A Neutral Muslim Perspective by Imraahn Mukaddam
(Imraahn is a Community Activist, Producer of Islam Actually on Cape Town TV and the Director of Community Dialogues Solutions, an NPO based in Elsies River, Cape Town)
Some of us view each other as Kaafir (unbelievers) whilst others abstain from passing judgment; there are many of us who actively preach sectarianism, hatred and division and eventually violence. It is this phenomenon that has resulted in the chaos that permeates throughout the Muslim world.
More Muslims are dying at the hands of Muslims than at any other point in history, 200 000 dead in Syria, millions in Iraq and Afghanistan, millions died in the previous Iran Iraq war, Refugees are left to drown and starve across the globe, In the past 40 years more Muslim on Muslim violence has occurred than in the preceding 500 years, our concept of Ummah has been shattered by sectarianism and Muslims are dying by the thousands, drowning suffocating and being treated like sheep in refugee camps seeking mercy from the very countries that participated in constructing the calamitous predicament they find ourselves in.
With all this Muslim on Muslim violence who benefits, only the enemies of Islam, the enemies of Humanity, Now as if we don’t have enough dissension within our own communities we find it necessary to import Hate speech from abroad to preach more animosity because we cannot allow our shores to escape the madness that prevails throughout the Muslim world. Will this madness only stop when we have to pick up the obliterated body parts of our loved once blown to smithereens by ones who make Shahada just like we do, make Salaah just like we do, give Zakah, just like we, fast in Ramadaan just like we do and most importantly go for Hajj just like we do.
The Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahi Alay Wa Salaam) said: “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” [Muslim]
Today the believers would much rather amputate the aching limbs and do more damage than feel the pain and suffering of the rest of the body.
We need to learn from the example of Hajj about our common Humanity, but unfortunately our Hajj has become ritualistic devoid of spirituality, humanity, and many cases any sense of Justice, we are ritual Muslims, performing meaningless rituals, Hajj should be a deeply socio political experience, Hajj is an intensive social awareness programme that prepares the Muslim for Revolutionary Social change.
The stoning of the Jamaraats is essentially an example of taking up arms against Injustice and Oppression, The Hajj is a Conference of the Believers to discuss and engage in common Universal Struggles. When you return the experience of Hajj must change your world view and how you relate to issues of justice and society, as was the experience of Malcolm X, where he returns from Hajj astutely aware of his social obligations with a new understanding of Islam and his role within his community. Hajj is personal only in as far as it reconnects you with the Almighty, but every returning Hajji has to externalize that personal experience in their immediate surrounding be that their family or their community.
Now with regards to the Saudi problem and the damage they are inflicting on all of humanity mostly Muslims we need to mobilize as an Ummah to advocate for change in this demonic hegemony. We need the Holy sites of Makka, Medina and Jerusalem to become International protectorates similar to the Vatican in Rome where the global adherents of Islam and in the case of Jerusalem, Christians and Jews as well have a say in how these historically significant and sacred sites are developed and managed.
Some of us have come to realize that the custodians of the Haramain are the biggest violators of Human Rights on the planet, and are in fact currently the single biggest threat to world peace even exceeding both Israel and America’s place on this log. Muslims can only truly be free if Makka and Madina is liberated, only then will Al Quds be liberated.
How do Yemenis make Tawaaf knowing the Imam of the Gharam actively supported the bombing and killing of their brothers, daughters, and mothers, how do the Syrians stand on Arafat when the Imam in his khutba prays for blessing of the same Mujahedeen that evolved into ISIS one year, and the very next year prays for the Americans bombing ISIS and the Mujahedeen bombing Yemen.
Similarly we have our local Imams preaching in their Jum’ah Khutba’s that musallees must support Syrian Rebels, Support the Saudi’s, the Iraqi’s, the Afghani’s but who supports the victims of all the support, and then when the Saudis change course then all we hear is that ISIS is not Muslims just like the Shias are not Muslims until things are hunky dory with the Iranians then the Shias are Muslims again.
This is our plea, not unity but co-existence, for centuries the Muslims of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and even in Saudi Arabia lived in reasonable harmony, co-existing inter-marrying, celebrating, respecting each other’s differing perspectives, similarly Jews, Christians Hindus, and all faiths were allowed to co-exist, Jerusalem was for centuries the bedrock of religious tolerance, now it is the face of conflict and division within the Abrahamic faiths, So was Baghdad and Isfahan, Beirut and Damascus, the bedrock of inter Islamic tolerance, Trade and commerce, literature and learning were the ambition of the youth, Arts and Culture not war and destruction were the prevailing preoccupation, We need to learn to embrace differences as part of our common Humanity, we need to learn from our differences, we need to respect our differences, and yes some may be hurtful to tolerate, but what is the alternative, what hollow victory is there in the humiliation of your brother whilst your real enemy stands by laughing.
After Hajj the single most significant historical event in the life of a Muslim should be the events of Karbalah, but unfortunately the tragedy of Karbala remains the biggest tragedy in Islam, with this tragic tale being repeated perpetually as we are forced to make the same choices made by Imam Hussain (a.s) choosing Truth rather than Falsehood, Justice rather than Corruption, Principle rather than Privilege and Sacrifice rather than Submission. And as we stand on the same precipice once more seemingly still fighting the same war are we allowed to ask what for?