Palestine – Why is it happening?

We are all witness to what is happening in Palestine – deplorable, despicable, shameful, horrific and completely avoidable if only some good sense could prevail on all sides. Naturally we, the common people, Muslim or not, are anguished, perplexed and confused about why among those that have power, there is so much apathy and even active complicity with the aggressors and such a lack of sympathy for the oppressed.

AllahY made laws of success and failure in this life. These are as foolproof and as incontrovertible as the laws of physics, also established by AllahY. These laws must also be learned and taken into account if you want to succeed. For example AllahY said about being influential, victorious, powerful and leading people;

وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَنَازَعُواْ فَتَفْشَلُواْ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ وَاصْبِرُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ 

Anfal 8: 46. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabireen (those with staying power).

Now keeping this basic principle in mind – that this world runs according to the laws of AllahY and if you want something you have to follow that law; dua without a strategy or a strategy while disobeying AllahY won’t work – let us see what is happening in Palestine.

To understand this we have to go back in history. Jews were persecuted all over Europe, both in Eastern (Russia) and Western Europe for centuries. The pogroms of the Tsars of Russia or the Final Solution of Hitler are all historical events – as deplorable, despicable and tragic as what is happening in Palestine today and has been happening for the past sixty years. Ironically, the only place where Jews were not persecuted was in Muslim lands, under the Ottoman Empire and earlier rulers. But it appears that memories are short and gratitude is a forgotten art. Hitler’s genocide of six million innocent people was the final straw after which Europe could no longer hide its discriminatory policies against Jews. Meanwhile Jews in Europe, though Semitic originally, became very European and a great number today have little to do with their Semitic origins and are racially speaking, European. This is important to remember in order to understand the events that unfolded after World War II and the birth of the State of Israel.

Europe accepted its culpability in the genocide of Jews at the hands of Hitler but its centuries old prejudice against Jews wouldn’t allow it to do what would have been honorable, just and logical – give them a homeland in Europe. Carve it out of Germany which was responsible for their genocide, thereby making the German people rightfully pay the price of silently supporting Hitler and his goons. Neither did the European ruling America and Russia accept their collective guilt in allowing six million innocent people to die and therefore grant a homeland to the displaced Jews in America or Russia.

Events of history always favor those who are prepared to take advantage of them. The seeds of Zionism were planted in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, long before the Holocaust. He lived in Austria-Hungary and wrote about the need for a Jews Only state – erroneously referred to as a Jewish State. Herzl founded the Zionist Organization in 1897. Israel was formed by mostly atheist Zionists whose purpose was to create a state for ethnic Jews, not to create a theocracy; a state for Jews, not a Jewish state. Zionism is a political ideology, not a theology and has nothing in common with Judaism.

There is a very interesting conversation between Arthur Balfour, UK’s Foreign Secretary, and Chaim Weizmann, the representative of the Zionist Organization, which took place in 1906.
During the first meeting between Chaim Weizmann and Balfour in 1906, Balfour asked what Weizmann’s objections were to the idea of a Jewish homeland in Uganda, (the Uganda Protectorate in East Africa in the British Uganda Programme), rather than in Palestine. 

According to Weizmann’s memoir, the conversation went as follows:
“Mr. Balfour, supposing I was to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?” He sat up, looked at me, and answered: “But Dr. Weizmann, we have London.” “That is true,” I said, “but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh.” He … said two things which I remember vividly. The first was: “Are there many Jews who think like you?” I answered: “I believe I speak the mind of millions of Jews whom you will never see and who cannot speak for themselves.” … To this he said: “If that is so you will one day be a force.”

 
Two months after Britain’s declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire in November 1914, Zionist British cabinet member Herbert Samuel circulated a memorandum entitled The Future of Palestine to his cabinet colleagues. The memorandum stated that “I am assured that the solution of the problem of Palestine which would be much the most welcome to the leaders and supporters of the Zionist movement throughout the world would be the annexation of the country to the British Empire”.


