By Mohamedarif Suleman,
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
As the pounding of atrocious bombs fall upon a defiant but helpless people, and the rest of the world continues to watch with unease, you sometimes wonder what exactly you are supposed to do. For you are one person or maybe a few hundred people but then that is no army in the face of a stealthy airborne squad that is far beyond your grasp. Or perhaps being less dramatic, you just want to stand up and tell people that this doesn’t add up and in fact it violates the very pillars of modern society that you advocate. Again when power games are being played, what room does a Muslim truly have in assisting another?
Of course we are well versed with the knowledge that Palestine is not an Islamic war front. These are people fighting for their right to life in their own land, and may we proceed to confirm that our similar sentiments would be reserved even for a non Muslim population faced with unjust and unfair treatment. After all, when tragedy struck in USA, we were all in pain although this is the very country most Muslims would awkwardly and confusingly love and hate at the same time.
In the preface of his book The True Jihad, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan states: “The word jihad has nowhere in the Qur’an been used to mean war in the sense of launching an offensive. It is rather used to mean ‘struggle’. The action most consistently called for in the Qur’an’ is the exercise of patience. Yet today the Muslim mujahideen under unfavourable conditions have equated “God is great” with “War is great”.”
When we speak about Muslims in general, there is no doubt that we are crestfallen and in the larger scheme of things, insignificant. The reason is rather apparent – those entrusted with leadership of Muslim nations, have taken wrong role models from Islamic history. Instead of subscribing to the code set by the Holy Prophet, these men in power walked the other dreadful way – that of suppressing their subjects and clinging on to power, and in the process if the deal seems good, then sell their people out to nations whose motivation is conquest. The Arab spring demonstrated how mysterious things are in the Middle East whereby it is a foggy truth to know who is right the king or the subjects who in some cases may be a group interested in usurping power only.
The more you think, the more you realise how uncontrollable things are getting now with more and more people failing to understand Islam because of the ravage spread by Muslims themselves. For one, years of keeping the Muslims away from learning and knowledge and surrounding them with the dazzle of gold and silver sound, is today manifesting into an unbelievable reality where Muslims themselves do not even understand their own religion. The programming of life – for instance to park wherever you are and rush for prayer (good deed yes) but with a systematic disconnect with the good deeds and values of life, means that like many other practices, salaat and so on have all become a ritual part of life and otherwise have little meaning in terms of life.
Eventually, our inability to relate to the dynamism of our religion, and our clinging to traditions that hold us back are all aggregating into the loss of faithfuls who are turning to other forms of beliefs that they consider to be responsive to their life needs.
The macroscopic effect of our inaction is manifest in the turbulence we see in countries ruled by Muslim leaders who are either staunch in their creed or are acting as transmitters of other powers who rule over the hearts and minds of Muslims due to their appealing inclination towards knowledge and progress.
The effects of our inaction are far and wide and beyond what we can really imagine.