When I look around the world I observe and examine the situation of the contemporary Muslims and a question stands out as to what is happening to us in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir and elsewhere.
In September 2002 I attended the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg and I interacted with diverse community active groups from around the world. I found progress and tolerance amongst the non-Muslim civil and social movements which was heartening.
Their commitment to the ecosystems of the world and their resistance against Multi Corporation and capitalism for the enhancement and development of sustainable development projects for humanity were visible and progressive. Organizations as the Green peace movement, the various health groups, the World Social Forum (WSF) etc. were very visible, active and comparatively the Muslim presence and strategy were incoherent, scattered and extremely weak.
Many of our sisters and brothers would like to hear simple answers to difficult question as to why Muslims are so demoralized; remain uninformed and unable to resolve problems facing them or to find solutions for the ills of humanity. My intention is to offer some ideas and answers and to hopefully begin a discussion to answer some of these questions.
We would like to make a positive impact in the world but refuse to holistically look at the Qur`anic Worldview for our critical guidance and change. We will not effectively study the Noble Qur`an to develop creative ideas to solve problems and issues which negatively effect mankind, e.g. to establish a Qur`anic cognitive educational system that does not only teach us how to think but how to implement our thinking in a self organizing system.
We need to learn how to organize our businesses to provide collective well-being for our success and also develop language and communication skills so as to spread our message and strategy for the worship of Allah. Whenever we study the Glorious Qur`an it should show us new vistas and varied dimension of ideas so that we can solve our problems and keep our covenant with Allah.
If the Prophet (S) was in our midst, how would we behave? Would we remain mundane, superficial and continue to respond to each other negatively? This would be a challenge calling on us to tap into our lateral thinking and develop a beautiful and majestic behaviour.
If education is the key then what kind of education is relevant? Is it the time to read and study? Is it the time for studying or to have radical conversation and brainstorming? Do we protest and march in the streets, against our enemies? Do we make a living for our families? Which is our priority?
The Prophet of Islam progressed all things simultaneously, which were relevant to establishing a healthy environment for the individual and the community for the worship of Allah. He developed leadership that was under his personal tutelage and care and who took responsibility to help humanity whenever they needed it. The knowledge that is relevant for the benefit of mankind within the parameters of the Shari'ah is what is relevant.
Today Muslims are better structured, organized and have access to welfare groups, advocacy groups, political affiliations, the media through the radio, newspapers and TV, Muslim schools and many beautiful Masajids which all act as the Hardware for developing infrastructures and communities.
What we have not perfected is the software that can effectively utilize the hardware for the worship of Allah. This refers to the quality leadership and individuals, who collectively work, sleep, eat, pray together and clearly understand the Arabic word ‘Ihsan’ (excellence, beauty) for the worship of Allah. We have hardware but our software is in need of nourishment and re-education because our worship, behaviour and cohesions are incorrect.
I refer again to the WSSD Summit and in particular the humanity of non-Muslim activists. Everyone took each other at face value and in most cases these people seem to be 50 years ahead of Muslim ideas. They were helping humanity unconditionally while Muslims are helping Muslims conditionally.
The great challenge for Muslims in the 21st century will be to change the value system currently driven by global economic imperatives to one compatible with the demand of human dignity, ecological sustainability to ensure the survival of humanity itself. Individual initiative for change must be combined with social cohesion for survival and progressing mankind’s dignity.
I believe the Muslim caravan has been jolted to move and the dogs will bark. The demise of the Muslim central leadership, the Caliphate in 1924, the occupation of Palestine in 1948, September 11, 2001, the attacks and occupation of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) have begun a process which is waking up a sleeping giant who can stop the slide of the degeneration of humanity provided the prescription is correct.
We must understand what we want to achieve and systematically develop our strategy. We use the relevant methodology for change, I cannot say seek knowledge and one does not know where to begin. Therefore we assess our present condition in History and make the relevant decisions to reorganize and renew ourselves for the benefit of humanity.
My comparison of the present era is similar to the time of the arrival of the Prophet Islam (S) in the 7th century C.E. Ignorance, unbelief was manifest and people were lewd, immoral and worshipped idols. When I consider and study early Muslim history I realize that we are in post everything and close to the 2nd or 3rd year of the Meccan period of the Prophets mission. We are in a post Mazhab, post Sufism and post whatever, accept the Shahada.
Surely, it was the pristine principles of The Shahada that brought about the ideological Unity of the Meccan community. We must transform ourselves within the original ideals and prioritize the Qur`anic worldview and the Prophetic Model in the present era. To re-interpret the meaning and understanding of Islam, the Shahada, Ashaab (Companionship), Tarbiyah (upbringing and training), Ta’dib (learning and the educational process) and Tazkiyyah (self–purification) in ways that will reorganize our socio-political ways for a new way of thinking.
This means we will have to overthrow the old socio-political conservative and liberal ways and in preparation for this we have to overthrow the ego for transformation, perfection and a healing. Overthrow our mean behaviour and heedlessness, which impedes us from worshipping our Creator, retards our educational process and assistance of mankind. Allah’s Mercy is manifest for all mankind. Those that are obedient and submit to the will of Allah can pick this mercy as picking apples. When we tap into the Unseen for assistance then the seemingly impossible happens.
Allah's plan is in place and will always be in place, it is we that have to flow with this harmony and not allow pessimism, gloom, despair and disunity to envelop us. Allah has placed the full potential within us to solve problems. A micro cosmology exists within us waiting to be tapped in all the fields of excellence.
Let us offload our historical baggage and begin a new beginning. We love Allah and love our beloved Rasul (S). Remember that our Rasul (S) established Islam within a period of 23 years, thus it is not a perpetual wait but realizable and within our lifetime, Insha-Allah. It is our choice and we must make this choice that pleases Allah and that we are pleased with Him in excellence.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA.