Quarterly: Issue No 58
In the name of Allah,
Most Beneficent, Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah (Glorified be His
Name), and peace and blessings be upon his beloved Messenger Muhammad, his
family and all his companions. Ameen!
One often hears Muslims complain that they
suffer from a leadership crisis, that they have no leaders, in the true sense
of the term, to guide and represent them. Let us analyse the reasons for the
lack of progressive Muslim leaders in the world today. Undeniably, there is a serious leadership
crisis among Muslims, but I don't think this problem is specific to Muslims in
South Africa alone. Rather, it is one
that affects the Muslim World globally.
The reason is that, generally, Muslims worldwide do not live by the aims
and objectives of Islam. They all live
by their selfish motives of nationalism and sectarianism. The states as well as Muslim Organizations
have done little or nothing to improve this condition. So, to expect a
progressive leadership to emerge from such ranks is not very promising unless
we change our state and conditions as true Muslims. Allah says: Verily never will Allah change the condition of
a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). (Surah Ar-Ra’d: Chapter 13: Verse
The rise of European Colonialism
changed the perception of life wherever it reached. It brought modern Western
ideas and concepts to countries which were not known to them. Some of those new
ideas were indeed responsible for bringing revolutionary changes in the
people’s lives of the conquered land.
But what it left on the face of it were divided groups of people with
conflicting interests. No doubt,
nation-state and its concomitant bureaucratic structure, ambitious political
theories, human rights and new economic opportunities came as an excellent
package to the new born nations but what they completely lost was their self
confidence, identity, cultural values and most importantly potential as a
nation to groom honest and dedicated leadership.
current uprising in the Arab world is indeed a sign of people coming out of a
dangerous intellectual crisis, which was forced upon them after the fall of
British Empire. One thing that is very
important to note is that it took them nearly a century to do this. The
decline of the end of colonialism and the fall of Ottoman Empire happened more
or less simultaneously, and this changed the world map. The fall of Ottoman Empire immediately after
the Second World War dramatically shifted anarchy from Europe to the Muslim
world. This was mainly due to selfish
individualism of Western and American society pouring and settling in Muslims
lands. It took more than two generations
to entirely wipe out the ill effects and now the political dynamics of the Muslim
world is changing spectacularly and swiftly. The question arises why it took so
long? It is yet another point to understand that the end of British colonialism
was the beginning of American’s neo-Colonialism in the garb of Imperialism.
This covert form of Colonialism acted as a breather for westerners especially
Europeans, which took its effect by controlling the political theatre of the
world through trained, tamed and corrupt leadership.
the Islamic Republic of Iran to secular republics in the Arab world or
Indonesia, from monarchies in the Arab world, Malaysia, Nigeria (where
monarchies rule over provinces), and Brunei, to democracies in Turkey,
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia, current Muslim States have great diversity
in the methods of implementing politics and governments. One thing which is purely common in these
states is Islam, not only as a Faith but also as a source of identity and an
important factor in social relations and politics. The next thing that is more
common amongst them is an impurity in the form of democratic dictators or
dictatorial democrats with the following important character traits:
and placed by neo-Colonial (American) powers by hook or by crook
of them dishonest and corrupt
lacking in self confidence for decision making and
rule and work for vested interests
is believed, by and large, in most parts of the world that political upheaval
in Arab world is a well designed act by Americans and is a continuation of pick
and choose theory adopted by Americans since a very long time ago. Even before
the fall of Communism, this theory has indeed worked miracles for them –
especially in the Muslim parts of the world.
The main reason for this unprecedented success is the deplorable economic
condition of the people of these countries that paved the American way for this
deadly power game of changing leadership.
it is very obvious that not all the Arab dictators have lost their utility and
faith for Americans. Truly speaking,
the absence of quality leadership remains imminent in Arab world as well. Despite of their booming economics, there is
no alternative in the shape of credible leadership available to control the
damage, especially with reference to the volatile situation in Egypt and Libya.
