The Rise and Fall of Muslims
September 25, 2006 § 4 Comments
In response to a recent conversation concerning the decline of Islam or the decline of Muslims rather, I would like to touch on the principles which affect the rise and fall of societies. As we know the Noble Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) lead the Muslim Ummah to become a great society upon the earth. However, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) left it to the Ummah to preserve, develop and strenghthen the unity of the Ummah. The Muslim Ummah like any other society is subject to conditions that contribute to the rise and fall of any given group.
The conditions are described by AbdulWahid Hamid as:
- Justice and injustice: Justice is the conformity to moral rightness, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards or law.
- Unity and disunity: The state of oneness, the arrangement of parts into a unified whole.
- Enjoining good and forbidding evil: Enforcing rules upon society that advocate morally sound behaviors rooted in probity.
- Morality and debauchery: The quality of being in accord with right conduct and refraining from committing injustices and immoral acts.
Considering these factors it could be argued that the Muslim Ummah has indeed fallen to an “advanced state of decline and ruin”. But how can we challenge the evidence of those who wish to destroy the Muslim Ummah? How can we secure a trust among this human family that is as indestructible as our faith in the One God?
To answer this question I would like to turn to the Prophet Muhammad’s (s.a.w.s.) Khutbatu ul-Wada’ to the Muslim Ummah. This is the Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) final sermon delivered before his death which gives a clear message to the acceptance of Muhammad’s (s.a.w.s.) prophet-hood it also lays out the responsibilities of Muslims as brothers and co-inhabitants within this human family:
“All praise and gratitude is for God. We praise Him. We seek His help and pardon and we turn to Him. We take refuge with God from the evils of ourselves and the bad consequences of our actions. There is none to lead him astray whom God guides aright and there is none to guide him aright whom He leaves astray. I bear witness that there is no deity but God alone without any partner. I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger.
I admonish, servants of God, to be conscious of God and I urge you to obey Him…
O people, listen to me as I deliver a message to you for I do not know whether I shall ever get an opportunity to meet you after this year in this place (the Valley of Arafat, 9 Dhu-l Hijjah, 10 A.H.).
O people, indeed your lives, your properties and your honour are sacred and inviolable to you till you appear before your Creator and Sustainer, like the sacredness of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this city of yours. You will certainly meet your Creator and Sustainer and He will ask you about your actions. Have I conveyed the message? O my Sustainer, be witness!
So he who has any trust to discharge, he should restore it to the person who depostied it with him.
Be aware, no one committing a crime is responsible for it but himself. Neither is a son responsible for the crime of his father nor is a father responsible for the crime of his son.
O people, listen to my words and understand them. You must know that the Muslim is the brother of a Muslim and the Muslims are one brotherhood. Nothing of his brother is lawful for a Muslim except what he himself allows. So you should not do injustice to or oppress yourselves. O Sustainer, have I conveyed the message?
Behold, everything of Ignorance is put down under my feet. The blood revenges of the (pre-Quranic) days of Ignorace are remitted…
O people, verily the Shaytan is disappointed from ever being worshipped in this land of yours. But he is satisfied to be obeyed in actions of yours you thik very trifling. So be cautious of him in your religion.
Verily, I have left among you something clear which if you hold fast to, you will never go astray after that – the Book of God and the Example (Sunnah) of His messenger…”
(The following was continued the following day at Mina)
“O people! Be conscious of God. And even if a mangled Abyssinian slave becomes your leader hearken to him and obey him as long as he establishes and institutes the Book of God.
Do listen to me. Worship your Creator and Sustainer. Perform your five daily Salaat. Fast you month [of Ramadan]. Make pilgrimage to your House (the Ka’bah in Makkah). Pay the Z
akaat on your property willingly and obey whatever I command you. Then will you enter the Paradise of your Sustainer.
Verily, you will meet your Creator and Sustainer and He will ask you about your actions. Do not go astray after me so that some of you strike the necks of others. Have I conveyed the message?…”
(And the speech was continued on the 12th of Dhu-l Hijjah A.H.)
“O people, verily your Creator and Sustainer is One and your ancestor is one. All of you descend from Adam and Adam was made of earth. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab nor for a non-Arab over an Arab; neither for a white man over a black man nor a black man over a white man except superiority gained through God-consciousness (taqwa). Indeed the nobles among you is the one who is most deeply conscious of God…
“Have I conveyed the message?”
“Yes, O Messenger of God,”
his companions replied.”
This indeed is a great khutba which lays out the overall responsibilities of Muslims here on this Earth. And one must ask himself, what would the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) think of his glorious Ummah as it is today? It is sad to say but I do not think that our Prophet would even be able to recognize a Muslim Ummah today. As a Muslim in America, I am having difficulty understanding the greater Muslim presence in politics, I am stuck wondering if there is a place for the Muslim-voice, the Muslim-voter and the Muslim-family in America.
Politically American Muslims such as myself are in a difficult position, because either we are politically recluse and avoid involvement in Western politics or side with those political parties that seem more accepting of Muslims, even if that means keeping silent on issues that present a moral conflict for Muslims as Haroon Moghul describes,
“Some American Muslims are more than willing to ally with leftist, Communist and socialist groups, organizations that deny and may even mock God, yet they are afraid of allying with the right – on any issues.” (H. Moghul, Under|Progress)
The difficulties that Muslims face in the West may in fact be that Muslims present an equal entity to that of the neoconservative types and therefore a natural opponent for the childhood game turned global cock-fight called “King of the Hill”, this was suggested recently in a discussion on a post entitled, “Is the US Becoming Islamized?“, where Wa Salaam reader, Americanexile suggests,
“The alignment/malalignment of neoconservatives and fundamental muslims is really not surprising since the two groups are cut from the same cloth.” (Americanexile, Wa Salaam)
My guess is that Muslims should seek to support groups that contribute and pioneer efforts concerning those issue which Muslims are inclined to support. That way while on the surface we are particpating in American politics, underneath the surface we are establishing unity within the Muslim Ummah and developing individual awareness.
In conclusion we can be sure that, the Prophet Muhammad paved that way for a just and moral society however, due to certain factors the decline of Muslims has created division in the Muslim Ummah and powerlessness against heartless social systems of the world. However, I we are able to revive the spirit of Islam to live in the hearts and minds of Muslims the way it did that day our beloved Prophet delivered his Khutbatul Wada’, we will see a change in this Muslim Ummah.
Indeed, I would like to see Muslims unified; I would like to see Muslims represented in the media for more than entertaining editorials and late night news broadcasts; I would like to see the world embrace Muslims for being Muslims, respected for the awareness and fortitude that it takes to be a Muslim. But in order to see these things, I am convinced that we must raise the bar. We must out shine our opponents in integrity and honor maintaining our high moral values in spite of those who wish for our downfall.