Almighty Allah makes the following profound statement in the Quran in Surah A’raf verse 34 (and similarly in other places in Quran) that requires our urgent attention:
وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ فَإِذَا جَاء أَجَلُهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً وَلاَ يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ
“And to every nation is a specified term/time/time period. So when their time has come, they will not delay it by a single hour, nor advance it.”
This verse makes reference to a natural law that governs our social life in this world which has been observed for centuries to be true. Even if one does not believe in any holy book, mere observation of recorded history and the relics that have been left behind show how nations have come and gone in this world and that oppressive nations by their very nature were replaced.
There’s a slight difference to the natural law that regulates our heartbeat and all the natural phenomena that we observe daily versus the above mentioned natural law that governs the existence and life span of a nation.
In the case of our heartbeat or the sun rising in the morning, that law is set and is predictable.
But in the case of the natural law that governs the life span of a nation, though that law is set, the exact time of death is non predictable, but death itself is undeniable!!
We are in the 21st century in the year 2015. This century is going to be, and has already shown to be very different to the 20th century. The question is “do we as Muslims recognize what that major difference is (among others)”?
Professor Aslam Fataar from Stellenbosch University accurately identifies that the project of the 20th century was the Nation State and Nationalism. After colonial rule the world was divided up into Nation States and the original colonizers continued to rule from behind the scenes. Thus we have maybe 250 odd nation states in the world, including the Middle East!
So if you travel Europe and go on the well known “Contiki Tour” you can travel and see 10 countries in 14 days!
Or if you go on a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea, you can travel and see Oman, Qatar, Emirates, Bahrain, and Kuwait all in 7 days.
This division of the world into Nation States is an unnatural one, and consequently the world has realized that the NATION STATE PROJECT IS DEAD!
The death of the Nation State project is in line with the natural law referred to in Quran.
Europe amalgamated into one European Union, the walls dividing East and West Germany were torn down, the cold war that caused the west and east to fight each other ended, the dividing lines between nations are being broken and there is a greater move to consolidate along ideological lines.
But has the broader Muslim World realized that?
LEADERSHIP VACUUM IN MUSLIM WORLD
In my view the Muslim World is slowly only starting to realize this but already seem too late in their realization and thus the world continues to outsmart us in some respect.
Dr Ebrahim Rasool who is a Global Thought Leader these days says the Muslim World at the moment is experiencing a Leadership Vacuum.
This statement is not entirely correct, though even the most hard line sectarian instigators claim the same view, as leadership in the Muslim World very definitely does exist, it is just that the majority of Muslims are either oblivious to this reality or refuse to accept this reality.
So the Question is “In which parts of the Muslim world is there a leadership vacuum?” And the obvious answer is those parts of the world where the World View of Muslims is such that Leadership is not an article of Faith!
Though there are many ahadith in Sunni and Shia resources which do make mention of the importance of leadership, the qualities of leadership, who the leaders actually are, the status of leadership, the role of the scholars, and much much more, in 1400 years of Islamic History the crucial topic of Leadership remained a half-baked subject and today, when there was no khalifate after the fall of Attaturk, two approaches natural arose in response to this crucial question:
1. The first was the Mutaqqi Leadership of Imam Khomeni
2. The second is the Satanic Leadership of ISIS
And while everyone is crying and denouncing ISIS, few have an answer to the so-called Leadership Vacuum that they claim exists and thus Dr Rasool says Muslims should start re-imagining themselves….but is there really a vacuum that we have to start re-imagining ourselves now only?
Or are we seeing the demise of a way of thinking that did not give the topic of Leadership its due Position and Status in Muslim Thinking?
The speed of change in the world shows the rise of those who have accorded Leadership its due status. Even though in the School of Ahlul Bait (a.s) the topic of Leadership in general has always been part of our Doctrine and Aqeedah, Imam Khomeini already in the 1960’s gave a detailed exposition of Islamic Governance and its actualization during our time. And the speed of change in favour of those who took this topic seriously is a game changer, which sees a major shift in power that requires some serious Change Management.
WHAT IS CHANGE MANAGEMENT?
There is no single definition to change management as it is something that we intuitively understand, but broadly speaking it is a systematic approach to manage the change to the condition of a society, nation, business organisation, etc. from a current undesirable state to a future more desirable state. For that change to be initiated, there must be an unequivocal acknowledgement that one’s current state is unsustainable and completely undesirable. There is a collective abhorrence developed to one’s current state.
At the advent of Islam Quran says in Surah 3:103 says:
وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا
“And you were on the edge of a pit of fire, then He (Allah) saved you from it.”
