by Khurram Murad
Part One: Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) Today
One in every five persons on this earth firmly believes that the Prophet Muhammad is the last Messenger of God. He was a Muslim and there are more than 1.3 billion such Muslims today.
Not only individuals but entire countries take pride in declaring their allegiance to him. There are 54 such Muslim states today, ranging from those as large as Indonesia and Bangladesh, with populations of 200 and 125 million respectively, to those as tiny as the Maldives or Brunei with populations of 230,000 and 260,000. Even in non-Muslim countries, large Muslim populations constitute significant minorities; as much as 120 million in India and 20 million in China. Indeed, within the last half century, Islam, the religion brought by the Prophet Muhammad, has become the second largest religion in most European countries, as also in America and Canada.
Black and white, red and yellow, followers of the Prophet Muhammad come from all human races. Whether in Asia or Europe, Africa or America, in every nook and cranny of this globe, you are sure to find Muslims. They live in the most advanced, sprawling megalopolis as well as in the most primitive nomadic tent, village, hamlet, and even in the bush.Read more...
In order to understand the message of Islam, it is first necessary to acquaint ourselves with the prophet of Islam. You cannot, as the popular saying goes, separate the message from the messenger. It is therefore only natural to wish to study the life of Muhammad (pbuh), his manners and his morals, and to see how Islam manifested itself in his person as a living example for all Muslims till the end of time.
Abu Hurairah described him as follows:
"He was of medium build, closer to being tall. His skin was extremely white, his beard was black, his mouth was pleasant, his eyebrows were long, and his shoulders were wide"
Ibne Malik said:
"I never touched silk or any soft fabric equal to the softness of his palm, and I never smelled a scent more pleasing than his."Read more...
Allah T'ala sent the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) as شَاهِدً
Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good news and a warner. (33:45)Read more...
Analysis: More than Bad Rulers and Corrupt Societies
Posted: 18 Safar 1424, 20 April 2003
In the past centuries the Muslim world was much more integrated than we realize. It was one social, cultural, religious and economic domain. Its language, system of education, currency, and laws were the same.
When British journalist Robert Fisk said that in the face of disaster Arabs act like mice, he was being polite. He could have said that the Muslims act like mice. The question is why?
It is easy and customary to blame the current Muslim rulers for this sorry situation. No doubt the Iraq invasion would not have been possible without their acquiescence and support. If they refused to open their lands, waterways, and airspace to the invasion, it could not have taken place. Neither would the slaughters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosova, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Palestine have been possible if the Muslim rulers had their act together. But was it only because the Muslim rulers happened to be immoral, coward, and unscrupulous characters? Is the 1.2 billion strong Ummah suffering only because there are fifty-four corrupt persons who are ruling it?
These rulers do not carry out all their plans personally. They have armies of compliant soldiers, bureaucrats, and other staffers at every level of government that do the dirty work. Further the societies at large produce, nurture, and sustain the corrupt machinery of the corrupt governments. As we continue our investigation, we find that our problem is corruption; not only of the rulers but also of the ruled. Today we have strayed from the Shariah in our personal lives; we lie, cheat, steal at a higher rate than ever before; we exploit and oppress in our small spheres. In short, our problems are caused by our moral corruption.
But there is something more. And it is getting scant attention in the Muslim discourse.
Islam teaches us the correctness of belief is even more important than correctness of deeds. There is an implied message here: The corruption of ideas is far more devastating than the corruption of actions. This may be happening here. We complain about the particular tribal leaders that happen to be there today but forget about the tribalism that sits at the root of all this. This tribalism of the nation-states has been enshrined into the constitutions, legal structures, bureaucracies, and the entire apparatus of government in every Muslim country. Its language and thinking, though anathema to Islam, has gained widespread acceptance. While we condemn its outcome, we do not sufficiently examine or challenge the system itself.
We complain about the particular tribal leaders that happen to be there today but forget about the tribalism that sits at the root of all this
We constantly talk about the Muslim brotherhood and the need for Muslim unity. We assert that Muslims are one Ummah. Simultaneously --- and without much thought --- we embrace the symbols, ideas, and dictates of its exact opposite. We have lived under our nation-states, celebrated our national days, and sang our national anthems all our lives. As a result the realization that the gap between the idea of the nation-state and that of one Ummah is wider than can be patched with good leaders of individual nation-states does not occur easily. We do not realize that we may be trying to simultaneously ride two different boats going in opposite directions.
So let us consider some real life situations. In Pakistan, the provinces of Sind and Punjab share the Indus River. Available water is less than their combined needs and Punjab is situated upstream while Sind is downstream. Quite naturally, there is constant bickering over the distribution of water. The conflict is resolved by the presence of a central government and by the realization that both provinces belong to the same country. Now imagine that the two provinces had been transformed into two separate countries. We can be certain that the small issue that no body in the world knows about or cares about today would become a big international conflict. And it may matter little whether they were called Islamic Republic of Punjab and the Islamic Republic of Sind! The logic of a sovereign country is very different and once you embrace that there are consequences that good intentions and good people alone cannot overcome.
When completed Turkey's Southeast Anatolia Project, (GAP in Turkey) will reduce water supply to Syria by 50% and to Iraq by 90%, selling it instead to Israel through the so-called Peace Pipeline. A comparable situation would be Punjab denying water to Sind and then selling it to India.
To understand that let us move from the Indus basin to the Furat-Dijla (Euphrates-Tigris) basin. What is presented as a hypothetical situation in the former has been turned into an unfortunate reality in the latter. Both Dijla and Furat originate in Turkey, pass through Syria, and end up in Iraq where they join to form the Shat-al Arab that then discharges into the Persian Gulf. Mesopotamia means the land between the two rivers, the two rivers having been the source of civilization since the ancient times. Add the artificial international borders between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, and the same life giving water turns into an explosive that could rock the area. In 1974 there was a near war between Syria and Iraq as Syria began to fill the reservoir that has become Lake Asad, decreasing the flow of the river to Iraq to as little as 25 percent of the normal rate. Armies were moved and threats were exchanged, though finally diplomatic activity by the Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia defused the situation. In 1990 tensions ran high as Turkey stopped all flow in Furat for one complete month as it started to fill the Ataturk Dam.
Today Turkey's Southeast Anatolia Project, (GAP in Turkey) is promising a much more serious conflict in the days to come. The multi-billion dollar GAP includes more than 20 dams and 17 electric power plants, which will reduce water supply to Syria by 50% and to Iraq by 90% when it is completed in another twenty years. Even more bizarre is the plan Turkey has for part of the water that it denies to Syria and Iraq seriously endangering their agriculture and economies; it will sell it to Israel through the so-called Peace Pipeline that will run through the Mediterranean. The agreement with Israel was signed in 2001. "We have declared that we can sell water to whichever country needs water, regardless of its language or flag," said Cumhur Ersumer, Turkey's energy minister at that time. "It looks like Israel will be the first country to buy Turkey's water." That is the logic of the nation-state as articulated by Suleyman Demirel: "Neither Syria or Iraq can lay claim to Turkey's rivers any more than Ankara could claim their oil. This is a matter of sovereignty."
We can be sure that accountants in Turkey can show that Turkey will benefit economically by doing what it plans to do. And even a so-called Islamist party in Turkey will be driven by those calculations pledging, as it does, allegiance to "Turkish national interests." A comparable situation would be Punjab denying water to Sind and then selling it to India. No matter how corrupt leaders in Pakistan become (if they have not already reached the limit) it is just impossible to imagine that outcome. And yet the same situation is not only possible, it is there in the other case. Such are the wonders of the corrupt ideology of nation-state!
Conflicts of interest between any two entities are normal and natural. What is crucial is the mechanism and structure for resolving them. Islamic laws of inheritance highlight this fact. Conflicts could develop even among close relatives over distribution of inheritance. Since Islam values very smooth relations and does not like even the slightest bickering there, the Shariah has provided the detailed rules for this distribution. Neither the people involved, nor the government can override this distribution. Thus a solid mechanism has been provided for resolution of these conflicts.
In case of two provinces of the same country, the mechanism for the resolution of their conflicts remains in the form of the central government as well as firm realization on the part of everyone that they are riding the same boat. However when they turn into independent countries, both of these are lost.
How the definition of the self-interest can change with a change in the frame of reference can be seen through another example. When the US gave the Pakistani ruler the choice of either joining the invader or joining the target he did not hesitate for a minute to choose the first option. It can be criticized as much as one wants, but the fact remains that under the frame of reference under which Pakistan and all Muslim countries operate today, that was an option. But can we imagine the US demanding, or Pakistan conceding the support for attacking Baluchistan? This would clearly be seen as preposterous by everyone. As far as the Shariah is concerned, the two situations are exactly alike. But in the system of nation-states they are not.
The gap between the idea of the nation-state and that of one Ummah is wider than can be patched with good leaders of individual nation-states
That the opposition to what the Pakistani president did was manageable is also a reflection of the fact that Muslims the world over have generally and unwittingly bought into the philosophy of this nationalism.
