By Abu MazeedatilKhayr  Sa’eed


I still wonder what the future holds for this generation of Muslims. Our tomorrow seems dark with the current socio-political situation in the world. A man at the mercy of his peers is certainly one without honour and dignity, which is perfectly illustrative of the present state of the global Muslim Ummah. Right from the days of the glorious caliphate, and until the last two decades, it has not been this bad!


Lately, this Ummah had survived with resistance against its foes. Those who contemplated eroding the Islamic value system were encountered by the youthful Mujaahideen in fierce battles. The enemies also trembled with the powerful effects of our scholars’ pen. For them, the narrative is not a pleasant one!


The Mujaahid-Scholars who understood both the language and the thought-system of the enemies, but had preferred to flourish on the pristine legacy of the prophetic Sunnah included Malik Ben Nabi of Algeria; the Indo-Pakistani Mawdudi, the Turkish Badiuz Zamaan Said Nursi; as well as Al-Bannah, that Egyptian Ustaz of global reckoning, and many others.


Forget about the incited hatred against the thinkers, they were the modern saviours of the Islamic spirit! Most of these scholars had been fell by the tyrants’ bullets; in the gallow or at the battle fields. Some had even rotten in the enemies’ dungeons, leaving behind a legacy of inspirational bravery, courage, intellect and piety from which the succeeding generations have sought their strength.


The collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924 was the major seminar event that heralded a new phase in the mental strength of those scholarly thinkers who contributed to the rise of islamic movements. Renewed emphasis was however placed on the political concept of Islamic state as a religious necessity that must be vigorously pursued.


Thus, politics overshadowed all the discourses of the struggle, reflecting the assumption that the rise of the state-system is essential to the birth of the Muslim personality, for a Muslim living in an un-Islamic state is like a fish struggling to survive outside water. However, so far, there’s hardly a story of any enduring political victory in the Sunni world.


On the other hand, there are some documented stories of failures, near victory and catastrophe in the struggle. Nevertheless, there is something which stands taller than a political victory. It is called the global Muslim solidarity. The Islamic movement of the past decades had created a synergy for the welfare of the believers, by defending the Muslim territory and expanding the frontiers of Islamic influence.


When Kabul was, for instance, seized by the communist puppets of the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the ragtag brothers of the Afghan territory could only seek solace in their possession of walking sticks, gun powder and sharp knives to fight the Soviet military tanks, bombs and the nuclear armament. However, the entire Muslim world did not abandon these hapless brothers to their plight.


The Muslim Brotherhood Movement voluntarily opened an office called Markaz Khadamaat at Peshawar, where foreigners coming to partake in the Jihaad were officially registered. This big center, superintended by an Ikhwaani – Abdullah A’zaam – only served the purpose of mobilising, training and dispatching the fighters, medical personels and scholarly doctrinaire to the war fronts – depending on individual skill and purpose of coming.


The Saudi government did not only finance the jihaad, various foundations based in the country and other gulf states – Muassassaatul Islaamiyyah – were also allowed to raise fund for the combatants’ welfare. Shaykh Bn Baaz in particular personally mobilized for this cause and also issued a series of verdict to this effect. There are cogent evidences that are tenable.


The Saudis as well as the two neighbouring countries – the Shiite Iran and the Muslim Pakistan – stood in solidarity with the Afghans, using all their resources – human and material – to sponsor Hizbul Islami, Jama’at Islami, Harakatul Islamia and jama’atul Kitaab wa Sunnah – of Shaykh Yunus Khanis, Engr Hikmatiyar, Prof. Burhanudeen Rabbaani and Shaykh Abdur Rahman Jameel respectively, to prosecute the armed resistance.


Consequently, the Afghan Muslims regained their honour, with an unprecedented victory over the super power. It was indeed a bad market for Gorbachev as the union disintegrated to the astonishment of the whole world. When the war finally ended in the early 1990s, the foreign fighters, otherwise called the Afghan Arabs, had started returning home, while a few of them voluntarily trooped into Bosnia; and then, Chechnya.


But furthering the cause of jihaad in Bosnia and Chechnya was a major headache to the entire Europe; and coincidentally, the armed groups were already in disarray, without a coordinating force. Shaykh Abdullah A’zaam had been martyred. The Saudi monarchy had lost intetest because those who returned home were increasingly getting impatient with their governments and had thus been declared renegade on account of their rebellion.

The Afghan’s victory was however short-lived, as the old school boys – The Taliban – from the refugee camps in the neighbouring Pakistan flushed out the northern alliance for being unable to sustain the victory. Then, with the mischievous aid of Washington, these inexperienced conservative students of the camps’ madrasa institutionalized a parochial system of governance; and thus, the bloodshed continued.


