Friday, July 29, 2011

Islamic State? What Islamic State? - Cure of Confusion from The Sinners' Dictionary

MOB INJUSTICE. I do not think that mob justice has a part to play in Islam. When I think mob, I think injustice. It has been the counsel of the Saints for some years now, perhaps decades even, to the mureeds (students) under their charge, to avoid political gathering in public places. To especially avoid the angry and disgruntled, whether they consider their wrath justified under any moral, legal or spiritual convention. It is the nature of the times that we live in, that democracy becomes abused and can quickly turn into anarchy. And anarchy has no role, certainly no positive role to play in any society, of whatever religion or ideology.

WHAT IS AN ISLAMIC STATE? Muslim nations, by which I mean a country which is predominantly Muslims, have the highest example to follow. And that is the way of the Prophet (the Sunnah). But I wonder why is it that the more people stress on their 'Islamness', the less Islam it appears to me. In the wonderfully intelligent British political comedy television series, 'Yes, Minister', and later 'Yes, Prime Minister', I recall Sir Humphrey Appleby advising the Minister that when it comes to promulgating a Government White Paper (proposal for legislative change), it is best to put the difficult bit on the cover. So lets have more 'Islamic' countries, he will say. Because frankly, by calling itself Islamic,  the country often falls into a state of substantive-comatose - both the people and (especially) the Government considering the deed is already done. But in substance? Ah. Good question.

THE NAME. I think the best way to judge whether a country is Islamic is first the name. If it does not have the prefix 'the Islamic ....' is a good clue. I always thought that in Islam, it is for God Himself to judge whether you, on a personal level, are indeed a Muslim or not. For an entire nation, of perhaps tens of millions of people to claim in one spur of the collective ego that it is 'Islamic', is frankly, to my delicate nature, a trifling presumptuous.

TREATMENT OF MINORITIES. The second aspect is how the country treats its minorities. The moment I hear the baying of mobs and hordes, hungry to 'raise the banner of Islam' and 'defend the faith' against a small minority, well, that is also an intelligent indicator that Islam, in the truest sense of the word, is on the way out. 

FAIR PLAY. Because come on, if fair play has become abhorrent to the followers of Islam, then for heaven's sake, what are they actually following? Islam is not anything if it is not about fair play. And don't listen to the politicians and preachermen on their soap boxes justifying unfairness in the name of some holy pretext. There is no such pretext. Either these men are deluded or they are deceivers. Reject them utterly.

CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. One day, the Prophet was walking by a stream when he noticed a Companion performing the wuduq in the running water (physical and spiritual ablution prior to performing prayers). "I say, ol' chum." He said (well, not actually, but the gist is here). "Don't go wasting water. Get on with it and perform your wuduq quicker."

BEAUTIFUL THINGS. It is the nature of what the Prophet is offering, that anything that flows from his teaching must by its origin be beautiful. Beautiful buildings, houses and mosques. Beautiful music and poetry. Beautiful paintings and sculptures. Beautiful dancing and singing. And of course, beautiful manners and etiquette. If they are not, then pause and reconsider the source of your inspiration.

BEAUTIFUL MANNERS. It is the nature of a Muslim community that the members must exhibit an exceedingly humble and delicate code of manners. One day a mureed was walking with his Master when he came across a stone on the path. Remembering the sunnah which reminds people to help clear a common foot path, the young mureed kicked the stone aside. The Master promptly stopped to admonish the spiritual aspirant. "Even things which appear to contain no life in it, deserves respect. Next time, pick up the stone and set it aside by the path gently." The student mildly protested, "But Master, it is just a STONE." The old man then explained. "If you wish to continue following me, my son, know that to me there is no "...just a..." Then he paused. "What you cannot hear, I hear. And what you cannot see, I see. The stone was in a constant state of dzikr (remembrance of God by recitation of His Divine Names)." The mureed smiled and said, "Ah, thank you. That is why you are the teacher and I am the student." 

Well, these are some points to ponder over your cup of coffee. It is of course not exhaustive, but it is a good start. If a country, or a community cannot even wrap their collective turban around these basic concepts of human decency (which is basically what the Prophet exemplified), then I would advise them (not that they would listen to a sinner) to drop the title 'Islamic...' in their name, manifesto or logo, and to stop pandering to their private prejudices and systemic hubris manifested as 'piety'. 

Have a good day, sunshine. And whether the day is Islamic or not, leave that to the Creator to decide. 

Pax Taufiqa.

No comments: