Saturday, November 16, 2013

Debunking 10 Myths amongst the Ummah

The Muslim Ummah has gone through a tumultuous period ever since the destruction of the Khilafah. But matters did not end there. Our lands were dismembered, agent rulers were brought power, the Ummah was divided by new borders and chaos and anarchy ensued. Many, in attempting to understand this complex reality arrived to a variety of conclusions. Some who benefited from the new status quo, peddled specific opinions to preserve their positions or benefit from the chaos. In pursuit of answers a confused mentality amongst the Ummah emerged. Today we hear many conspiracy theories which attempt to reconcile the reasons as to why the Ummah is in the position it is today. This article will highlight some of these and assess their validity.
1. The Jews control the world
Besides representing a mere 0.2% of the world population, the Jews are shrouded by a mythical aura of invincibility and it is often heard by Muslims that "The Jews" control the world. One reason for this may lie in the establishment of a Jewish State in the heart of the Muslim lands which has not only managed to survive for 64 years but has even managed to expand its borders.
If the theory that the 'Jews control the world' was true, some questions arise; Why have they not yet been able to destroy Palestine and end the ongoing conflict that has lasted for over 5 decades? If they control the world why are they threatened by the rapprochement between US-Iran? If they control the world why do they make such exhaustive lobbying efforts?
The reality is the Jews do not control the world. They seek to influence public policy by using the façade of human rights and democracy to protect the existence of Israel. Jewish lobby groups are known for their success in encouraging US Lawmakers to support policies in line with its interests such as the right for Israel to exist. There is no secret as to why the US aids Israel with billions of dollars and increasing every year, since from a political viewpoint it achieves a strategic objective for the US such as curtailing influence of neighbouring states in order to preserve its hegemony in the region. The Jews don't control the world, they exert influence and there is a big difference between control and influence.
2. The Mahdi will come and save us
The return of Imam Mahdi is used as an excuse and justification for inaction, taking the fatalistic view that we as an Ummah cannot, and even should not, do anything about the corrupt situation until the Mahdi appears at the end of time and establishes the Khilafah. However, an authentic hadith shows that the Khilafah will have been established by the Muslims before the coming of the Mahdi. This can clearly be seen in the hadith narrated by Umm Salamah (RA) that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
"Disagreement will occur at the death of a caliph and a man of the people of Medina will come flying forth to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and give bay'ah to him between the Rukn and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Syria but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Medina. When the people see that, the God fearing people of Syria and the best people of Iraq will come to him and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. Then there will arise a man of Quraysh whose maternal uncles belong to Kalb and send against them an expeditionary force which will be overcome by them, and that is the expedition of Kalb. Disappointed will be the one who does not receive the booty of Kalb. He will divide the property, and will govern the people by the Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him) and establish Islam on Earth. He will remain seven years..." (Reported by at-Tabarani in al-Awsat. According to Ibn Hajar in his Majma' az-Zawaid the transmitters in at-Tabarani's narration are sound and authentic.)
The above hadith states that disputes will take place at the death of the Khaleefah and consequently a man will come forth who after being given bay'ah as the Khaleefah will declare himself to be the Mahdi. So clearly Mahdi will not establish the Khilafah Rashidah that will return as foretold in the ahadith. Moreover he will not be the first Khaleefah after the destruction of the Khilafah and nor will he be the last Khaleefah. Rather, he will be a just Khaleefah who will establish the justice of Islam on earth. This is from the perspective of the account of the story as prophesised by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم
3. Free masons are destroying Islam
The widespread attacks on Islam by the media led Muslims to explore and understand the nature of these attacks and why Islam is constantly under the spotlight. A freemasonry explanation seems to satisfy the minds of many by showing that there is a hidden agenda to destroy Islam. In 1987, an Egyptian writer Sa'id Ayyub published a book arguing that there was a link between freemasonry and Dajjal. These theories were elaborated and popularised among the Ummah by the English convert to Islam David Misa Pidcock. Since the events of 9/11, the idea that the freemasons worship the devil has become widespread amongst Muslims. Some Muslims argue that freemasonry promotes the interests of the Jews and their aim is to rebuild the Temple of Soloman in Jerusalem after destroying the Al-Aqsa mosque. A recent video series called the Arrivals which reinforced these ideas went viral on social media and many Muslims caught on to this.