The Bush – both the father and the son – had also collapsed Saddam’s Iraq, with the consequent effect of seeing thousands of armed fighters crashing the gate of Baghdad to rescue the oil-rich Muslim territory from the new imperialist power. Meanwhile, the Muslim land of Palestine has always been a boiling pot. The Afghan territory had also become a theatre of the absurd.


Most of those who had come to form the gorilla band in all of these theatres of war were mostly the rebels who had escaped the torture of their governments as well as those who were not willing to return home after the reputable Afghanistan Jihad. Thus, those scenes of war were only peopled by the recruited sanguine youths and their war lord masters, who knew virtually nothing about Islam.


And then, suddenly, on September 11, 2001, the American symbols of political power, economic strength and military arrogance were simultaneously humbled, through a conspiracy that is yet to be publicly identified. It coincided with the height of Ariel Sharon’s brutality in the Arab land of Palestine. The imperialist power then mobilized her friends in the comity of nations and vowed to smoke out the terrorists.


This had marked the beginning of the end of any serious effort at giving solidarity to a persecuted Muslim. It was also a turning point in the life of those who stood for Islam. Any humanitarian effort then became a major crime, punishable under a set of new laws in the Muslim world. The vociferous voice of many reputable da’wah workers went solo, as the Muslim gulf started withdrawing its patronage of any sublime Islamic idea.


It was the day when scholars of Islam started learning how to betray the trust of their knowledge while giving any verdict on political issues; as fear, emotion, complex and parochial tendency overturned their sense of objectivity, piety and sincerity. Fatwas were guided by situation ethics, rather than what the Scripture says and some are determined by group loyalties. Of course, the clerics have learnt to play safe!


Thus, 9/11 is indeed the ultimate alibi with which the entire Ummah was humbled and haunted. Those who advocated for Muslim solidarity were thereafter quickly marked as “terrorists” by the CIA; but their fellow Muslims from the alternative school would rather prefer calling them khawaarij; both of which (names) evoke social boycott and strong suspicion from the public.


Who would then risk the prospect of condemnation by identifying with the oppressed Muslims? Even the Muslim nations known to be ever supportive in the past – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, the Sudan etc. – have all learnt to be careful. Reputable Muslim scholars of global relevance have also learnt the new tactics of giving sermons; and those who failed to comply are only taught some bitter lessons in the tongues of their fellow Muslims.


Virile movements, like the Muslim Brotherhood, quickly learnt to liberalize their reformist approach for the fear of being blacklisted; but as much as they struggle hard to be stripped of the spurious allegation of rearing khawaarij, they are still terrorists in the law of Sisi and khawaarij in the flimsy assumption of the Saudi clerics. Books and reputable authors are also victims of this ideological onslaught. But fortunately, none of the critics will be called to partake in the jury on the Day of Judgement.


After enduring a ban of twenty years from partaking in the holy pilgrimage, Rashid Ganouchi was hosted last year during hajj as a special guest of King Salman, for “succumbing to blackmail”, by atleast relaxing his clamour for Muslim solidarity – His Nahdah Islamic movement had ruled Tunisia for a whole term without a single finger on Islamic reform or plight of the oppressed Muslims.


Thus, the idea of Muslim solidarity is effectively blackmailed and that is the major reason why the Rohingya Muslims may have to endure the on-going persecution for so long – Their plight re-echoes at a time when the spirit of Muslim solidarity was long dead. Unless they helped themselves, the Islamic movement of the historic “Base” is no more alive. The Muslim nations may also not be willing to deploy any support for the fear of being accused of sponsoring terrorism.


The Rohingya Muslims are, anyway, not new to this global neglet, because even in the days of solidarity, nobody was interested in their plight. The Rohingyas have lived for centuries in the western state of Rakhine, in Myanmar; and for decades, they have been persecuted by the Myanmar government. They are not considered among the country’s 135 ethnic groups. The government has even denied them citizenship since 1982 and the state is one of the poorest in the country.


Although, the tension between the Buddhists and the Muslims in the land is dated back to 1550 CE when King Bayinnaung of Burma arrogantly prohibited his Muslim subjects from slaughtering qurbani rams for Eid al-Adha celebration, the recent crisis is said to be the ultimate aftermath of the anti-Buddhist actions of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.


Of course, the Taliban’s destruction of the statue of the Bamiyan Buddha in 2001 is yet to be pardoned by the monks of Burma who had earlier demanded that the Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in retaliation for the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Prior to 2001, however, there had been some major anti-Muslim riots and skirmishes, occasioned by the Buddhist abhorrence of Islam.


