Who is not on Trial?
Events of our contemporary world disturb a lot of minds, old and young. They cannot sort out the events and find difficulty inter-relating them. What is happening and why? Take Palestine, Afghanistan, Chechnya or Kashmir. Everywhere it is Muslims who suffer. In contrast, the non-Muslim world is thriving in every respect. Why is this so? Are the Muslims at fault and being punished? If so, how should they correct themselves? Or, are they being tried? If so, when will the trial end? Or will it be like this forever?
Before any answer, it might be pointed out that ours is a vast world. And it is a complex one. There are many factors at work: religious, ideological, political, economic, social, and others. In addition, there are many actors blindly playing their roles. Finally, to make it more confusing, what’s happening is one thing, and what is reported is another.
In view of the above, it should be obvious that there can be no simple answers to the questions that are asked. Indeed, at any time, one has to have a high degree of knowledge and understanding to sort out the various and varying issues and situations and arrive at meaningful conclusions. We do not of course pretend to be qualified. Hardly ever anybody can. The world and its events are too complicated for that. Most of what appears, in national and international media, the so-called brilliant analysis, are meant for the day, or the week. You empty the trashcan of your brain every week to get rid of that worthless stuff.
Nevertheless, and our own deficiency conceded, it should not prevent us from attempting to highlight a few points, if not for anything, then at least to clear up the fog a little. We have preceded the caution so that ours should not be treated as the final, or the whole answer. The attempt only opens up the topics and provides the basis for further thought.
Consider the factors:
The first is the growth and spread of Islam. This factor tops the unwritten list that is before the actors and role-players of every sort: whether in India or the West. (In the South American countries and Africa, the threat of Islam is not so acutely felt). But in other places, the sixth sense of the leaders tells them that this, if unchecked, will prove to be the most far-reaching determinant of completely unpredictable consequences. It throws the old hats into jitters to think that they are heading into a foggy, uncontrollable world. In addition, they fear the battlefronts might be within their own borders. Despite the media’s and the leaders’ super-Herculian, relentless efforts to portray Islam as the religion of the terrorists and the Muslims a diabolic people, growth of Islam remains unchecked. The more the adversaries juggle their jaws against Islam, the more they seem to stab in their own wounds. This is a truly, worrisome factor for many.
Fast depletion of the earth resources is another factor. Will the technological edge be lost? Indeed, will the technology be lost? Are we inexorably heading into what the author of “Next Millennium” had predicted almost a century ago? When will it be the prime time to attack and grab the remaining resources?
Rise of the East as an economic giant is another worry. Will the top positions be contended? Should we (the Westerners) – at last – begin to co-operate with the East, or, instead, fortify the Western Wall, built during the last century? General helplessness in the face of this new reality increases the importance of a few others.
The emergence of America as the sole super-power, but more as a rogue state, in possession of very destructive arms, ever willing – in complete cowardice – to use them on hapless peoples, (for destruction and tests), is another cause of worry. Like in Hitler’s Germany, there is no let up in arms manufacture. America has to find targets to try them, test them, improve them and find space for new developed ones.
Then there are the Jews, as fanatic as they ever were during their past national history, now wanting to establish an empire for the Jewish tribe in the heart of the Middle-east. Fanatics as they are, they are preparing the area for the promised Armageddon. They hope it will finally and totally destroy all non-Jews or annihilate them to slavery thereafter. Such is the Holy covenant between the Jews and the God of Israel, sung in every Synagogue every Saturday, whispered into every child’s ear every night, and believed as “true to happen” by the 30 million strong, and influential Christian Far-rightist Americans.
Another factor is the media: its power, its deceitful reporting, its effectiveness, people’s increasing distrust of it, but their helplessness before the monster. Its success, e.g., in portraying the West as a super-model for the rest of the world, despite West’s complete failure in every field save science and technology, is an amazing but disturbing phenomenon.
General disappointment with the modern social, economic and political systems, and a breakdown of the moral value-system is yet another factor. The increasing proof of the hollowness of material civilization goes with it. That leads to questioning the thinkers, ideologists, philosophers and even scientists. Is not this world their creation? Where have they brought us, and where will they take us next?