The reality is that indeed there is an attack to secularise Islam and prevent the rise of the Khilafah. However this attack needs not to be attributed to a secret masonry organisation which no one knows about except from a few leaks on YouTube. Rather the attack is notably carried out by all of the current superpowers of the world including America, Britain, France, Russia, Germany who work tirelessly to malign the political elements of Islam and secularise the deen so that Muslims across the globe adhere to the Western values such as the freedom to obey your desires as oppose to adhere to the Shariah of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. So we see that any Muslims who discuss Islam politically and talk about the Khilafah or the desire for the implementation of Islam in the Muslim World are labelled as extremists, radicals, and Islamists e.t.c. A retired British General, Richard Dannatt confirmed this when he said about the war of occupation in Afghanistan
"For those who are brave enough to acknowledge it, the Islamists' long-term objective is clear, although deliberately understated: the restoration of the historic Islamic caliphate, running through South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and up through south and south-east Europe. The problem is that it is not time-dependent: they are prepared to follow a timetable far longer than those in liberal democracies can accept. As the insurgents often say, we may have the watches, but they have the time. This is why, while I welcome President Obama's statement of intent – which we will succeed – the talk of a timeline for withdrawal was misjudged."
4. The Ummah is not ready for Shari'ah rule
Ever since the Khilafah was destroyed in 1924, the Ummah lost its vehicle to establish the Shari'ah of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the constitutions of her lands were changed from being the Shari'ah of Allah سبحانه وتعالى to man-made secular constitutions as illustrated in the Western World. As a result ideas that are foreign to Islam such as 'sovereignty belongs to man' and an individual has the 'freedom' to act in accordance to his desires has led to many Muslims from restricting their actions within the commands and prohibitions of Allah سبحانه وتعالى to doing as they please. So many Muslims witness others who are not following the Shari'ah and thus hold a view that we are not ready for the Shari'ah rules to be implemented in the world.
However, these realities do not mean that the Ummah are not ready for Shari'ah Rule. Infact overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want the Shari'ah to be the official law of the land as annual surveys have shown year in year out such as the Pew Forum. They found in some countries up to 99% favoured the Shari'ah such as Afghanistan and in others such as Bangladesh, Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, Palestine and Iraq all had above 80% who want the Shari'ah . Moreover, the Shari'ah must be implemented irrespective of the strength or weakness of the Ummah since this has been obliged upon the Ummah. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,
فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
"And rule between them by that which Allah revealed to you, and do not follow their vain desires away from the truth which came to you."
(al-Ma'idah, 48)
Allah سبحانه وتعالى does not command something that the Ummah are incapable of thus the question of the implementation of the Shari'ah is therefore not an optional one based on preferential condition of the Ummah being in a state of strength or weakness, rather it is a task which has to be done regardless if the Ummah appears to be ready or not .
5. The Ummah is too divided
Eid on different days, allegiances to different mosques and the perpetuation of infighting between Muslims over their school of thoughts or groups each abdicating the other are realities which the Ummah witnesses on a year after year. These issues which are almost consistent around the world in their relative communities can easily project a disheartening scene of the Ummah thus leading to a defeatist argument that we as an Ummah are simply too divided to bring about any global change. However the 'difference of opinion' between Muslims have existed as long as Islam itself. Whilst it is healthy to have a diversity of views it can also be problematic if certain differences are not resolved. Indeed the enemies of Islam use such differences to "divide and conquer" the Muslim lands. The US invaders in Iraq for example stoked up sectarian strife in Iraq between Sunnis and Shia's - so that they could take control of the country.
