Anyone who hasn’t learned this from past human history is either uneducated or is a fanatic, or both. Muslims have a special responsibility. If they decide to remain in the slums, or lead slum-like lives in inner cities, then, that is not a choice approved by their Lord, writes SYED IQBAL ZAHEER
Lack of enthusiasm for life and its activities, chronic laziness, lethargy, and negativity, are diseases that seem to have struck the Ummah at a wide scale. It is visible in many parts of the Muslim world. What could be the reason?
There could be not one but many reasons combined. For example, it could be because of wealth easily acquired by the previous generation. When a people inherit wealth, without having to drop a drop of sweat for it, it leads to the false idea that their Lord is happy with them for having bestowed wealth without any efforts that they put in. Thus, they run into the belief that they deserve the wealth and the benefactor is none but God. So, they decide that it is time to relax and enjoy the benefits of the Divine bestowal. They ignore the Qur’anic verse:
“(Unto) everyone – these as well as those – We extend (freely) the bounties of your Lord; the bounties of your Lord are not such as to be denied (to anyone). See then how We give preference to some over others. But surely, the Hereafter is greater in rank and greater in excellence.” (17: 20-21)
On the other hand, a people easily acquiring wealth could be a trial event. Said our Lord:
“Maybe your Lord will destroy your enemy and grant you succession in the land to see how you will conduct yourselves.” (7: 129).
“And, if We make him (man) taste mercy from Us after an affliction had touched him, he will surely say, ‘This is my due. I do not believe the Hour will be struck. And, if I am brought back to my Lord, then, surely, there (too) shall be good for me with Him.” (41: 50)
Such endowment then demands behaviours and attitudes in complete contrast to that of those who were destroyed. So, what happens when the revolutionary change required is not manifested?
Yet, despite the heedlessness and warnings, a sudden withdrawal of the wealth may not happen. It may happen gradually. The work-shy attitude and indolence could be a sign of Allah’s displeasure for the attitudes adopted after granting the material blessings. We observe that these attitudes and dollar-friendly style of life have left the Ummah – by and large – dependent on others. This, in turn – with the Arab world as the foremost example – has reduced it, in areas that matter most, to practically tribute-paying disguised vassal states.
Banking on the moral failings pointed out above, their enemies have, in some countries, been trying to send them out of the mainstream. Strangely, however, the Muslims in such countries perceive the intentions against them but respond by adopting the attitude of “couldn’t care less.” This kind of response deepens the malaise.
A consequence few realize is that – considering their large numbers – such response ill bodies for the nation too, as it does to the Muslims. It will hurt both the aggressor and the aggressed against because it is one boat that carries both. If the boat sinks, both sink. If the boat goes round and round, without much progress, both go round and round.
Thus, we see that the consequences are serious. Some thinkers and cool analyzers are predicting that – if the things keep going the way they are going – the state could become a destabilizing factor in the region in about 30-40 years, if not earlier. Already it seems like the “turn around” stage is behind.
If the Ummah lives for God, then, it wouldn’t care how it is treated by others. Enough if Allah is pleased with them. But the Ummah has no direction, no goals, and no ambitions. And Allah does not approve of the characteristics connected with lethargy. He approves of dynamism. The Prophet has said, “A strong believer is better, and more appreciated by Allah, than a weak believer.” (Hadith shortened). A strong believer is an asset to his family, his society, and his nation. A weak believer is a burden on his family, his society, and his nation.
Those nations who have advanced during the last 100 years, had understood this as an important factor in achieving progress: go hand-in-hand with the entire population. While those who did not understand, or refused to understand, are struggling to rise, struggling and struggling. So they will remain – with promises by the politician that the ‘turn around’ is at the corner. Fanatics do not understand what normal minds do. Throughout history, they have been the cause of many a state’s ultimate failures.
A large chunk of a nation’s population, if deliberately left behind, and the large chunk agreeing to the project-plan, will gradually pull the nation down. Their weight will be too much for the rest to carry along. (In some countries, the working population is supplying free food and some amenities, to a quarter of its population in slums, who produce nothing).
The problem unattended, unrests, rebellions, revolutions follow. After some struggle to control and restore order, police and army melt away, refusing to fire and fire and fire on their own people. Consequently, a lot of people lose the life. The rich, the politicians, the land-owners, and the elites are hunted down and slaughtered in cold blood by the millions who had been condemned to inhuman life for decades. It takes several years for the tempers of the oppressed to cool down, get over their madness, and a new cycle starts.
Anyone who hasn’t learned this from past human history is either uneducated, or is a fanatic, or both. Muslims have a special responsibility. If they decide to remain in the slums or lead slum-like lives in inner cities, then, that is not a choice approved by their Lord. `Ali ibn Abi Talib is reported to have said: “Kaada al faqru an yakuna kufran” meaning, extreme poverty is close to being Kufr, and we know that features like lethargy and its sisters lead to extreme poverty.