The Jews themselves were sick of Europe and Europeans and the growing anti-Semitism and had been actively planning for an independent country for Jews in Palestine. Their worst fears came true with Hitler’s horrific holocaust which was directed not only against the Jews but also against Gypsies and other so-called non-Aryan people. But the Jews by far exceeded all other ethnicities for the number of lives lost. The holocaust is one of those events in the history of mankind which one wishes had never happened but also illustrates how those who are prepared can take advantage of the worst calamities and turn them into opportunities.

The plan to create a Zionist state in Palestine was underway much before Hitler came into power with the Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917.

“The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The text of the letter was published in the press one week later, on 9 November 1917. The “Balfour Declaration” was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire and the Mandate for Palestine.”

 


Figure 1The Balfour Declaration. Credit: Wikipedia

What came to the aid of the Zionists were the events of history and they were prepared to take every advantage. The great Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was being dismembered and parceled off to local rulers who were puppets of the real rulers – British/American/European combine. The goal of finishing off the Khilafa Othmania or Islamia had been accomplished. Mustafa Kamal Pasha was enthroned on the Ottoman Throne with the mandate of demolishing the Khilafa which he did. However, two major problems remained – what to do with the Jews and how to ensure that a new Islamic Khilafa didn’t emerge if one day all the local rulers decided to unite under one banner.

The solution was very simple for anyone who’d read history and happened to have the strings of power in hand at the time. Create a ‘so-called historical Jewish homeland in Palestine’ which was the traditional land of the Abrahamic Faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Palestine was never Jewish alone after Titus finished with it and was always the common property of the three religions who claimed common lineage from Abraham (Ibrahimu). But at this point in history, Islam was on the back foot – the Ottoman Empire was dead and the local chiefs who had recently been given their own kingdoms were like kids in a toyshop – beyond care for anything other than the latest toy their money could buy. The Christian powers were the brokers and the Jews were more than ready to do the deal. And so the term Judeo-Christian came into being and Israel was born.

This served both the objectives – getting the Jews out of Europe and putting a Europe friendly power in the middle of the chicken coop of Arab countries which could be used in the future to keep any aspiring leaders in check and ensure that no puppet could break his string. That is why all the military aid, atomic weapons and a carte blanche to Israel – after all you don’t become tough on your own tool.

As for Palestinians, they were conveniently as weak then as they are now. They belonged to nobody and were fair game; open season was declared on them and this has not closed since then. As the saying goes, ‘As long as lions have historians, history will always glorify the hunt.’ Weakness has never been fashionable and as Hitler said, ‘Victors write their own history.’ The poet Iqbal put it very aptly when he said:

Taqdeer ke Qazi ka ye fatwa hai azal se
Hai jurm-e-zaeefi ki saza marg-e-mafaajaat

 
From the first day of creation the ruling of the Judge of destiny has always been
The punishment for the crime of weakness is sudden death


Now let us apply the laws of AllahY to this situation. As is mentioned in the Ayah above AllahY laid down two rules – adherence to the Kitaab wal Sunnah and Unified Strategy. Each is not sufficient by itself. They have to both exist simultaneously and work dynamically for the result to happen. The plane needs wings and an engine. Neither by itself is sufficient. The man making Dhikr and dua still needs to pull the rip cord of the parachute if he doesn’t want to die. The rule is the combination of its elements. Not either element by itself. The equation works when both sides interact. With only one side it is not an equation. To recollect what AllahY said:

وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَنَازَعُواْ فَتَفْشَلُواْ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ وَاصْبِرُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ 

Anfal 8: 46. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabireen (those with staying power).

The first part of the equation deals with the importance of personal piety and I have dealt with that in another article – without it there is no connection with AllahY and therefore no success.

