The Plight of the Muslim Nation Today

Jamaal al-Deen Zarabozo

The reason for the ideological, intellectual and theological crisis that mankind is going through today is the fact that the Muslims are not leading mankind nor showing mankind the way to God's guidance as found in the Qur'aan. The Muslim nation today can be described as an ill nation. However, its cure can be found in the Qur'aan. The late al-Shanqeeti noted that part of the fact that the Qur'aan leads to the way that is most upright and best is that it also leads to the solutions of this world in the best way possible. He notes that nowadays there are three essential problems facing the world, in particular the Muslim nation, and the Qur'aan has presented the solution for all of them. The first major problem is the weakness of the Muslim Nation with respect to standing up to the disbelievers, even though Muslims supposedly number one billion in today's world. This reality is witnessed day in and day out by, for example, the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo (and now Chechnya and Indonesia- Ed) while the most of the Muslim world sits apparently unable to help. The Qur'aan clearly and unequivocally shows the solution to this problem. The problem itself actually lies in the hearts and souls of the Muslims. The solution therefore lies in their turning sincerely to Allah, strengthening their faith and putting their trust in Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Powerful, the one with control over all things. The one who truly belongs to Allah's party can never be overcome by any of the disbelievers, no matter how strong they seem to be. [ 1 Cf, Al-Shanqeeti, vol. 3, pp. 452-457.]

For the Battle of the Trench, the disbelievers mustered together a great force to come and attack Islam in its home in Madinah. Indeed, all of the "powers that be" gathered together to bring an end to Islam. Allah described their forces in the following verse in Soorah al-Ahzaab,

"Behold! They came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and you imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah! In that situation were the Believers tried: they were shaken as by a tremendous shaking" (al-Ahzaab 10-11).

Such was the enormity of the attack the early Muslims were facing. How was it that they had the courage to face such an attack and stand up to this great army? How can they make a stand today under similar circumstances? The answer to that question is found in Allah's description of the true believers, unlike those who claim to have faith but who do not have faith in the Qur'aan in their hearts.

When the believers saw the Confederate forces they said: 'This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.' And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience" (al-Ahzaab 22).

It is the complete and true faith, which is accompanied by a true submission to the laws and patterns of Allah with respect to the interactions of this world, that leads the Muslims to be able to stand up to the disbelievers no matter how strong they seem to be on a superficial level. It is not surprising that without this faith, which in itself is enhanced and strengthened by reading and studying the Qur'aan, the Muslims are weak and unable or unwilling to stand up to and defend themselves from the onslaught of atheism and disbelief that is spreading throughout the world today.

Allah then states the result of that true belief in the face of that strong enemy a result which comes when the believer truly believes in what Allah has promised and stated in the Qur'aan, as described earlier:

And Allah turned back the unbelievers for (all) their fury. No advantage did they gain. Sufficient is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of Strength, Able to enforce His Will. And those of the people of the Book who aided them, Allah did take them down from their and cast terror into their hearts, (so that) some you killed, and some you made prisoners. And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which you had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things" (al-Ahzaab 25-27)

Muslims must think about this lesson. They must realize that what Allah says in the Qur'aan is true and that His promise is ever true. When they take this lesson and truth from the Qur'aan, this problem and weakness of the Muslims to stand up to the forces of disbelief will be removed, Allah willing. The second problem al-Shanqeeti discusses is the fact that not only are the Muslims not able to stand up for themselves and Islam but, in addition, the unbelievers are overpowering the Muslims and inflicting them with killings, injuries and punishment although the Muslims possess the truth and the unbelievers have nothing but falsehood. Allah directly addressed this issue and gave a ruling for it that will be read until the Day of Judgment. During the Battle of Uhud, the unbelievers were able to inflict great harm upon the believers. Indeed, the uncle and cousin of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) were killed. In fact, many were killed and even mutilated. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) himself did not escape injury in that battle. At that time, some of the Muslims themselves asked how could that occur while they were following the truth and the unbelievers were following falsehood. It was in response to that situation that Allah revealed the verse,

"What! When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, do you say, 'From where is this?' Say [O Muhammad, to them], 'It is from yourselves: for Allah has power over all things' (Ali-Imraan 165).

In this verse, Allah did not explain exactly what was from their own doing. However, another verse in the same soorah makes the complete picture clear:

"Allah did indeed fulfill His promise to you when you, by His permission, were about to annihilate your enemy, until you flinched and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed it after He brought you in sight (of the Booty) which you covet. Among you are some that hanker after this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then did He divert you from your foes in order to test you" (Ali-Imraan 152).

This shows that the reason the unbelievers were able to get the upper hand over the believers was because the believers themselves disputed and disobeyed the command from the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) as some of them were tempted by the things of this world. They sought the goods of this world and they gave that preference to obeying Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and that is why Allah allowed the unbelievers to afflict harm to them. This is the root of the disease and the cure is obvious.

Muslims must look at themselves even before they start blaming the unbelievers for what is happening to the Muslim nation, as the unbelievers (Some speakers seem to blame all of the problems the Muslims are facing on the disbelievers without ever referring to what the Muslims themselves are doing as a possible cause. The danger of this approach is that it leaves the Muslims feeling content with their Islam and never opens their eyes to the realization that what is occurring is the result of what their own hands have earned) will always try to fight Islam,applying the Qur'aan in their li that is a given, but the results of that struggle are actually determined by the Muslims and their relationship with Allah. Muslims must study their relationship to Allah and His words in the Qur'aan. They must ask themselves whether they areves or are they ignoring the teachings of the Qur'aan in order to gain some paltry benefits in this world. If they are ignoring the Qur'aan for the sake of this world, then they have no reason to be surprised that Allah has allowed them to be humiliated at the hands of the unbelievers.

The third problem that al-Shanqeeti discusses is the disunity of the Muslims today. He says that this is one of the greatest reasons why the Muslim nation is in a state of defeat and weakness. Disunity leads to weakness and loss of strength, as Allah says,

"Fall not into disputes, lest you lose heart and your strength departs" (al-Anfaal 46).

Al-Shanqeeti says that one can find hatred and enmity among Muslims throughout the world today. There is no true love between them. Their hearts are truly divided. In soorah al-Hashr Allah describes a people whose hearts are divided in a similar fashion. Allah says,

"You would think them united but their hearts are divided" (al-Hashr 14).

Then Allah immediately explains why their hearts are in that state:

"That is because they are a people devoid of reasoning" (al-Hashr 14).

The disease of weak reasoning is what makes them unable to recognize the reality of things. They are not able to distinguish between truth and falsehood. They are not able to distinguish what is truly beneficial from what is actually harmful. This disease which Muslims themselves are suffering from today can only be removed by the light of revelation. It can only be removed by a complete and sincere return to the Qur'aan. It is the revelation that gives life to the dead and makes the path clear and bright such that the person can distinguish truth from falsehood, goodness from evil,benefit from harm. The person can then follow the straight path rather than the many erroneous paths that mankind chooses to follow. Allah has described this truth in many places in the Qur'aan, such as:

"Can he who was dead, to whom We gave life, and a Light whereby he can walk among men, be like him who is in the depths of darkness, from which he can never come out? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing" (Al-An'aam 122)

"Is then one who walks headlong, with his face groveling, better guided, or one who walks evenly on a Straight Way?" (Al-Mulk 22)

Finally, Allah says,

"Allah is the patron and supporter of those who believe. He brings them out from the darknesses into the light" (Al- Baqarah 257).

On this last point concerning disunity among Muslims, Abd Rabbihi makes an important point. He states that if there were a strong bond between the Muslims and the Qur'aan, such that they recite and study and take it as their source of law and guidance, their beliefs thoughts and concepts would be guided by their belief in tawheed. This would immediately lead to their hearts, ranks goals and energies being united in the shade of the Qur'aan. Indeed, to support Abd Rabbihi's claim, one need only look at the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and the effect that this Qur'aan and belief had upon them, as Allah Himself describes it in the Qur'aan,

"And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah, and be not divided among yourselves. And remember [with gratitude] Allah's favor on you, for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by his grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make His Sighs clear to you: that you may be guided" (Aali-'Imran 103)

The Muslims today can be taken from their plight of darkness into light if they return to the Qur'aan in the proper manner. However, as Al-Hakami pointed out, they must first sincerely turn to Allah and be willing and ready to repent for their sins and shortcomings. In particular, they must repent from the diseases in their hearts that have made their hearts rusty or dead. In this way, the heart will be ready to accept the guidance of the Qur'aan.

In addition, they must repent from the manner in which they have treated the Qur'aan. They must break down all of the barriers between themselves and the Qur'aan. They must turn to it sincerely seeking its guidance and willingly apply it completely in their lives. This has been their greatest shortcoming. This they have to realize. After they realize it, they can start on the road to correcting it by reading, learning, studying and applying the Qur'aan in the proper manner.

From: "How to Approach and Understand the Qur'an"

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