The imposition of embargo on Afghanistan and Iraq is another example of the clash between Islam and the nation-state. Islam teaches that it is not a believer who eats while his neighbor goes to bed hungry. The system of the UN on the other hand, ordered its member-states not to supply any food or medicine to those dying of hunger and disease in Iraq. Again, the fact that Muslim countries have complied with the latter without any consternation or serious opposition is a reminder of our subconscious acceptance of the nationalist ideology.
We can see why world Muslims acted like mice in the face of disaster. The Qur'an warned us not to engage in disputes and infighting or we would become weak and powerless. But we have not only done the exact opposite, we have given a permanent structure and legal cover to the arrangement for that infighting in the current political organization of the Muslim domain.
This exposition of the ideology of nation-state invariably faces a mental block; namely that all this is impossible. This argument runs like this. We had a Khilafah centuries ago. Since then we have had a checkered history of nominal Khalifah, Sultans, and Nawabs running their own kingdoms and fiefdoms. Today we have fifty-four states and there is no way we can change that in our life times. Yes and no. While we had more then one centers of political power for centuries, the Muslim world was much more integrated then than we realize. It was one social, cultural, religious and economic domain. Its language, system of education, currency, and laws were the same. There were no restrictions on travel, or movement of capital or goods. A Muslim could take up residence and start a business or get a job anywhere. Ibn Batuta traveled from Tunisia to Hijaz, East Africa, India, Malaya, and China, covering 75000 miles without traveling the same road twice. During the twenty-five year journey he took up residence where he wanted to; got even government assignments as Qadi and even as ambassador in China for the Sultan in India. If that was possible then, it should be easier now because of the huge advances in the communication and transportation technologies alone.
The corruption of ideas is far more devastating than the corruption of actions.
No one is suggesting that we can dismantle the fifty-four Muslim governments overnight and replace them with a Khilafah. But we can gradually breakdown the barriers between the Muslim states in travel, trade, and all exchanges at personal levels. With free flow of people, goods, capital, and ideas throughout the Muslim domain, a quite revolution can begin. We could realize that this domain is much more self-sufficient and strong then we have ever realized. That its various parts complement each other's needs and strengthen each other. That it is the artificial borders between Muslim lands drawn by colonial powers that have terribly weakened it!
While we recognize that the barriers to that vision are real and very serious, we must also realize that the most serious barriers are mental and psychological. We must break through the mental straitjacket and realize that another world is possible. Only then we will begin to see how to get there. It may take a generation or many generations. But we will never get there if we do not know that is where we want to go. Today sometimes Muslims say out of frustration that Muslim governments should form their own United Nations. The suggestion does capture our deep desire for unity as well as our deep running confusion about it. For it has one s too many. The Islamic discourse should be about a United Nation of theirs and not United Nations.
This article is an analysis of the state of the rulers and governments of the world today.
Allah T’ala says in the Holy Quran,
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِينَ أُوْتُواْ الْكِتَابَ إِلاَّ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ وَمَن
يَكْفُرْ بِآيَاتِ اللّهِ فَإِنَّ اللّهِ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
3:19 The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account.
The Arabic word “Deen” is not just religious rituals, it includes guidance and rules for social, economic, political, and other aspects of life.
In another place in the Holy Quran, Allah T’ala tells us:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one (Satan); for he is to you an avowed enemy. (2:208)
Enter into the fold of Islam fully. Islam is it! This is your home. Don’t look elsewhere for anything. Look it up right here in the fold of Islam and be happy and satisfied with it. Islam is the complete way of life and the only way for success.
We did begin our life on earth on Deen-ul-Islam, as one Ummah. We were an Islamic Muslim community. With time, atheists, idol-worshippers (Mushriks) and ascetics, materialists, servants of Satan came out of the Muslim community.
كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ
فِيهِ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ فَهَدَى اللّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لِمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ
الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ وَاللّهُ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
2:213 Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace Guided the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guided whom He will to a path that is straight.
Allah T’ala sent Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) as a Mercy for the world and by the Grace of Allah T’ala, he successfully established one Islamic ummah. It stayed that way during the period of khulufa-ur-Rashidoon. But then soon after the martyrdom of Ali ibne Abi Talib (karamullah wajhu), the khilafah changed into kingship. That is when in the Ummah of Muhammad (s.a.a.w.), for the first time, Deen-ul-Islam was sliced as what the westerners call “Separation of Church and State.” That is when the focus of the people shifted from aspiring for Akhirah to worldly lusts and ambitions. So in the history, for example, you will find during the time of a caliph, houses became the topic of the town. In another caliph’s time, sex became the topic of the town.
