“Our Lord! Make us not a (test and) trial for the Unbelievers, but forgive us, Our Lord; for Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise. There was indeed In them an excellent example for you to follow,- for those whose hope is In Allah and In the Last Day. But if any turn away, truly Allah is free of all wants, worthy of all praise.”[al-Mumtahnah: 5-6]
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers till the end of time.
Last week I promised to shade some lights on the baffling questions I stated as follows: why and how did the Muslims slump so low despite the warning given to them by Allah since 1500 years?! What are the ways out of these muddles? Can the Muslims lead this world again?
In Allah I put all my trusts to guide me from the influence of sentiment and the wickedness of ignorance in both analyzing and answering these questions. As a Muslim cleric with moderation and temperance in world affairs, I think I have some experiences as to why the Muslims have gradually become dispossessed (or was it cast-off) of their glories and brilliances.
The Muslims that were once the sole bearers of honour, self-worth, authority and prominence according to the historical revelations, are presently sunk in misery and disgrace, and without real strength or power, brotherhood or mutual love. They do not reflect any merits or decent character worth their name; Muslim. One cannot find any significant signs in their deeds or utterances signifying the nobleness of their religion, which used to be the features of each and every Muslim. Similarly, Muslims have sunk into the lowest ebb ever as a result of their soilure and maculation in vices and sins. They have strolled away from the pathway of virtuousness, which at one time used to be their symbol.
The present Muslim youths, feigned and moulded by the Western way of life, giggle and titter at the ideals of Islam and openly disparage the sacred Shari’ah as not being superannuated, but also unworkable. One will certainly wonders at the sudden change of conduct of a people who once were the source of strength, contentment, righteousness and peace to the humanity regardless of race and creed as a result of their belief system that id based on equity and fairness, have now become completely dejected, weak, fluffy and abhorred. Why are those who had once brought peace, harmony, justice and development, as well as taught the world the golden lessons of etiquettes and principles are today found wanting in these very enviable attributes!
In fact, from the abovementioned appalling conditions of the Muslims today, only a gawk or loutish person would claim ignorance as to why Muslims are backward in the international ratings on all good aspects of human endeauvours! Indeed the correct answers are not far fetched or difficult to arrive at.
Today many Muslims are not conversant with the message of Islam or the mission of a Muslim on this transitory earth. Many, including some apologetic scholars and public commentators are swift to defining Islam as mere ‘peace’, and Muslim as ‘peace loving one’! If one asks further, what is peace? Whose peace, with whom and for what purpose? The answers that will come cannot serve any meaning due to the ignorance of both the interrogator and the asked; no satisfactory explanations.
The Qur’an narrates in detail the major cause of the destruction of the tribe of Ad (an ancient Arab tribe and a district in South Arabia that was led by ‘Ad ibn Kin’ad.), so that we will not fall into their sin. Allah says:
“And remember How He made you inheritors after the ‘Ad people and gave you habitations In the land: ye build for yourselves palaces and castles In (open) plains, and care out homes In the mountains; so bring to remembrance the benefits (ye have received) from Allah, and refrain from evil and mischief on the earth.”[al-A’araf: 74]
Thus, widespread corruption destroys any nation regardless of its size or level of development. The moment people accept corruption as normal way of life, their extinction begins. Allah warns:
“Those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: these cause loss (only) to themselves.’[al-Baqarah: 27]
In another Surah, He says:
“But those who break the Covenant of Allah, after having plighted their word thereto, and cut asunder those things which Allah has commanded to be joined, and work mischief In the land: on them is the curse; for them is the terrible home!”[ar-Ra’ad: 25]
The situation of the Muslims is fast declining and the future looks murkier still. Procrastination on the part of political leadership and the Ulama’ in these circumstances will be an unforgivable sin and crime. Allah (SWT) has concluded as to the first step to take towards regaining the lost glory. He says:
“Because Allah will never change the Grace which He hath bestowed on a people until They change what is In their (own) souls: and Verily Allah is He who heareth and knoweth (All things).”[al-Anfal: 53]
“…Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until They change it themselves (with their own souls). but when (once) Allah willeth a people’s punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will They find, besides him, any to protect.”[ar-Ra’ad: 11]
Ibn Kathir in his book on commentary of the Holy Qur’an on this verse,
“Our Lord! Make us not a (test and) trial for the Unbelievers, but forgive us, Our Lord; for Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” he wrote:
Mujahid said, “It means, `Do not punish us by their hands, nor with a punishment from You.’ Or they will say, `Had these people been following the truth, the torment would not have struck them’.” Ad-Dahhak said something similar. Qatadah said, “Do not give the disbelievers victory over us, thus subjecting us to trials by their hands. Surely, if You do so, they would then think that they were given victory over us because they are on the truth.” This is the meaning that Ibn Jarir preferred. ‘Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn ‘Abbas: “Do not give them dominance over us, lest we suffer trials by their hands.”
He also mentioned two possible meanings, thus:
1. O Allah! Do not give the disbelievers victory over us so that our condition becomes a test and a temptation for them to think that they are doing the right.
2. O Allah! Do not make our hatred for their disbelief push us into treating them unjustly so that they are tempted to think that Islam is not the right religion.
Muslims must always remember that they represent Islam in their dealings with non-Muslims. If they kept silent and become stooges in the name of peace, the gesture could be misleading them as to think that Islam assents what they are doing. Then again, if they are not polite and diplomatic they could also turn them away from Islam.“
The famous Abul Ala-al-Maududi commented on the same verse, thus:
“There are several ways in which the believers can become a cause of trial for the disbelievers, for which every believer should seek Allah’s refuge. For example:
a. The disbelievers may gain upper hand over them and consider it a proof of their being in the right and the believers being in the wrong.
b. The persecution of the believers by the disbelievers may become unbearable with the result that they may yield to them and abandon their faith and moral values. This would subject the believers to public ridicule and would provide the disbelievers with an opportunity to humiliate and debase them and their religion.
c. In spite of being the standard-bearers of the true faith the believers may lose their moral superiority that should accrue to them as believers. And the people may see the same defects and deficiencies in their character as are commonly found in an un-Islamic community. This would give the disbelievers an opportunity to say that the faith of the believers was in no way superior to their disbelief.
Thus, unless and until the Muslims resolved to change their attitudes and orientations by doing away with all degenerative behaviours, and boldly march forward, the Muslims will continue to sinking deeper! They have to understand that any step lacking proper attention and accurate management would amount to making an irredeemable situation and further increase despondency and despair.
At the end of the matter all, since we accept that the Shari’ah is a complete divine set of rules, principles and laws that guarantee material and spiritual success in both worlds, we must therefore return to it in all our dealing within and without. This is it has laid down a complete way of life defining every possible measure for advancing and progressing on the path of true success and righteousness.
In fact, the Shari’ah is the only source of wisdom not only for the Muslims but for the whole of the mankind. Thus, the Muslims need to implement it in its purest state in order attain full recovery from the abyss of decomposition and extinction. Certainly, the wisdom and guidance from the Qur’an will never fail us especially at such our serious crisis and difficult times we are passing today. We have lost identity to an almost a point of no return!