Internal strife. Shootings in the US. Bomb blasts in Europe. Middle East in blaze. Media terrorism in India – yes anything that harms us mentally is also a kind of terrorism. Islam and Muslims are in the line of fire. Everywhere.
In this background many Muslims (both young and not-so-young) have written to me about how they feel. Some are depressed. Others are spooked.
My response to them: I am an Islamic banker, not a psychologist or an Islamic scholar to counsel you. But I can share with you how I view the present situation and how I would react to it.
So the first and foremost thing is I do my very best not to engage in any activity that would break the law of the land where I belong (India) or where I work (Saudi Arabia) or where I travel to (all over the world)! I also do not spread hate, lies or misinformation about others. Such expressions do not belong to our faith. They are alien.
And then the first question I ask them: who is our role model in life?
Answer: Prophet Muhammad – peace and blessings of Allah upon him.
Question: Is there any story or incident of him being ever scared or depressed in his life?
Answer: Ummm, nope!
Question: Was he surrounded by less ruthless and violent foes (i.e. Abu Jahal, Abu Lahab, Walid Al-Mughirah, Abu Sufyan) compared with those who are oppressing today’s Muslims in all parts of the world?
Answer: Not really. The Prophet’s detractors were far more brutal. And the fact that they were cruel to a Messenger of God (not to ordinary folks like us) goes to prove their cruelty.
I remind them that the Prophet faced every single attack on him and his faith Islam with fortitude and patience. He never cried or cribbed. He stayed focused on producing world-class human resources who will do nothing but good in this life so that they get rewards in the Eternal life. That was his singular mission.
The Prophet did not come to build Taj Mahals, Petronas Towers or Burj Khalifas or to build business empires. Nor did he come to offer luxurious houses, designer clothes and fast cars to the world. He was born in a small house in Makkah; he spent 63 years of his life full of hardships, deprivations and adversities between Makkah and Madina; and he died in a one-room house in Madina.
Let’s go back a bit further into history. What about Prophet Moses when he was sent to Egypt to challenge the tyranny of the Pharaoh? Imagine someone standing without any army (or even personal arms) in the main hall of today’s White House and challenging US policies; or in Kremlin challenging Putin!
Was Musa scared of the world’s richest and most powerful man of that time, the Egyptian King sitting inside his own palace? Did he go into depression seeing the might and grandeur of Pharaoh?
Question: You know why Prophet Muhammad did not crack under pressure? Because Allah says in Qur’an: “Fear them NOT, and fear Me”! [Chapter 5: Verse 3]
So a Muslim can never fear any force or power in the world except Allah. A Muslim can never be a coward. And a coward can never be a Muslim. Islam and fear of any worldly power cannot coexist in the same heart. We can either be Muslim. Or we can be cowards. We cannot be both. Period.
I read this story recently: Halagu Khan besieged the world’s largest city, Baghdad. Following just 10 days’ siege, he conquered it in February of 1258.
After completely ravaging the city and killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Mongols established their total control on the capital of Islamic Khilafah.
One day, a Mongol princess was roaming around Baghdad. She saw a man surrounded by a big crowd. She asked her bodyguards about him. They said he is an Islamic scholar. She ordered her security to bring the scholar to her.
When the scholar arrived, the princess asked him do you believe in Allah?
Princess: Do you believe that whoever Allah wants to give power, He gives?
Scholar: We certainly believe in that.
Princess: Then has not Allah given us power and dominance over you?
Scholar: Indeed, He has.
Princess: Isn’t it a proof that Allah likes us more than He likes you?
Scholar: I completely disagree!
Scholar: Have you ever seen a shepherd?
Scholar: Have you noticed that shepherds invariably keep some dogs who follow them?
Princess: Yes, there are dogs who follow shepherds.
Scholar: So if some goats stray from the herd, and despite continuous calls of the shepherd they do not turn back, then what does the shepherd do?
Princess: The shepherd makes his dogs chase them up.
Scholar: How long do those dogs chase the runaway goats/lambs?
Princess: Till the goats keep running away and do not come back into the full control of the shepherd.
Scholar: So you Mongols on this land are the dogs unleashed on us by Allah. Till we keep running away from Allah’s religion [be it for career growth, for earning some extra money, for growing businesses, for sheer lack of courage or any other selfish purpose], and until we do not fully and completely submit to Islam, Allah will keep unleashing you guys on us. Till such time, you will go on terrorizing us and you will not allow us to live in peace and security.
But when we completely [not partially, or half-heartedly] return to Allah and His religion, that day your mandate to hurt and scare us will be withdrawn by Allah.
Whether the above story is real or is used by some scholars as an example, but it gives a clear and categorical remedy for coming out of our present descent. The story also has strong religious credibility because it perfectly explains a verse in Qur’an, the approximate translation of which is:
Do not feel subdued nor be sad, you will overcome if you are a (determined and practicing) believer! [Chapter 2: Verse 139]
For Muslims worldwide, our power and prestige has almost hit the rock-bottom. Insha’Allah, things will only get better (for us in particular and for humanity in general) in coming years and decades. We have total confidence in Allah’s mercy. We need not get rattled or overwhelmed by nonstop attacks on us and our faith. Doing so are sure signs of crossing the line of faith. Because Allah says in Qur’an:
Despair not of Allah’s mercy; surely none despairs of Allah’s mercy except unbelievers! [Chapter 12: Verse 87]
By Mansoor Durrani