There is however a method to resolve differences between the Ummah. It is well known that individual Sahaba had differences of opinion and there are Shari principles that have been deduced to resolve differences which are; "The Imam's decree settles the disagreement" And "The Imam's decree is executed openly and privately." All Muslims including the scholars, have to follow the opinion adopted by the Khalifah. Differences of opinion amongst Muslims have occurred in the past and will occur in the future. The correct framework to handle them is through the Khilafah state - as any other route will merely lead to confusion, conflict, anarchy and chaos. The Ummah is indeed divided, however the cause and the root of these divisions is the absence of a leader, thus the view that 'Ummah is divided' is not the cause of the sad state of affairs we are in, rather it is an inexorable outcome in the absence of a leader .
6. The Ummah is too weak
Albeit our glorious history, many believe that the Muslim world is weak and cannot present a challenge to the major powers of the world. Corrupt governments, poverty-stricken populations and the lack of modernisation in infrastructures can lead one to hold a pessimistic view about the capabilities of the Ummah. However, despite this some of the Muslim countries have made some key military advances such as Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Indonesia. Below are just some statistics to illustrate the readiness of the Ummah in regaining its position in the international arena .
• Pakistan has the 6th largest army in the world
• Turkey has the 7th largest army in the world
• Turkey has the second largest army within NATO
• Turkey has plans to develop its own fighter jet (in house) by 2020
• Iran has produced key military hardware such as Radar technology and Missile Systems
• The Turkish navy, With 14 diesel electric attack submarines and 17 frigates, is the most powerful fleet in the Middle East and North Africa
• Both Turkey and Egypt possess over 200 F-16's all of which are capable of undertaking precision ground strikes and intercepting enemy aircraft beyond visual distances
The Ummah must not forget the world's most sacred resources lie in the Muslim World, from coal, oil, gas to young populations to vast fertile agricultural land all over the Muslim countries. The physical capabilities are already present, what's missing is the political management of these resources and a sincere leader who fears Allah سبحانه وتعالى and works at the service of the Ummah alone.
7. The US is too powerful
Whilst the USA began the 21st Century of the World's unrivalled superpower dominating politics, economics, foreign policy and globalisation, the position of the US is very different now. The war on terror and its subsequent wars have caused a fault line as the US has been busy consumed with two wars which lasted longer than WW1 and WW2 combined. Its treatment of the Muslims through Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and its extraordinary rendition, torture and anti-terror legislation has shown the world that it is has no right to speak of human rights, democracy and has nothing to offer the world in terms of values. Economically, it has led the world to a global recession. The US indebted to the tune of just under $40 trillion – nearly 75% of what the world produces. In a Harvard report it was calculated that 10% of the US population owned 71% of the nation's wealth, whilst the top 1% controlled 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth, this has created 37 million Americans who live below the poverty line and huge economic disparity. This shows that America's reign of supremacy is no longer tenable.
America's precarious exceptionalism was summed up by a US writer:
"The United States is at the end of the period of global leadership and domination that we've enjoyed for the last 50 years or so. The country is bankrupt economically. We've lost our edge in terms of politics, economics, socially. We no longer compare well with other countries around the world, and we're not admired as we once were by countries around the world. And we're not viewed as a model for economic and political development, as we once were. So this really marks a global shift in world history, both for the United States and the rest of the world. It is a gloomy picture, and this wasn't an easy book to write for that reason. But I think the facts speak for themselves. If you look at the United States, both in terms of comparing us to 20 years ago or in comparing us to other developed countries in the world, the United States doesn't come out on top on almost any measure anymore. And this has long-term implications that are going to affect the way we live and the role we play in the world. So it is a gloomy picture, although I think there are ways in which the United States can eventually emerge from this in a solid position." David S Mason, 'The End of the American Century'.
8. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic State
Hosting the yearly Hajj pilgrimage Saudi Arabia often receives compliments for the organisation of one of the pillars of Islam. Many of the older generation hold sympathetic views towards Saudi Arabia since the land is inherently connected with Islam. We see aspects of the Shari'ah implemented and moreover, it is a country where many Muslims go today for studying the deen and no doubt we see millions of books published from Saudi Arabia. These factors have led many to think that Saudi Arabia hold the greatest resemblance to Islam today and is the closest to an Islamic State.
However besides being a monarchical political structure, Saudi Arabia violates the criteria for being Dar al-Islam in many ways. Being part of the United Nations alone is enough for it not to be considered an Islamic State, since the sovereignty of the Islamic State belongs to Allah سبحانه وتعالى alone, not any other institution . Whilst Saudi may have partial rules of Islam pertaining to some areas of the state, it is not permissible for the Shari'ah to co-exist with rules from another ideology. Moreover in an Islamic State the allegiance of the state is to the interests of the Muslims alone, in Saudi it is no secret that Saudi's allegiance is exemplified in the form of a bilateral relationship with the U.S. A Wikileak Memo revealed that the Saudi and U.S are ready to publicly defend their relationship . We have also seen that besides utilising its vast economic wealth on a pulverised Ummah it will goes to the extent of military force to protect its interests even if against the Muslims as we saw in 2011 when the Sheikhdom sent their troops to Bahrain not to help the Muslims but to surpress the uprisings
Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,
وَأَنِ احْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنُوكَ عَنْ بَعْضِ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ
"So rule between them by that which Allah has revealed, and follow not their desires, but beware of them in case they seduce you from just some part of that which Allah has revealed to you"
(Al-Maaida, 5:49)
9. The Islamic system is outdated and not fit for the 21st Century
The concept of Shari'ah and the Islamic legal System, is ferociously attacked. The media portrayal of life under Shari'ah where beating of women, beheadings and lashings everyday occurrences, are now all too familiar images. Since the demise of Islam at a state level, the Shari'ah has ceased to be the basis of legislation in the Muslim world. What remains of the Shari'ah in the Muslim world is only a few scattered laws that are applied haphazardly. This has erroneously given the impression of the unsuitability of Shar'iah in the 21st century to deal with new issues and to solve modern, day-to-day problems.
Islam views the human being as composed of instincts and needs continually facing problems in how to satisfy them. The Islamic texts came to address men and women as human beings, not just as individuals living in the seventh century Arabian Desert. Humans today are the same humans who lived 1400 years ago and will continue to be the same human in another 1400 years' time. There is no doubt that the world is radically different, in the past people would live in huts and today we have skyscrapers, but we still need roofs over our heads. In the past our Prophet PBUH sent messengers to other rules on horseback whereas today a message can be sent via email or SMS. Islam is a timeless ideology that is applicable for all centuries and has the capacity to deal with all new realities whether these are scientific such as Cloning and Space Travel or to do with new warfare such as Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.
10. The only way to create any change is by mimicking the Western world.
From economics to politics, education to innovation the Muslim Ummah holds a deeply engrained thinking that the only way to pull itself out of the current situation is to mimic the actions of the Western states. This belief is not built on an intellectual conviction in Western ideals such as democracy and Capitalism but rather a superficial logical assumption that by adopting Western thinking the Muslim world can too become economically wealthy and politically independent as the Western states.
In a world of global values it is difficult to escape the constant push for the adoption and implementation of democratic parliamentary systems and free market policies. There seems for some no other way. This mirage of power and success the Western "developed" states project to the world is possibly their greatest power.
It is this basic mindset that leads to many of the myths that have been discussed earlier. To completely rid itself of this constrained thinking, Muslims must adopt a completely new mind-set based on the Islamic sources.
The western world is just a mirage of success which hides its societal failings such as greedy bankers, social break down and political distrust. It is not a coincidence that ordinary Western non-Muslims are demanding a change to the way Western governments are run.
Kasim Javed

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