Blushes of a Virgin
It was right at the start of the affair that the Ummah split into two major divisions: those to whom religion came first and those to whom it came next (not last but only next). The split split the leadership also into two kinds: religious and political, as well as split the realm into two kinds: material and spiritual. A struggle for supremacy ensued, and after a brief fight, the religious class was defeated – `Umar b. `Abdul `Aziz combined the two for the last time among the Salaf. Noorudding Zenki, Salahuddin al-Ayyubi, Aurangzeb, one or two from among the Chechens, and a few here and there succeeded partly or wholly in combining the two, for a short or long while. They were bright spots on a black cloth, at odd places, following no design.
The religious leadership retreated into mosques and madrasas. They held their position by virtue of personal piety, knowledge and conviction. There was unity of ranks in this class because of unity of intent and purposes. Unity of action was never an issue because unity of intent and purposes helped efforts converge to common objectives: establishment of faith in the hearts, and creation of a quality people, meaning, people endowed with faith, trust, honesty, sincerity, etc., and free of all base qualities. While the political leadership aimed at material empires, the religious leadership aimed at intellectual, moral and spiritual empire. The division and the functions have remained all over the globe, to this day.
By its very nature, political leadership was self-divisionary. Some sacrificed their morals for the empire, others their souls, yet others sold their lands, or resources to anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, friend or enemy of Islam .. just anyone who would help them hold on to their political and material power. Just how much they would sell off, depended on how strong the religious class was. They were the restraining factor. They prevented an all out sell-out both of the soul as well as the land and resources. As the religious class became smaller and hence weaker, the political class grew larger and hence stronger. Today, this class reigns supreme. In some Muslim countries they have sold out mosques: preventing their expansion, or demolishing them outright, at the command of the enemies of Islam. In most countries, mosques are more or less lost to the political class who have planted their own leadership to effectively prevent spread of faith and virtue from there. madrasas are the next target. The religion too, as religion, is being sold out. In many Muslim countries, zakah is virtually banned. In a few countries, the political leadership is planning prevention of entry of the devotees into mosques: the attendees are being registered and monitored. The common Muslims now live in a vast prison. As for non-Muslim countries, it is not tolerance, but the political system that allows for Islamic manifestation. The intellectual and political leadership there is implementing policies which will allow it stay true to its political system but curb Islamic influence. Whatever else it was, Sept 11 was also an orchestration to curb an unrestrained freedom which allowed room for Islam. If the growth of Islam continues, another major event could be expected. You can bet it is on the drawing boards.
Thus there are two realities: (i) Muslim political power, and (2) Islamic spiritual power. The former is inept and characterless. Nothing good can be expected of this leadership. Islamic religious leadership on the other hand is severely injured by the attacks from the enemy from within (quite frequently acting on the orders from without). Over the centuries it has been losing ground, and has been shrinking within itself. Its field of action and realm of influence is severely narrowed. It is dazed, disillusioned and paralyzed. It is fast losing power in madrasas and mosques where the enemy is planting its own operators. With the massive changes at the economic, social and cultural levels, it is now losing its influence over its own offspring.
Nonetheless, Islam continues gaining new grounds in other, newer areas. It moves by its own strength. The cultures of the rest of the world, and specially the spearhead Western culture is bankrupt. Its leadership has no more tricks to offer to its masses. Their previous handouts: junk food, wine, gambling, dance, music, free sex and freedom to do any obscene thing in private lives, have lost their charm, although not the customers. At the societal level they face issues that will need a complete transformation of their entire life and culture for redress. At the international level, promoters of human rights, democracy, freedom of the press, respect for law and order, have turned into oil thieves. With hands dripping with blood, they sign memorandums of co-operation and co-ordination, and deliver admonitions to those they starve to death. (They openly say in private that the children so dying are future terrorists – and everybody laughs, louder than the devil).
In this scenario, those who manage to hold on to the human within them, although few they are, discover, if exposed to Islam, that it answers to the spiritual needs and holds the promise to solve some problems, at some levels, to some degree (because human problems have now become truly unmanageable).
Let not the youth be disheartened by the visible hard facts. There are invisible forces working around. He should synchronize himself with this invisible force. Ramadan is the time for him when the spiritual world should be re-awaken within and without him, and when he should join forces with the Power of God. Each fasting Muslim sends out the message to the masses around him: here is the answer to stridency through humbleness, to greedy consumption through constraint, to obscenity through piety, to indiscipline through self-restraint, to self-indulgence through charity, to poverty through generosity, to health through hunger, and to spiritual blankness through devotional acts. He need not speak about it. It is visible on his face. The fasting man’s glow on the face is as visible as blushes of a virgin.
By `Eid the results will be out. The believers will rejoice, because they would have given the message of Islam to a humanity which was never in greater confusion as it is now. Let the people look at you and say to themselves within themselves, “The peace I am looking for, is in the face of this man. Wonder where he got it from?”