Islam was, is, and will always be a great religion that is meant for all people on earth at all times. However, Muslims in the past and Muslims nowadays seem to be at opposite ends of the leading-being-lead spectrum. During Prophet Mohamed time, Islam was conquering the whole world quite fast. Muslims were leading. Nowadays, Muslims are being lead. They are worse than ever before. Anyone who is thinking and contemplating the situation of Muslims all over the world would be terribly sad and puzzled about what lead Muslims to be lagging behind and whether Muslims can rise again and if yes, when?!
In fact, our prophet Mohamed, Peace and Blessings be Upon Him, has well described the situation of Muslims in the hadith (Sunnan Abi Dawud 4297), Book 39, Hadith 7, when The prophet said: The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish. Someone asked: Will that be because of our small numbers at that time? He replied: No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent, and Allah will take fear of you from the breasts of your enemy and last enervation into your hearts. Someone asked: What is wahn (enervation). Messenger of Allah : He replied: Love of the world and dislike of death.
Another hadith that was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘People are like a hundred camels; you can hardly find one worth riding among them’. This shows that the situation of Muslims is terribly bad. These were the sayings of our prophet ; our prophet was revealed to him by Allah (SAW). However, as a Muslim I do wonder when we Muslims can rise again and lead the rest of the world. Below are few among many ways for us, Muslims, to rise again.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we put ‘reading’ the most important daily activity.
We, Muslims, could rise again when start contemplating and understanding the so many important lessons of wisdom in our great religion, Islam; those lessons can be learned in our holy book (Al Quran) and our Sunnah, the teachings of our great leader, Prophet Mohamed peace and blessings be upon him. In fact, Allah Taala urged us in different ayah in Al Quran to use our minds and to contemplate the universe so that we understand the creation of Allah. Contemplation and the importance of deep thoughts were expressed by different authors and writers as well. For instance, Stephen William Hawking(1942-2018), who was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, and director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge at the time of his death, encouraged people to look upwards not downwards and to try to understand what we see and contemplate and wonder why and how this huge universe has been creaed. Among his famous quotes is “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all”.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we understand and perceive what we read propoerly and do not misinterpret certain concepts such as ‘Jihad’ and consider, for instance, ‘killing innocent people’ as an act of ‘jihad’. In fact, one of Hawking (1942-2018) quotes “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge” is a quote that highlights the point I am trying to make. It is not the lack of understanding Islam that is a problem. It is rather the misunderstanding and mis-conceptualization of what is misunderstood and mis-conceptualized by many Muslim scholars.
In addition, the focus of those is rather on issues that are not to be of our focus as Muslims nowadays when we are under so many challenges. For example, how long the beard is should not be among the issues that we must waste too much of our time reading and arguing.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we focus the essence of things, not the surface, when we care about our honesty, sincerity, integrity, loyalty, more than issues like how long our “gallabīyah” should be.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we stop being double-sided (hypocrites) where we show something and hide the totally opposite thing; for example, you find an Imam, who is far away from guidance ‘hidayah’, who is urging people to be fair and just while he himself is being unfair to his own mother.
We, Muslims, could rise again when our students read in order to understand and gain knowledge, not in order to pass their final exams.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we understand well what we read and implement as well as practice what we understand and we, Muslims stop, keep saying we should be doing things, but rather start doing what we are supposed to be doing and practice what we are supposed to be practicing.
We, Muslims, could rise again When we stop focusing on diagnosing the problems and start treating them. Logically, we diagnose the problem/disease in order to treat it. In many Muslim countries, we find Muslim writers and journalists on TV channels diagnosing the problem, talking about the symptoms. I myself feel sad and wonder “So what next?”! Please present solutions to the problems and stop giving us with all the symptoms to the problems. This is my advice to them.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we stop masking; when we start speaking our minds, express what we have in hearts without having to mask and show others what we are really not. Masking is part and parcel of cheating and cheating in Islam is prohibited. We can see the norms of masking in everyday lives. When one speaks so politely to you to show you he/she is polite, but talks in a very rude manner to his/her own mother, that is one example of masking. When a lady covers her face with what I like to call a ‘heavy white paint’, that is, makeup, to show that she is fair when she in reality is not, that is also another form of masking.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we stop being past-oriented, where we are so proud of our past and start focusing on diagnosing our ‘disease of being lagging behind’ in order to prescribe the ‘treatment’ and then treat that ‘disease’ so that it fully heals. I can see that even some Islamic Nashid (songs) are past-oriented. For instance, when Sami Yusuf, a famous Islamic Nashid singer says “ All your armies, all your fighters, all your tanks and all your soldiers against a boy holding a stone, standing there all alone, in his eyes , I see the sun, in his smile I see the moon, and I wonder, I only wonder, who is weak and who is strong, who is right, and who is wrong, and I wish, I only wish, that the truth has a tongue” to describe a very strong Palestinian boy who throws stones at Israeli Occupation Forces. Here, I would like to highlight “who is right? And who is wrong” question. The majority of the world know that the Palestinians are right and the Israelis are wrong; however, I, as Palestinian should not believe that a stone is stronger than a tank. Instead of keep saying “the Israelis have stolen the lands of Palestinians” and focus on the “what”, I strongly believe the Palestinians must start focusing on the “how” before it is too late! As Palestinians, it is important to keep the heart strong and I believe, being Palestinian, that the hearts of the Palestinians are very strong, but this is not enough. The Palestinians MUST be smart and must use their minds well. This will never happen unless Muslims have knowledge, much of which is gained from reading.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we stop following ‘aadat’/ædæt/, which means the traditions and social doctrines and do follow the ‘ibadat’ /ibædæt/, which means the worships. So many Muslims nowadays practice ‘aadat’, which contradicts with ‘ibadat’. For example, when a Muslim does not visit my sister in ‘Aidil Fitri’ because he has no money ‘ duit raya’ to give his sister, he is following the ‘aadat’ not the ‘ibadat’.
We, Muslims, could rise again when we are not ‘contradictory’. Many Muslims including many who are considered ‘religious ones’ say something yet do practice the opposite. For example, we may find a leader in a mosque who call people to be kind to their parents, yet he himself is not treating his parents well.
We, Muslims, could rise again when our leaders are able to set a vision, mission, objectives and be well equipped with strategic management knowledge. This is important as Muslim leaders play a vital role in setting the directions of their peoples. Vision is like a star. Leaders may not reach it, but looking at it would help the leader and the followers know where they are heading. In many Muslim countries nowadays, the leaders have no vision, which makes Muslims in those countries astray, knowing not where they are going.
Finally, the answer to the Question (Can We, Muslims, Rise Again?) is YES, big letter YES. However, this YES can be true only if Muslims implement, practice, and make Al-Quran and the Sunnah part and parcel of our daily lives. In other words, we, Muslims, can rise again and lead the whole world if and only if Islam is really being our way of life, not a wish to have it as a way of life.