Arabian jahiliyya society were killing each other for generations for no reason and everyone was exhausted from the meaningless abyss they were in…..and in their heart were crying for change.
The prelude to major change is that life becomes so unbearable which pushes a society/nation/business to find something better or die!
So the Nation State project is dead and the division of countries in the Middle East is dying a quick death as life is unbearable and unsustainable with monarchies serving the interests of the west instead of the interests of Islam. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in the pangs of Death. The prelude to major change has already occurred and the change process which started in 1979 has gained momentum like never before.
WHAT IS THE DESIRABLE STATE THAT WE WANT TO CHANGE TO AND YEARN FOR?
During the jumuah at the Ahlul Bait Center in Ottery we pray for that desirable state every week in the khutbah when we say:
“O Allah we deeply desire that era of an honorable state (daulatin kareemah), where Islam and the people of Islam will be respected, and hypocrisy and the people of hypocrisy will be humiliated, and include us among those who invite to thy obedience and lead others to Thy path, and (through this honorable state) to grant us the most honorable of this world and the hereafter.”
1. We pray for a daulah/state that gives honor to Islam and Muslims….not like ISIS that dishonours Islam and Muslims.
2. Its a state where our right to have Islam as our way of life is recognized and respected and on that basis we build relationships with Non-Muslims.
3. Its a state that gives honour to all Muslims, irrespective of your ideological background….it is a state that has place for all, not just one narrow mathab.
4. You thus don’t hear us pray every week in this jumuah “O Allah grant us a Shia state!”
5. Its a state where hypocrites are humiliated. So if some people under the disguise of being Muslim were actually the fronts for Non-Muslims, then they must be nervous during this time.
And that is why you see them react and make war as they are doing! Because humiliation has set in.
If yesterday they were friends with the West it was not on the basis that the West recognized their dignity, and today they are being spat out. Today countries like Iran have paid a huge price to be recognized as an Islamic Revolution with certain rights but that price is the basis for real future returns.
MANAGING FEAR DURING CHANGE
One of the major considerations during mega change management projects is the question of managing the fears of those who were previously privileged.
It is interesting to note that before the Iranian Revolution, Imam Khomeini did not ask the Shah to step down, he asked the Shah to reform! Was that not a fair expectation? But when the Shah started killing innocent protesters then the doors to negotiate were closed.
But there is no cleansing process necessary in the sense of sentencing all the “old guard to death.” Just look at Iraq where many people who served in Saddams regime’s lives were spared and still live in the new dispensation.
To instill fear all kinds of lies are manufactured, like saying “the 2 idols buried in Madina will be dug up.”
Firstly we don’t believe there’s any idols buried in Madina next to Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and secondly if that was the intention then why is the grave of Muawiyya, the despotic Umayyad ruler still in tact today? In the haram of Imam Reza in Mashad, the grave of the despotic Haroon al-Rashid still lies there safe and untouched. Why are such lies manufactured against the school of Ahlul Bait (a.s)? But the people who do dig up graves are precisely the very ISIS whom many Muslims still feel sympathy towards!
People say certain Schools of Thought will be marginalized. Again this is false when you look at examples of Iran and Iraq. Each group has a place in parliament and council and their rights are protected.
But the spreading of fear is a tool that is used to destabilize the change process and needs to be managed with clear policies that will subdue such fears.
REINFORCE NEW DISPENSATION AND REPLICATE THE PROCESS
Once the Prophet (sawa) established Islam in Madina, it came under attack and various battles were fought to reinforce the new dispensation. That is an unfortunate part of the process as small groups of elite are usually resistant to change and opt to go the route of physical resistance.
But this is only a phase that the mega change goes through.
Iran by way of example fought an imposed war with Iraq, economic sanctions and an ideological war by Wahabi extremist hate preachers, and has been successful on most fronts but still fights the ideological war.
Years of cultural boycott has caused the world to think that there is no civilization there, yet they win gold medals in the Olympic games, develop Nuclear technology, have world class symphony orchestras, have advance medical facilities, etc.
This eventually brings the new dispensation to a point of maturity from which exciting things start to happen – and that is that the process starts to be replicated tenfold and more.
And that is where we are in world today. The system has been successful, and now the replication process is spreading like wild fire. The process to return Muslim dignity to Muslims. The process of ridding the world of dictatorships. The process of creating a post Nation State era. The process of planning for a post Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
And at this very moment, Saudi Arabia has practically lost the war in Yemen. And this is its immediate neighbour that was considered second class citizens.
The replication of the success of the Islamic Revolution sees the potential for a new dispensation in Saudi Arabia very soon.
Are we as a Muslim Ummah in a position to manage such a mega change??
Bashier Rahim – 24 April 2015