Violent clashes had occurred between the Buddhist and the Muslims in 1968, 1997, 2001, 2003, and almost every year, till now. There was also a major tension which grew between between the two parties during the renovation of a Buddha statue. The bronze Buddha statue in the Maha Myatmuni pagoda, originally from the Arakan, brought to Mandalay by King Bodawpaya in 1784 was renovated by the Burmese authority.


However, lately, the on-going onslaught is perhaps the worst experience of massacre of the believers. It had begun towards the end of last year – 2016 – when the Mynmar military forces and the Buddhist extremists started killing, maiming and beheading the Rohingya Muslims in the country’s western region of Rakhine State, in a gruesome manner. This act of senseless brutality is claimed by the Buddhist monks to be a reaction to attacks on the police at the border.

I wonder why analysts have continued to blame the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for the genocide that is far ahead of her brutal reign. Hatred against Muslims of all nations is a global culture; but this reality, we refuse to acknowledge. Where were you when the believers were killed at the Eid on the Plateau, and then roasted and eaten by the Christians of Jos, the North of Nigeria? Even the “civilized” West of the world abhors the “barbaric” Muslim East with passion – Don’t mind the sword dance of Mr.Trump.

Therefore, in this respect, Aung San Suu Kyi only treads the path of her ancestors by presiding over the mass slaughter of Muslims – some were beheaded, others were set ablaze inside the mosques. This genocide — and the ensuing exodus of refugees — also saw some survivors bringing with them the harrowing tales of rape and murder in the hands of the military and the Buddhist monks.

The New York Times had sadly confirmed “the Muslim refugees of Burma are gaunt and spent, already starving and carrying listless and dehydrated babies, with many miles to go”. I make bold to say that this age-long history of genocide can only be ameliorated through a virile resistance by the Burmese Muslims, irrespective of their minority status. This must however be strongly supported by the solidarity of Muslims across the world.

I remember being vehemently opposed by a courageous sister when I once proposed against this choice of armed resistance for the Burmese Muslims during my annual IDVS lecture in Abuja some six years ago. My fear, at that time, was informed by the minority status of the Muslims in that country. But the sister’s argument was premised upon the experience of all the Muslim battles of the early day Islam in which the minority had always vanquished the majority side of idolaters.

However, today, I have no reason to contest the sister’s argument on armed resistance in Myanmar, while still insisting that the prospective Muslim fighters may not possess the strength of faith, patience and piety that served as the prerequisites of victory for the early Muslim minority. The solidarity of Muslims will certainly be helpful in the present crisis.

If you had ever marched along with a crowd of pilgrims from Arafat to Muzdhalifah; and then, from Muzdhalifah to the Jamrah in Munah the morning after, you would be glad to be a Muslim as you think of the prospect of this solidarity; but certainly, the imperialist powers must be scared of this annual congregation of Muslims, because they know the true implications of Muslim solidarity. That’s exactly how much the enemies tremble and fear the prospect of Muslim solidarity.

If, perhaps, the Muslim world had got just three of Erdogan amongst its leaders, the story may be different. Tayeb Erdogan has always been there for the Palestinian Muslims, even though he’s not an Arab. He was emotionally there for the Ikhwaanis when Sisi let loose his tyranny. He was also there for the state of Qatar when the tiny Arab nation was bullied by its brothers.

He was there for the Syrian refugees at the height of pain. He has also partaken in battling the ISIS for misrepresenting Islam; and and now, he is the only one standing so far with the Rohingya Muslims.You may not agree with the democratic system that brought him to power, but you must appreciate the pace of his Islamic reform in the former Ottoman enclave, as well as his sense of solidarity with fellow Muslims.

To be truly conscious of this sense solidarity requires an equal proportional sense of a life-time mission; and this sense of mission is what distinguishes a Muslim personality from the rest of the world. The Muslim personality is just a man amongst others, who live in the shade of Tawheed – by thinking of Islam, talking of Islam, speaking for Islam, living in Islam and living for Islam. A handful of such men is certainly enough for Myanmar.

While praying for the Muslim of Rohingya, I urge them to stand for themselves – It is either nasr or shahaadah. As for the handful of men whose solidarity for Muslims is always constant: On your way to Myanmar, don’t forget to answer those ridiculous names, if you are labelled; but never succumb to blackmail! May Allah dry the tears of Rohingya Muslims and console the oppressed.

BY Abu MazeedatilKhayr Sa’eed

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