words:
And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones). (Surah Al-Anfaal : 46)
Allah’s help will come only when we change ourselves for the better. Allah says in the Qur’an:
Verily! Allah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). But when Allah wills a people's punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector. (Surah Al-Ra’d: 11)
The darkest hours are nearest to dawn. There are ways out of this seemingly stalemate situation. We need to plan for a united union/federation of Muslim majority countries. Let us call it United Nations of Islam or simply UNI for easier reference. UNI does not necessarily mean something like a Caliphate, it could be like the European Union (EU) and, insha Allah, can be created in phases and stages via discussions, dialogues, consensus, coordination etc. The current national borders, nation governments etc. can still continue to exist, but there will also be a federal government and parliament for the whole UNI. The people from one part of the federation, for instance a citizen of South Africa would be able to go to Malaysia without the need for a passport or other travel documents, just like how it is currently done within the EU. An investor from Kuwait will be able to start a business enterprise in Senegal or Pakistan as easily as he would in Kuwait. An Indonesian or Pakistani farmer will send his harvest to be sold to Moroccans and Yemenis without many hassles of import duties he presently has to pay. People within the UNI will be able to move and settle anywhere within the UNI federation’s borders as if they are in the same country. The movement of people and goods within the federation will have as much freedom as available in a country now. All people irrespective of gender, religion, nationality, caste, colour or language currently living within the UNI borders will belong and be citizens of UNI. They will have all the rights they enjoy now. There is no need for Muslims living outside of UNI federation to come and live in a UNI country, but of course if anyone wants to, they should be able to settle and obtain citizenship of any of the UNI countries.
Leaving things as it is or engaging in wishful thinking without any plan of action or allowing and appealing to non-Muslims to decide the fate of our lands and the Muslim Ummah, in all likelihood, leads to the devastation of both. We Muslims must decide our future and not leave it for the Pentagon or the Kremlin. We are making a grave mistake in underestimating the abilities, resources and knowledge Allah has given us. Insha Allah, if we can only start to make an effort, we will achieve our goals.
It is worth remembering 60 years ago a European Union was a dream of a very few enlightened people. Today it is a reality. There always exists an urge in the Muslim psyche for something like a Caliphate. Similar proposals have been voiced before. That is also great. But to bear fruit, plans need to be made and we need to contribute by way of actions. And as the first steps in materializing this dream, we need to spread this idea to as many Muslims as possible.
To the Arab rulers and wealthy Muslims, we say: “O Arab Rulers and Wealthy Muslims! Stand-up and assert Muslim interests. Don’t just sit on your backs”. I must recall listening to an interview with British MP George Galloway, aired on Al-Jazeera TV recently. Apart from Galloway’s style of delivery his statements contain glaring facts about Muslim leadership and wealthy Muslims. During the interview Mr. Galloway said: “Two of the Arab world's beautiful daughters, Jerusalem and Baghdad, are in the hands of the foreigners - these occupiers - and nothing can be done by the Arab rulers, because they are in bed, fornicating with the foreigners, who are occupying and using these beautiful Arab daughters as they will.” He added further: “You know, I don't want to embarrass any particular Arab ruler, but I once spoke to a prince. I told him two years ago that there were three British newspapers on sale for 100 million pounds - The Daily Express, the Sunday Express, and the Daily Star. Three important newspapers! "Why don't you buy them," I said. "You could make a foothold for a decent point of view on the Arab world, if you were to buy these newspapers." He could have bought them, but he didn't have the courage to buy them. He'd rather spend the money on other things. You know, in London, there is enough money thrown onto the roulette tables of London's casinos by Arabs, which could buy media in America and Britain, and transform the landscape. But I tell you, the good news is this: In the desert, just a few drops of water can transform the landscape. All we need is a few drops of water, because the American and British people have no faith, no trust, in their leaders. They know that the policy of their leaders is leading them to disaster.”
