The upheavals in Arab countries can be traced down to an unequal society. There are the rich, the poor, and nothing in between. It is a sad fact that this scenario plagues many Muslim nations. It might be the factor that none of the Muslim countries being classified as a developed nation. Not UAE with its architectural splendour, or even Turkey with its proud secularism. The scenario is made worse when the rich use their power to put favour on their side, manipulating the system, lobbying others and executing competitions. Speaking in particular of the Arab countries, those who call themselves ‘in power’ are in fact delusional. It is no secret that most of the Arab leaders are put in the throne by the help of Western countries, therefore forever being indebted. If they are in fact in power, why do they seek help and protection from the West? Isn’t that a sign of weakness?
How did we come to this? Why are we so weak both politically and economically? Is it because in Islam, success in this world is not worthy of pursuit compared to the success in the afterlife? Does Islam teach its followers to settle with weakness in this world, to live in poverty, to be oppressed, looked down upon, killed and slaughtered, because the world is just transitory? If so, if Islam teaches us to completely focus on the afterlife and ignore worldly matters, why would Salahudin Al Ayubi dedicate his whole lifetime to conquer Jerusalem? Why would Sultan Ahmad Al-Fatih risk his life to conquer Constantinople? Why would Taariq bin Ziyad take the hardships of bowing Andalucían kings to their knees? If worldly success is not that important, why wouldn’t they stay in the comfort of their homes, and spend their time doing usrahs, waiting for people to come and join in instead of them going out into the world to inspire people to embrace Islam?
The nations in power today are not afraid to oppress and discriminate against Muslims because they know that we are weak. They know that we are incapable of defending ourselves and will always depend on them for economic stability. Hence, they can do what they will. Every Muslim know that there will be a day where Islam will rise again, but how do we expect the forthcoming of that glorious age, when we let ourselves ignore success in this world and be content with weakness? Many believe that the rise of Islam in the future will be attributed by swords, shields and courage of steel. I beg to differ. I believe that the rise of Islam will not be through military might. In fact, it has never been. I won’t deny that Islam has great military strength throughout its glorious days, but it doesn’t mean that Islam won the world by the tip of the sword. In fact, the Quran states that it is forbidden to make others to embrace Islam by force. Islam was spread by the message of truth, peace and love. People in the past embraced Islam willingly because for the first time in their lives, they see justice and equal treatments towards all layers of society. Whether you are a slave or an aristocrat, you get the same protection, the same treatment and the same opportunity to achieve success. Our weakness today can easily be traced down to these rhetoric questions: where is the justice today? Where is the equal treatments to all layers of society?
It is surprising that when talking about the glorious days of Islam, many of us focus on military rather than economic domination. Military force could not last for centuries, but a sustained economy and stable society could. During the time of Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz, the economy was so stable that they achieved 0% poverty rate. The government at one time had no idea on whom to give zakat aid to. This impressive economy feat leads to a stable society, witnessed by decrease in crime rates, social ills and corruption to the level of non-existence. Logically, why would you rob or accept bribe from others when you truly have enough for yourself? Sadly, today many hold on stringently to the belief that money corrupts. They dismiss the fact that poverty corrupts society just as well. We resist the pursuit of financial wealth, believing that wealth corrupts moral and distracts us from religion. Humans have the gift to choose. With or without money, if a person chooses to corrupt himself, become corrupt he will. The thing is that with money, it gives you the opportunity to help the poor. Without money, it gives you the burden of helping yourself.
It is high time we restore the image of Islam. It is time to practice what we preach in sermons, usrahs and religious talks. Until when do we da’wah among ourselves in closed vicinities and expect the world outside to change? Many give talks about social ills ruining the Muslim society, but few ever went down the stage to tackle the root of the problem: poverty and socio-economic inequality. Not many are brave enough to pursue economic dominance, believing ‘duit tak bawak mati’ and just let fellow Muslims ‘mati’ by economic oppression. Many still choose courses on ‘Cara-cara bercinta menurut Islam’ and ‘Mendirikan mahligai rumah tangga’ over courses on international relations, socioeconomics and modern science that could truly advance the Muslim society. Many are inspired by the courage of Salahudin Al-Ayubi, but yet few are courageous enough just to stand up and speak. Many are furious when the non-Muslims label Islam as terrorists but few ever took the time to get involved with the public to show them what Islam is all about. Isn’t education by example the best way to inspire others to embrace Islam? Everything in life is about balance, Islam never separates between the world and afterlife success. It is time to compete and become winners in all aspect of the world. Let us get involved in international issue, acquire knowledge that could advance the Muslim society and pursue success. Isn't the azan we hear 5 times a day has the phrase 'Let us achieve success?'. Here’s hoping that our generation is the one that contributes to the beginning of the rise of Islam. InsyaAllah