All this happened at a time, when millions of people of the world have come into the fold of Islam and they needed proper Islamic education. The Muslim government was the best source to provide that education and it failed. No doubt, the task of educating the masses was taken up by great Imams, but obviously, it had its limitations.
These caliphs unfortunately, instead of leaving behind a Sadaqa-Jariah, left behind a Fitnahe-Jariah. What a terrible thing to do!
Be happy and grateful to Allah T’ala that you are not one of those. There is a blessing to be an ordinary person.
Muslim ummah remained in the hands of such caliphs for centuries. Great punishments thru crusaders and Mongols came to the ummah. Then came slavery and colonialism by the western powers. Eventually, freedom came, but what a freedom. Western powers left behind anti-Islamic systems of governments and their minions and cronies. That is how one can describe today’s governments of most of the Muslim countries.
When the system of government, the constitution, the by-laws, judgments and rulings in a country or community are not based on the Holy Quran and Sunnah, the rulers and administrators of that country or community are nothing but kafirs, Zalims and Fasiqs. That is not what I say. That is what Allah T’ala says.
Fourteen centuries ago, Allah T’ala revealed ayaat 44-47 in Surah Al-Maidah (Chapter 5), which speak about the deviations of the Jews and Christians. They were revealed for the Muslim ummah to learn a lesson and not fall into the same errors.
Ayat 44 in Surah 5 says:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُواْ لِلَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُواْ
مِن كِتَابِ اللّهِ وَكَانُواْ عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاء فَلاَ تَخْشَوُاْ النَّاسَ وَا خْشَوْنِ وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا
أَنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
5:44 It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah's will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Unbelievers.
In the next Ayat, Allah T’ala says:
وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأ ُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Zalimoon (wrong-doers, unjust, oppressors).
Then two verses down in Ayaat 47:
وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Fasiqoon (rebels, disobedients).
Kufr is unbelief. Kafir is unbeliever. Zulm is injustice and oppression. Oppression can be against others like you see violations of basic human rights committed by Muslim rulers and the so-called most civilized countries. Oppression can be self-oppression also. Oppression against one’s own self leads oneself into misery and punishment by Allah T’ala.Zulm can be so severe that it can put the person into the Jahannum. In Surah Luqman, Shirk is given as Zulmun-Azeem. And shirk is unforgivable sin. Fisq is disobedience. Fisq is rebellion, breaking the Law of Allah T’ala.Fisq can also be so great that it makes a person Kafir and puts him in Jahannum. When Allah T’ala ordered angels to prostrate to Adam (a.s.) and Shaitan refused to prostrate, as Allah T’ala says in Surah Kahf, Ayat 50, he committed Fisq.
وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاء مِن دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلًا
18:50 Behold! We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam": They bowed down except Iblis. He was one of the Jinns, and he broke the Command of his Lord. Will ye then take him and his progeny as protectors rather than Me? And they are enemies to you! Evil would be the exchange for the wrong-doers!
It is evident that non-Muslim governments do not follow Islamic Shariah. We don’t expect them to, as they are disbelievers. The more serious problem is that Muslim countries are doing the same. Today, you will find secular Muslim governments, socialist Muslim governments, communist Muslim governments, Democratic Muslim governments, but hardly any Islamic Muslim government.
Muslim rulers, instead of prostrating to Allah T’ala, the One and Only Deity, prostrate to the false deities of democracy, secularism, nationalism, socialism, communism, the deities of their own lust and Baghi (iniquity). That has put the Muslim ummah into such a terrible state that we find it difficult to get back to the Straight path.
As the great poet of Islam, Allamah Iqbal said:
The one Sajdah that you find cumbersome, is the Sajdah that saves man from thousands of prostrations. The prostrations to democracy, secularism and the like have brought nothing but ruins to the Muslim Ummah. When Muslim countries leave Islamic Shariah, they are competing with non-Muslim countries in sin!
The ayaat of Surah Al-Maidah I have read to you are not just for rulers of nations and communities. They do apply on all of us. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, "All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and responsible for his subjects; the man is a guardian and responsible for his family; the woman is a guardian and is responsible for her husbands house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
We all have to worry about falling into the traps of kufr, zulm and fisq.Let us do our best to seek guidance in all affairs of our life from the Holy Quran and the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.).Standing still in the face of the wind of troubling time will push us back. Let us try to move forward. Let us read Quran for guidance, seek knowledge and act upon it.
May Allah T'ala forgive our sins and have a lot more of His Mercy on the Muslim Ummah. Ameen