The fall of leadership into the hands of sub-standard men in all walks of life – especially in the political arenas is a factor of quite some importance. We are faced up with men who are completely unequal to the challenges of the modern world, and far too pervert, or arrogant, or fanatic, or fascists (or all at a time) to be able to comprehend what’s going on around them. They have a single point agenda, mostly very narrow, and fantastic, that they follow. All else is secondary to them. This is another important factor. The influence of “The Clash of Civilization” can be cited as a good example of sub-standard thinking and sub-standard following. A beelzebub idea, originally designed to evoke hatred, seized the imagination of many political minds and has seriously influenced several foreign policies. Although a cheap shot, it has relegated the real issues of the world into background and has sent the military generals planning out a final war against an imaginary enemy.
Then there are the ecological disturbances: melting of snow at the poles and the mountains, increase in earth temperature, high pollution levels, disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species, unpredictable weather conditions, etc. But what’s to be done to save the earth from ecological disasters? All solutions clash with the central article of faith of modern man’s religion: greed. Nothing ever seems to be possible to do anything about it save for making a lot of noise.
Finally, and most importantly – although surprising to many – there is the Divine factor. Men tend to think that they are masters of this world. They will shape it as they will and determine its destiny. If there is a God, He will handle the situation after they have achieved their objectives. So they work blindly and worsen things preparing the earth for an irreparable situation. Hence, every major action creates a completely new situation without anyone ever coming within the reach of a remedy.
Thus, factors are many. And we on our part cannot discuss them all in a thorough fashion. The subject is too large for a casual attempt. Further, we are concerned primarily with Muslims: their role, their duty, and the consequences of their choices. So, we shall contend ourselves with merely touching upon one or two issues of Muslim involvement.
Before anything else, we might point out that of the things happening around us, it is Muslim news that is given the trumpet treatment. Let us say an American boy kills his colleague. It is hardly noticed. Let us say every second day that happens – and it actually happens. It is hardly reported. Let us say few hundred women are burnt to death in Delhi every year for having not brought enough dowry. It is no big news. But let us say there is an assault by a Muslim on a non-Muslim, for any reason. The news is immediately on every channel, and repeated over every half an hour. This is to evoke hatred against Muslims, and keep them constantly under psychological pressure; in order that they might always be reacting, and never able to make a constructive contribution. It is also meant for the Muslim ruling classes – especially in the Middle-east. The message is: “Tighten up. Lock up every bearded man.” The strategy works.
The Muslim masses think that all that is happening in the world is around them. It is only they who are having problems and either killing or getting killed too often. Their ruling classes too pick up the message from their bosses in the West. So that, if a Muslim kills someone in a remote corner of the world, for whatever reason, Muslim rulers issue arrest warrants for 10 Muslims the same day, and close down bank accounts of ten charity organizations. They both: the masses and their oppressive rulers, don’t realize that the focus is on the Muslims for strategic reasons. They are not at all behind every smoking gun. For every act of violence committed by the Muslims, hundreds are taking place all over the world, right at the same time. But they are relegated to secondary importance.
A suggestion that is often made is that perhaps the Muslims are being tested. Of course Muslims are being tested. But so is everyone. Idol-worshippers are being tested whether they will listen to the voice of reason and good sense and return to the worship of one God – which they abandoned long time back – or will they refuse to do so. Christians are being tested whether they will desperately hold on to their belief in the sonship of Jesus Christ, or a thousand years since the printing press was made should lead them to abandon the idea. The Jews are being tested whether they will remain on their belief that God is a tribal deity, who holds the Jewish tribe the dearest, and whose only function is to put them back in Palestine. And so on. Every community is under test. Every individual is under test. They all have minds, and belief in one Universal God planted in their souls. And they all enjoy freedom of choice and action. They have their lifetime to make up their minds before they die and face up doom in the Hereafter. In the meanwhile, they commit acts under the influence of their wrong beliefs that have their repercussions: hence the violence in the world; hence the hatred between mankind; hence the unattended problems; hence the misery of modern man; et al. Thus, one and all, everyone is under test.