As Muslim, we must strive to revive our Muslim Ummah by all means available to us, even if others in superior positions than us do not. Allah has made the world in such a way that success in many areas of life comes out of discipline and hard work. Getting your body in shape, succeeding at study etc. all take some level of commitment and effort. Likewise, if we want to see a glorious and stronger Muslim Ummah we need to be willing to do things we have never done before. This sometimes means leaving one’s comfort zone and knuckling down for some hard work. We all must share the responsibility – the ulama included. We owe this to Allah and His beloved messenger Muhammad – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
However, it is very encouraging to see many scholars, leaders, intellectuals and journalist increasingly emphasizing the need for Muslim unity, in this long due awakening of the Muslim Ummah. But the effort of these people alone is not sufficient to unite the Ummah. We the Muslim masses must also share this responsibility and play our part towards uniting Muslims. It is high time we put this among our highest priorities in our daily life.
In many Muslim countries today, people are being killed and abducted by Muslim Governments and various agencies linked to it. This is happening everywhere be it Pakistan, Central Asia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia or Sudan. If the majority of the Muslims didn’t remain silent their governments will not do these things. Who do Muslims blame for these abductions and crimes? We blame America and Israel and come up with all sorts of excuses for the state of the Muslim world. It is true that other countries, especially the USA, play a huge role in the things happening in the Muslim world but it is ultimately the incompetent Muslim Governments and rulers who are responsible for these crimes. Where are the protests against the Muslim Governments? Why are we Muslims silent? The cruelest crimes in history were not done by the tyranny of a few but by the silence of the majority at the face of tyranny.
It is obligatory upon the Muslims to unify their ranks and to unite upon the TRUTH and to co-operate in goodness and piety against the enemies of Islam - as Allah, the Most Perfect, ordered them with in His saying:
And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur'an), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided. (Surah Aal-'lmraan 103).
And likewise, Allah has warned the Muslims against splitting up in the following words:
And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment. (Surah Aal-'lmraan 3:105).
However, Allah’s order to unify the Muslims and unite them upon the truth and to hold fast to the rope of Allah does not mean that we should compromise and not stop people from wrong beliefs and practices. All of this is included in Allah’s Command as follows:
Help you one another in AlBirr and AtTaqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. (Surah Al-Maa'idah: 2). And His Command as follows:
Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma'roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful. (Surah Aal'-lmraan: 104). Therefore, when the people of truth withhold from clarifying the mistakes of those who have erred or are mistaken, then they will not have achieved that which Allah ordered them with, as regards calling to goodness, ordering the good and forbidding the evil. So the people in error will remain upon their error, and the one acting in opposition to the truth will remain upon his opposition. And this is contrary to what Allah - the Most Perfect - prescribed, with regards sincere advice, co-operation upon goodness, ordering the good and forbidding the evil. And Allah alone is the One who grants success.
It is obligatory to co-operate on that which we agree, by aiding the truth, calling towards it and warning against that which Allah and His Messenger have prohibited. If the difference involves a particular issue of ijtihaad wherein the proofs are deep and detailed - then it is obligatory not to reproach or criticize one another. However, if it opposes a clear text of the Qur’an or the Sunnah, then it is obligatory to correct the one who has opposed the clear texts, but with wisdom, beautiful admonition and debating in the best possible manner, acting upon Allah command as follows:
Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur'an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided. (Surah an-Nahl: 125).
May Allah guide us all to remain steadfast and sincere in the Straight Path of uniting this Ummah as commanded by Allah and His beloved messenger Muhammad! Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and all his companions. Ameen!
Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alaihi wa'sallam) said:
Indeed Allah is gentle and loves gentleness, and gives due to gentleness that which He does not give to harshness.
(Reported by Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibbaan)
So through gentleness hearts become united in friendship and love, and good becomes widespread. Whereas through its opposite, ill feelings and distrust prevails and people forsake one another.
The Believer is a Mirror for His Brother
Allah's Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said:
The believer is a mirror for the believer, and the believer is the brother of the believer. He safeguards his property for him and defends him from behind. (Reported by Abu Dawood)
So the description of his being a 'mirror' is very precise and profound showing the culmination of brotherhood and solidarity. So your brother is an image of you yourself. If he behaves badly it is as if you are the one who has behaved badly, and if he makes a mistake, it is as if you have made a mistake. So he is a mirror for you and then an image of you yourself. So do not treat him except with mildness and gentleness.
May Allah guide us all in understanding Islam in its pristine purity! Ameen!
Requesting your humble duas!
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir,
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN,