Striving in the Cause of Allah
(what Muslims can do to raise Islam to reach its ideals realistically)
by Sister Salima, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a major discrepancy between the perception of Islam in the world today and its reality. Among those who are not Muslim and know nothing about Islam, it would be expected to find ignorance about its principles, ethics, tenets, etc. But even among the Muslims across the world in various countries there is no standard. Why so much deviation?
Actually this is not an article broaching the subject of why some Muslims are not following their religion or who is and who is not, but rather an attempt to address what I believe is the single most important issue facing Muslims today. We find ourselves victims of increasing suspicion and opposition from outside the community, and lack of self esteem and dignity from within.
The cohesiveness of the brotherhood is being corroded and a growing percentage of radicals are beginning to believe, perhaps in desperation and frustration alone, that the only answer is violence and extinguishing all non-Muslims in an attempt at world supremacy. Worst of all, there are even factions attacking other Muslims whom they claim are infidels.
I would like to present what I believe are some practical ideas that can bring about a revival of Islam in the modern world and return it to a place of prominence.
First of all, any country which has a majority of Muslim citizens must be an Islamic state; it must implement Islamic law, politics and economics. What message is sent to the rest of the world when Muslim countries themselves choose not to create an Islamic state and abide by Shariah?
Second, existing Islamic states must correct any failures on their part of living up to their principles. Within their boundaries, there must be no poverty, no corruption, no crime. Islamic states must be examples of perfection, free of error and above reproach.
Third, Muslims who continue to live in countries as a minority of a certain significant percentage must become the ambassadors of Islam. They must be the means to educate non-Muslims and familiarize them with what it means to follow Islam. They will be making a great sacrifice in compromising their obligation to live under Shariah for a higher purpose. They must respect the authority of the government where they live, yet be ready to refuse to comply with whatever is expressly forbidden by Islamic standards and accept the consequences for so doing. They must be carefully fulfilling the duties of tabligh in a discreet and sensitive way in order to foster understanding and respect. Their path is perhaps the hardest of all.
And fourth, Muslims who live as minority communities in countries which are either openly hostile or have shown unwillingness to tolerate or communicate, must leave and relocate. Those who have not the means to do so must be helped by those who are financially able to share the expense. Muslims must take a stand for their beliefs and abandon those societies and ways of life that prevent them from living in an authentic manner. This not only leaves those who are bent on another path to make their own choices and reap their consequences, it tells the rest of the world that Muslims are first of all accountable to Allah. They may then live either in an Islamic state or as a minority among a tolerant society and join other Muslims in their own way by presenting an example of Islam to others.
As regards striving in the way of Allah, promoting and promulgating Islam is the foremost objective. If Muslims truly believe Islam is the best way of life for all humanity, then they would agree there is no need for violence. When given a clear demonstration of how it works, it will be sought after by everyone of integrity. in order for it to be readily accepted and embraced, the real need is for sincerity, sacrifice and social reform. If we have faith in the divinity of the Islamic way of life, we need to exemplify that faith from the inside out. However, there is more that must be done where conflicts exist and persecution is an ongoing problem.
If any country openly persecutes Muslims, either within or without its borders, a state of war exists between that country and all Islamic states. It may be unfeasible to attack due to the risk of endangering its Muslim citizens and non-Muslims who are innocent. But there are other ways of waging war; i.e., economically for one. With the Gulf countries controlling most of the oil, they should be able to apply enough pressure to end persecution of Muslims worldwide.
If any non-Muslim government/state declares war against an Islamic state that has done it no wrong, all other Islamic states must join together to strengthen its defense. Similarly, if any Islamic state has declared war against a non-Muslim state for justifiable cause, all Islamic states must support its efforts in whatever way they are able.
If terrorist groups are formed within any country, whether known or unknown to the government, and operate either in or outside their own political borders, they must be identified and fought in all possible ways, collectively by all Islamic states. They must be infiltrated and exposed to public condemnation. They may be given the chance for amnesty and surrender, but if they cannot be rehabilitated, they must be stopped. This would be a legitimate cause for the use of violence, but only as directed against confirmed enemy agents where there is no risk of endangering anyone else.
And finally, if any Islamic state goes against the tenets of Islam, then all Islamic states must take immediate action to correct it. Ways this might be done are to sever political relations, publicly denounce its actions, exert economic pressure, and as a last resort, and only in the case of the crime of declaring war unjustly on any other country or persecuting any group of people, declare war against it.
There are a lot of loud voices from those who claim to be speaking for Islam but their words are in conflict with everything that defines Islam. The reason Islam is not the major influence in the world today is because no one sees it being applied as it is meant to be. In order to gain the respect it deserves from non-Muslims and Muslims alike, it must be first of all followed absolutely by Muslims the world over. This is the responsibility of every Muslim, and there is a way for each of us to participate and take responsibility for change. Being able to recognize one's enemy is the first step towards defeating it. As is often the case, the enemy is inside rather than outside of us. We must conquer the divisiveness and hypocrisy and ignorance among us. That is the true jihad.