Yet another conclusion made is that the Muslims suffer and the non-Muslims are thriving in every sense. What can be more distant from the truth? (A recent survey shows that half of the Britons would like to quit Britain and go away elsewhere). The actual situation is so very different. It is Muslims indeed, all over the world, even in the ravines of Chechnya and the mountains of Afghanistan, who are happier than many others. Their adversaries are under greater – self-created – pressure than they. Their adversaries have rebelled against God and that gives them a sense of guilt apart from filling their hearts with apprehensions. They have rebelled against Nature, and think that it is an enemy that they must keep struggling against. That keeps them tense. They have rebelled against their own inner nature. They feel restless on that score. They refuse to accept the guidance from God. As a result they run into blind alleys and crash their heads against dark matters. They do not know how to conduct their lives. All you have to do to provoke one of them to fire salvos at you is to point out his error. He knows it and bursts out in anger: “OK man. If I am wrong, how about you? Isn’t your Scripture full of wrong instructions? Is not your life in a mess? Are you not the most troublesome people?” All that he throws at you is only true of him. Such is the condition of the individuals. Take their governments. The primary duty of their governments today is to fight out the imaginary enemy: Islam and Muslims. While Muslims sleep peacefully after a troublesome day, his adversaries face nightmares of armies of Jihadis descending upon them. Everywhere they are erecting barricades, installing electronic surveillance gadgets, smart cameras, checking e-mails, eves-dropping on private conversations, monitoring phone calls, finger printing and scanning everyone, looking for that imaginary enemy. Whoever thinks that the non-Muslims are thriving, has no heart to feel their apprehensions, their fear, and their frustration.
Yet, Muslims are no specialty. They belong to the family of Man, and must suffer the consequences of what the majority does. Although amused at the quixotic behavior of the governments world over, they too feel irritated and must share the frustrations. But they don’t suffer, have no nightmares, and are not extra-ordinarily worried over the issues that keep others awake all night. This is a major difference.
The above said, one might also point out that the Muslims are a special case with God. It is by virtue of the fact that they have received a message from on High. The fate of the rest of the world, as theirs own, hinges largely on how they treat the message. Allah will accomplish His Plan. It will be either through them, or without them. If they accept to play their key role, they will be the actors. If they refuse, they will be acted upon. There isn’t a third option. They cannot sit on the fence and watch the game. Because, in the sight of God, the struggle is not between humans. It is between Truth and falsehood. As bearers of Truth, the Muslims will have to come down the fence and take sides.
They might think they are, by virtue of birth, lucky to belong to a community, which is Monotheistic. And so, whatever happens here, on this earth, their troubles will be over once dead. But they are oblivious of certain realities. E.g., should others be punished because they took birth – without choice and intention – in a non-Muslim family? Should Muslims be ushered into Paradise because they took birth – without choice and intention – into a Muslim family? God is not unfair towards His creations. Prophet Muhammad has said, “There is none among you but he has two abodes (reserved for him): an abode in Paradise and an abode in the Fire. When he dies and enters the Fire, the inhabitants of Paradise take over his abode in Paradise.” So, a man may take birth in a Muslim family, but that does not guarantee his non-entry into Hellfire. He might, due to his false beliefs and evil deeds lose his abode in Paradise and, instead, end up in Hell.
So, Muslims need to do a little more than moaning at being the target of propaganda, hatred, and violence. That “little more” is Islam. They will have to treat it seriously. If they don’t, then, being born to Muslim parents might not do them much good. And, refusing to play their key role: as moral and spiritual leaders, they face the consequences of dismissal. They must realize that it is not for widening of roads, building tall structures, operating farms and industries, that they are here for. So long as Allah’s religion is not established on the earth, these functions remain secondary. They have a tryst with God. They must prove true to that tryst. Sayyid Qutb wrote:
“So long as this Ummah adhered to these principles (of Islam) and applied them to its life, it remained an example to the rest of the world. But when it deviated and rejected the principles, it lost the position of leadership. Allah pushed it back to become a tail-follower of the caravan of nations where it will remain until it returns to the role that Allah chose for it.”
If the Muslims refuse to heed, we don’t see how they can escape judgment before the Final Judgment.