Therefore, American interests in the region will be taken care of by filling up
this vacuum - by different viable options - prompted and supported by
westerners. But, on the other hand, this
quagmire can be a source of great inspiration for Muslims in general where
vibrant media can trigger public opinion by making them realize all the pros
and cons in the case of an absence of true and quality leadership. This vibrant media can also help to do the
most important job of awaking the Muslim masses in bringing back the true “khilaafah” in our Muslim States; and prepare the region for
the arrival of Imam Mahdi (Alayhis
Salaam). Here are a few suggestions
worth pondering to overcome our leadership crisis:
Let us make plans to recreate the Ummah.
Bridge the gap between Ulama and others.
Create a Jamiat-ul-Ummah by including others
who are knowledgeable and have leadership qualities - as the slogan goes; ‘one
for all and all for one’. Put this
concept into practice and act accordingly as and when required to do so. Let us create platforms of common interest
and learn to live with differences – of course within the confines of the
Qur’an and Sunnah.
Let us change our attitudes, but the basic principles must always take
precedence. Everything should begin with
moral authority. Encourage critical
dissent and analysis because blind obedience creates paralyzed minds. Let us all learn how to dispute effectively -
disagreeing without being disagreeable.
Learn and teach others how to think in order to draw lessons from our
Islamic History and create strategies for the Ummah at large.
3. Make sincere
efforts to change our lifestyles.
Primary obedience should only be to Allah alone. Boycott the wilfully disobedient. Let us value knowledge and those who possess
it because knowledge is the source of all power. Value and encourage social service as Islam
can only triumph by winning the hearts of people.
4. Change our method and curriculum of
teaching. Curricula in our teaching
institutions must be reviewed with a focus on application in today’s modern
world. Our teaching methods must be
changed to use the best of modern methods and tools. We just cannot afford to cast a blind eye on
this very important but effective communication methods and tools of educating
the Muslim masses.
5. Change our focus in life. Let us actively seek to ‘lead’ in all walks
of life. Develop the skills to inspire
leadership. Let us enter politics,
administration and even the army in Muslim countries. Wealth without power is a recipe for
disaster. Put expiry dates on elderly
leaders and make succession planning a part of our life. Put our focus on higher education and seek
to influence by leveraging on knowledge.
6. Change our
self-definition. Define ourselves in
terms of global impact for that is the definition of us in the Noble
Qur’an. Do a contribution audit in all
spheres of life – and make plans to replace ineffective leaders for the sake of
the Ummah – not for personal, racial or national reasons. Put our focus on providing solutions – rather
than in-fighting - because people generally love problem solvers.
It is an accepted fact that unless we solve our
leadership crisis we will never be able to control our affairs or take
decisions that are beneficial for us. This is a fundamental right of all people
anywhere in the world. It is the very definition of the concepts of freedom and
liberty. But history shows us that whenever people wanted to enjoy this
freedom, they had to fight for it. The
Qur’an also tells us that this fight is internal more than external for the
destiny of nations depends on their character. Allah says: Verily never will Allah change the condition of
a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). (Surah Ar-Ra’d: Chapter 13: Verse
IMPORTANCE OF ZIKRULLAH
Allah (Glory be
to Him, the Most High) mentions in the Noble Qur’an the qualities of His
beloved servants Mu’minoon (Believers). One of them
He says is that they are in remembrance of Almighty Allah whether they are
standing, sitting or lying down. In other words it means that they are in
remembrance of Allah continuously because a person can either be standing or
sitting or in lying down position. Allah loves this quality of Mu’min (believer) to be in the state of Zikrullah
(remembrance of Allah) at all times.
Allah (Exalted be His Name) says: “Those who remember
Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about
the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): ‘O Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without
purpose. Glory be to You! Give us salvation from the
punishment of the Fire.” (Surah
Ale Imraan: Chapter 3: Verse 191)
this verse, we learn the sequence of events that follow the Zikrullah.
It is an established fact that as the eyes can see only in the presence of the
external light, similarly the human heart (Qalb)
perceives things only in the presence of some sort of Spiritual Light (Noor). As eyes, though normal, are functionless in the
darkness; so is the heart functionless in Spiritual Darkness. Thus a person, whose heart (Qalb) is enveloped in darkness, has very limited range of
thinking and has highly narrowed inner vision.
Saints (Awliya-ul-Kiraam) and true Islamic Sufis in
Islam have stated in their commentaries of the above verse that since Zikrullah is a Noor, it
illuminates and enlightens the Zakir’s heart (Qalb) and removes darkness from it. When the heart gets
illuminated and enlightened, its range of vision increases tremendously. It now
starts thinking in the creation of the skies and the earth; i.e. from the stage
of Zikr, he gets elevated to the next higher stage
which is called the stage of reflection and contemplation (Fikr). His Fikr , which was dead, has now become revived because of the Zikr of Allah.
This is the next higher stage in the spiritual
ascendance of a Mu’min (Believer). This is the higher faculty of Qalb having wide ranging capabilities. The Messenger of
Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) stated in a Hadith that Tafakkur
(Process of Fikr) for a moment is better than sixty
or seventy years of worship (Ibaadah). From this Hadith, one can imagine the value
of Fikr i.e. the reflection
and contemplation of the creation of the universe and all that it consists of.
Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said in a Hadith: “The world has been created for you, but you
have been created for the akhirah (hereafter).”. Therefore, A Mu’min
does not make the accumulation of material things his goal but entirely dedicates
himself to the real purpose of humanity. He soars higher and higher in this
objective. He does not leave this world and adopt what is called renunciation (Rahbaaniyah), but he uses this world as a means to achieve
his ultimate goal. This great lesson we
learn from the Qur’an and Hadith. The
Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to invoke Almighty Allah
in the following words: “O Allah! Help me in my Deen
(religion) by the Dunyah (World) and in my Aakhirah (Hereafter) by Taqwa
(Piety).” Here one can understand that our beloved
Prophet teaches us that the worldly gains are also of importance for a believer
(Mu’min) but, of course with a difference i.e. it is
not the ultimate goal of a believer (Mu’min) but is a
means of achieving the real goal, that is why our beloved Prophet asks Allah to
help us in Deen (religion) by Dunyah
(world) and not vice versa.
ordains every soul in the Quran to perform Zikrullah. It is only through Zikr-e-Qalbi that Prophetic Noor reaches
the depths of human soul and purify it from all vice and evil. Zikrullah infuses a
realization of constant Divine Presence and a seeker feels great improvement in
the level of sincerity and love towards his most beloved Allah. Such levels of sincerity, love and feelings
of Divine Presence can never be obtained without Zikrullah. It would also be a mistake to believe that Zikrullah is only a requirement for the very pious and
virtuous people. Zikrullah provides the Prophetic
blessings which are in effect the life line of every human soul. It transforms
even the most corrupt humans into virtuous beings by bringing out the best in
fact is that Zikrullah is the only way to achieve
true contentment and satisfaction in life. The holy Quran has pointed to this established
fact that it is only through Zikrullah that hearts
can find satisfaction. Such satisfaction and peace are the ultimate
requirements of every person. Practicing Zikrullah
regularly removes all traces of anxiety and restlessness, and guides the human
soul to Eternal Bliss and Peace. Allah
(Glorified be His Name) says in the Noble Qur’an:
Those who believe, and whose hearts find peace and satisfaction in
the remembrance of Allah! Behold, in the
Remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace and satisfaction. (Surah Ar-Ra’d: Chapter 13: Verse
O you who have Imaan! Let not your wealth
or your children divert you from the Remembrance of Allah. If anyone acts thus, the loss is their own. (Surah Al-Munafiqoon: Chapter 63:
Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is reported to
“The difference between the one who makes Zikr
and the one who doesn’t make Zikr is like the
difference between the living and the dead.”
“The best remembrance of Allah is to repeat LA ILAAHA ILLALLAH and the best prayer (du’a) is AL HAMDU LILLAH (All praise belongs to Allah).”
(Narrated by Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Hakim who declared its chain sound)
May Allah give us the tawfeeq
to be among those who say “we
heard and we obey”!
Requesting your humble duas!
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN