The way forward for us

Let us look at ourselves, and find what is wrong, and try to correct it. The criticism I make is not aapplicable to all of us, but to many, even a majority.

Many years ago, reading the papers, (we had printed newspapers and magazines then, no (TV), certain things were clear:

the Caliphate had declined and been abolished; the Muslim countries were colonised; and only after the world wars, did the countries become independent and that was a qualified indepenence).

I could not understand then, and I only dimly understand it now, why the Muslim countries stayed separate, and did not come together to form a Caliphate. So when Egypt and Syria came together, it was a source of joy, and when the United Arab Republic was disbanded, it was incomprehensible for me.

Earlier on in life, I thought that the Muslims had lost touch with science and technology. So, I reasoned if we turn to science, we will be able to hold our own. Science and technology are the keys to stay free.

Later on, I would find fellow Muslims saying that because five powers and Israel possessed the nuclear weapon, Muslims had no chance except to give up struggles because they did not have their own nuclear weapons.

Well, when India went nuclear, Pakistan tried and managed to develop a nuclear weapon. That somewhat ensured that India did not invade it. Beyond that, Pakistan was unable to get the Kashmir issue resolved or to provide security to Muslims in other lands.

When Afghanistan was invaded by USSR, Pakistan provided support for the refugees, and a base for the Mujahideen who drove back the USSR. But when the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan, the US put back-breaking sanctions on Pakistan, and for the first time, suicides due to hunger occurred in Pakistan.

Now, why was that? The reason was that the Pakistani elite had borrowed heavily from the IFIs (International Financial Institutions), and usurped or mismanaged the money that had come in, becoming addicted to consumer goods, without investing in production that would pay back the interest or the principal on the loans. When there was a squeeze by the IFIs on credit, Pakistan was introduced to short term, heavy interest private loans, the repayment of which became even a greater burden.

It was then that 9/11 happened, and Musharraf, struggling with an insolvent state, saw it as a chance to ditch the Talibaan, and come back in favor with the US, so as to put our finances back in controllable shape.

Our religious and political leaders have mostly condemned this about-turn, but most of them are as addicted to modern consumerism, as the other parts of our elite.

It is now understood that the “freedom” we won was in name only, and that there had already been in place a mechanism (IFIs) to keep us in bondage.

The role of the two blocks in the so-called Cold War, was also to ensure that the third world countries, (and that included the Muslim ones), stayed under control.

But ask yourself: Why did the Afghans get into a civil war after the USSR withdrew?

What is wrong with Muslim societies then?

First of all, does everyone who calls himself a Muslim understand what is meant by it, and does his life reflect that understanding?

Do we know what is meant by the declaration of the kalima? What is meant by One Deity alone?

You will find that many do not understand that One Deity means a clear understanding and internalisation of Tawheed.

What is meant by the declaration that Muhammad [saw] is the last prophet?

You will find us following many leaders, other than the prophet [saw] – all this in the name of progress, or the need of times.

What is meant by our belief in other prophets (as)? and what is meant by our belief in the old Books revealed to the prophets, and belief in the Quran?

What was the purpose behind revealing the Quran? For whom was it revealed, and how do we understand it?

Does Islam tell us what sort of society to have? Does it tell us what should be our goals in life? and what are the methods we are allowed to use?

You will find that people declare belief in the prophet [saw] and the Quran, even say prayers and keep the fast, yet they do not stop stealing or telling lies.

The structure of our societies has been feudal. The mindset of feudal society is control. Our feudal and bureaucratic leaders have limited access to schooling, to technical training, to scientific and engineering knowledge, and most of the applications of knowledge.

There is ignorance and corruption at every level. There is misunderstanding of the sharia at every level. There isn’t enough investment in quality, affordable, education. There isn’t enough investment in employment, and there isn’t a culture of professionalism.

The prophet [saw] told us that removing small pebbles from the way is also sadaqah. It means that we are encouraged to remove obstacles from other people’s paths, provided of course what they are doing is legal and moral according to Islam.

Our societies place obstacles in the paths of the common man. Our societies make it difficult for people to get their due normally.

Let us then make this rule for ourselves: If what someone is doing is legally and morally correct, if we can help, then we should do so, if we cannot, at least we should not be an obstacle.

Le us go one step further: tell others to follow this example.

I read somewhere that the prophet [saw] said: a Muslim can be anything but a liar. At least when one young man approached him with a list of his sinful ways, the prophet asked him only to give up lying.

So, let us make another rule: never to lie. And go one step further. Lead by example; before telling others to tell the truth, let us do it ourselves.

The prophet [saw] said something like: if someone gets hold of land that does not belong to him, that piece of land will be wound around his neck on judgment day. We find people taking what is not theirs, particularly land.

Let us then make this third rule for ourselves: only to take what is halaal for us, and let us show others to do the same.

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