In the name of Allah, The Beneficient, The Merciful
And Peace and Blessings on Prophet Muhammad
And verily this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore fear Me (and no other). [Surah 23/al-Mu‘minoon, v:53]
The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – the which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him). (42:13)
Welcome to the Baghdad Moment
The South African Muslim Community is on the threshold of a Baghdad Moment. Let me clarify what I mean by this term. It is a reference to the state of the Ummah in Baghdad prior to the Mongol invasion. In many ways, the mindset and conditions prevailing in Baghdad at the time bear an uncanny resemblance to South Africa today.
Baghdad was at the pinnacle of its apparent glory – with the best of libraries, institutions of learning (including universities), material wealth and an abundance of people with Islamic knowledge.
In South Africa, we have a relatively affluent society with considerable economic influence (above the size of the community). There are an abundance of Islamic Institutions (schools, Darul Ulooms, Madrasahs, Hifz classes, Masjids and Musallahs) and the products thereof (‘Ulama and Huffaaz). We have the ear of the government to some (increasingly shrinking) degree, by virtue of the sacrifice of many Muslim individuals in the struggle against apartheid and their close relationship to people who command power and recognise their contribution.
We enjoy a degree of freedom of expression that is unrivalled in the world (forbidden by governments in the Muslim world and limited by self censorship in the so called developed world). We are allowed to be assertive in projecting our Muslim identity in the country. We punch way above our size in issues that involve Muslims overseas (Palestine being a case in point). However, we pat on the back, complimenting ourselves on the blessings bestowed by Allah, and oblivious to that real pathetic state of our society that lurks beneath the surface.(Notwithstanding the credit that is due to many selfless individuals and organisations that are performing a wonderful job in promoting Islam)
However, we are as oblivious to the threat that is on our doorstep as our predecessors in Baghdad were. In the war on Islam, the community WILL be targeted, or rather, has already been the subject of a smear campaign. In the greater scheme of things, the attack will be a proxy war, rather than one lead by Zionists or the real architects of the war on Islam. We live in a comfort zone: living with abundance, freedom to accumulate/spend wealth, practice Islam as we please with scant regard of the schemes of the enemy. It will not require much to lead the media on a frenzy demonising Muslims in this country, nor will it take much to direct anger of the poor (the true victims of the democratic process that has been hijacked) towards the Ummah nor will it be difficult to create a terror incident that will be attributed to radicals within the community.
Where are our ‘Ulama and intellectuals? Where are our leaders? Allah will certainly protect us, BUT we need to extract lessons from the Sunnah that enable us to be proactive. Will we be victims like the masses that were slaughtered in their thousands when the Mongols awoke them from their slumber in their comfort zone?
Allah knows best.