Talking about the second part of the equation – Unified Strategy – there is probably no better example of what lack of unity can do than in the 13th century (1200-1260) when Genghiz Khan (in 1220) annihilated the Khwarazm Sultanate with its iconic cities of Samarkhand, Bukhara among many others which were iconic names in Islamic civilization and history. Entire populations were slaughtered, libraries burned, masaajid demolished, fields turned into grazing land for Mongol horses and cities razed to the ground. Khalifa An Nasir of Baghdad, the rival of Sultan Alauddin of Khwarazm, watched in delight as all this happened, not knowing of course what was to happen to his family and people in Baghdad.
In 1258 Hulegu Khan besieged Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Khilafa and upon its capture, executed Khalifa Al Musta’asim and burned the city to the ground. When Hulegu saw Musta’asim’s treasures he was so enraged that Musta’asim hadn’t used them to raise an army to defend his kingdom that he locked him up with the treasure and said, ‘Eat it as you are so fond of it.’ Musta’asim died there. The famous libraries of Baghdad and House of Wisdom were burned to the ground and the population decimated. This is considered the end of the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization.

But leaving all this history aside, if one were to ask, ‘What did we Muslims learn about the dangers of internal conflict and how is this learning reflected in our lives,’ we would be hard put to find an answer. It is almost as if we learnt nothing because if there is one thing that characterizes us as people, it is our internal conflicts, our intolerance for difference of opinion, our unwillingness to accept diversity and our impatience and anger with anyone who doesn’t agree with us. Our societies are rife with one group of Muslims calling another apostate (Kafir and Murtad) and on that pretext attacking and seeking to destroy them.

There is no unity even among the Palestinians themselves – the Fatah and Hamas conflict being clear all along. Israel has utilized this conflict to its own advantage for decades but Fatah and Hamas are unable to see through this. Palestinian politics is rife with corrupt leaders ever ready to sell their own people down the drain for their own interests. Their internal conflicts enable Israeli intelligence to know everything that happens there. The list of what is wrong in Palestine itself is long. But nothing different or particularly worse than the list for the rest of the Ummah. We can point a finger at Palestinians but three relentlessly point back at us.

As for the lack of unity among Muslim rulers – the only thing that they can agree on is that they can’t agree on anything. And by the look of it – not even a single statement against what is happening in Palestine/Gaza just now – it doesn’t seem that we are going to see any unity in a hurry. Muslim rulers are terrified of democracy in any form or shape and they will do anything in their power to stop anything that remotely looks like a democracy arising anywhere near them. Their sponsors and supporters, thanks to whom they retain their thrones, love to talk about democracy and posture as its protectors and promoters – but in reality democracy is the last thing they want in their client regimes. They would rather install or support dictators and deal with one man, no matter how corrupt or oppressive, than dealing with a democratically elected government of the people. Nothing is more clearly evidence of this than the reinstallation of dictatorship in Egypt.

Meanwhile Israel, the genesis of which was hatred and fear and which survives on this ideology and this image is what sustains it and ensures that it gets both an unlimited expense account and a James Bond License to Kill – will continue to do what it always did – keep that image of being the bastion of protection for the West alive. Israel has sold to the West the key message – WiiFM – What’s in it for Me? As somebody said, ‘Israel says that it is our only friend in the Middle East. But before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East.’ Western leaders are not willing to look at this fact at all. The West considers Israel essential for its own safety. Israel will never do anything to debug this myth. It is not in the interest of Israel to do so. Its entire communication and propaganda machine is geared to ensuring that the Free Press is free to report only what is beneficial to keeping this myth alive and that all real information that may threaten to lift the curtain is instantly suppressed and killed. One can hardly blame Israel for not wanting to kill the goose that lays golden eggs.

No matter how much one may wish for the natural cooperation that should be the logical outcome of population, skill and technology demographics of Israel-Palestine – where Jewish technology and Palestinian work could make the desert flower – the desert flowers on usurped land, stolen water and the blood of innocents. All because if Palestinians and Israelis cooperated, Western (American) Military aid would lose its meaning and the carte blanche in global morality would cease to exist. That would be a very expensive bargain, especially given the history of sixty years of brutal oppression that Israel has written into its story.

Also at stake is the largest fresh water aquifer on which Gaza and a lot of inconvenient Palestinians are sitting. That water is wealth beyond belief for water starved Israel and the lives of a few Palestinians which may be the cost that Israel has to pay is very easy to do. Killing is always easier than dying. Another carrot is the gas reserves on the Palestinian coast which have recently come to light which Israel has no intention of allowing Palestinians to benefit from.

To come to the aid of Israel is sixty years of planning, investment, intelligent use of natural and human resources to ensure that no decision is ever taken in any forum which can be remotely inimical to Israel’s interests. Israelis may have internal conflicts among themselves and Israeli politics is as dog eat dog as any other, but they are a unified force when it comes to Israel’s collective interests. I wish one could say that about Muslims – that they also unite when it comes to the interests of Islam. But we know the sad truth.

Hamas’s strategy of armed resistance is obviously not working and is instead being used as an excuse for Israel’s expansion plans, legitimizing (at least in the minds of their sponsors) genocide of civilian populations and massive destruction of humanity. Hamas’s ineffective toy rockets are answered by highly effective F16 and Apache helicopter bombing with catastrophic results. Why Hamas doesn’t rethink its strategy is something that I have no answer for. But obviously they need to do that urgently.

The comparison made with the armed struggle of South African people against its own apartheid regime doesn’t really fit because apartheid on the basis of color and race has lost all credibility and support and though it still remains in the hearts of many, it is simply untenable in public. No political leader can call for it and expect to remain in power. However, the same is not the case with religious and ethnic (Semitic only) prejudice. It is possible for Israeli leaders to call for ‘Death to all Arabs’, ‘Kill Muslim children’, ‘create concentration camps in Gaza’ and such things and still survive and thrive. The world doesn’t find this as reprehensible as it found white supremacy ideology of the South African apartheid regime. So whereas it sanctioned South Africa until the apartheid regime came to its knees, it doesn’t lift a finger against Israel, who despite being the killer plays victim very successfully.

Secondly, what is different in this freedom struggle from that of South Africa is the attitude of neighboring countries. In the case of South Africa, neighboring countries opened their borders to freedom fighters to cross over into safe territory, permitted them to have training camps for their fighters, allowed equipment and supplies to come through their countries – all to support a cause they considered just. They also used all their diplomatic power to lobby for the freedom of Black people from the apartheid regime in all international fora. Countries in Europe, UK being at the forefront, stood firmly behind the freedom struggle and the leaders of the struggle operated from UK for years.

However in the case of the Palestinian struggle, their neighboring countries are doing the opposite. They are, if anything, more hostile to them than Israel. They have sealed their borders and are not even allowing medicines to go through. Their military personnel are infiltrating into Palestine to gather intelligence on behalf of Israel in order to destroy Hamas. The fact that Hamas is the duly elected government of Palestine means nothing to them or to their masters, who harp about democracy from the rooftops but strongly support dictatorships – all without batting an eyelid. As mentioned earlier, this is the same logic that prevailed in Egypt where the duly elected government was declared ‘terrorist’ and a dictator was installed and called the ‘elected President’. The Arab Spring – sprang into the lap of dictatorship once again. Palestinian freedom fighters therefore are completely alone without a single friend in any government, with the exception of the Government of South Africa and now several Latin American countries which still support the anti-apartheid freedom struggle.

Another question that is often asked is why Gandhian non-violent civil disobedience didn’t work in the South African freedom struggle even though Gandhiji started propagating it in South Africa. Gandhiji’s philosophy was eventually tried and tested in India and it worked very well in getting rid of British Colonial Rule. But in South Africa it was tried and failed and so was abandoned and armed resistance was adopted and eventually succeeded in gaining freedom for the black people from white apartheid rule. I asked one of my friends, a famous senior freedom fighter in the South African freedom struggle who spent over two decades in prison, this question. His answer, ‘The Apartheid Regime didn’t play by the rules like the British in India did.’ And that is precisely the reason why a non-violent movement will probably not work in Palestine either – the Zionists don’t play by the rules. Rachel Corrie was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver while she was attempting to protest peacefully against the illegal demolition of a Palestinian home.

The bigger tragedy is that nobody, including her own government, supported her non-violent action, nor did they criticize or punish the bulldozer driver who murdered her. The message to the Palestinian people was clear – non-violence doesn’t work.

The final, unusual feature in this whole game is the situation of massive civilian support for Palestine and against Israeli aggression. What is amazing however is the extent of civilian support for Palestine yet its apparent ineffectiveness in changing the situation on the ground. Social Media has played a vital role in exposing the truth to the general public so that despite state control of so-called mainstream media and Israeli influence on major media channels like CNN, Fox, BBC and others which enables them to use these channels as their propaganda machine, common people are able to get real information directly from the frontline from people who are directly affected.

Another tactic which seems to be working very well and the success of which must be attributed to Social Media – especially Twitter and Facebook – is the movement to boycott products made in Israel and Occupied Palestine. YouTube brought images to the public that mainstream television was trying to hide. Boycotting products gave the public a way to take action that is legal and in their power to do. Social Media made it possible to connect across international boundaries. We hope that all this will bring about change on the ground before it is too late.

Problem definitions are always easy for someone who has the benefit of perspective, a function of distance. The solution is also very simple to envisage in this case All people of conscience must learn to unite on justice; understand that injustice to one is injustice to all. For Muslims, follow the Book of AllahY and the Sunnah of His Messengerr and show the rest of the world how Arabs and Palestinians are not only not a threat but a big asset to the world. How to make it happen? Implementation is always the key. And only action can get results.

Notwithstanding all of the above, it is entirely possible that we may all be in for a huge surprise – and I for one am praying for it – where the huge involvement of civil society in upholding human rights and speaking out against murder and genocide may bear fruit and give justice to the Palestinians.

The reality is that when the bombs stop falling the Palestinians will have the freedom to live in their land, minus their homes, without electricity, water, schools, hospitals and all the conveniences and security that we take for granted in even the poorer countries. And Israel will still have the wall, the check points, the right and power to humiliate, violate, imprison and kill Palestinians without question. So really what kind of life is that? And of course I am not even talking about dealing with the psychological trauma of bereavement and desolation in their lives for no fault other than being in the wrong place – so to speak.

It is essential for the world to remember that the challenge for all people of conscience is not merely to stop the bombing but to ensure that this never happens again. The only way to achieve that is to ensure that justice is done, murder is punished and its perpetrators are brought to book. Its supporters must be taught a lesson that they won’t forget in a hurry. Only then will a soldier think twice before pulling the trigger, when he has a child’s face in the cross hairs of his telescopic sight.

Only then will we once again dare to call ourselves human.

—–
References:
“Balfour Declaration.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 25 July 2014. Web. 3 August 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration>

Chossudovsky, Michel. “War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields.” Global Research. Global Research, 08 Jan. 2009. Web. 05 Aug. 2014.

Fadhel, Mohammad. “Israel Wants Palestine’s Water and Gas.” Newsletter. Gulfnews.com, 27 July 2014. Web. 05 Aug. 2014.
Parry, Nigel. “Photostory: Israeli Bulldozer Driver Murders American Peace Activist.” The Electronic Intifada. The Electronic Intifada, 16 Mar. 2003. Web. 06 Aug. 2014.
 

Quranic formula for success

We are all witness to what is happening in Palestine – deplorable, despicable and completely avoidable if only some good sense could prevail on all sides. Naturally we, the common people, Muslim or not, are anguished, perplexed and confused about why there is so much apathy and even active complicity with the aggressors and such a lack of sympathy for the oppressed among those that have power. People are even asking, ‘Why doesn’t AllahY do something?’
When I was asked this question, I answered, ‘He did.’
‘What did He do?’
‘He made you,’ I replied.
And that in one line is the reason. The day we understand this – at an individual and collective level, all oppression will evaporate and nobody will be able to oppress anyone else. The buck indeed stops with each one of us personally. AllahYdid something – He made you. He made me.
Before I try to analyze the Palestine story – a word about AllahY’s creation of this world in which we live.
AllahYcreated this world and created systems for it to function. For example He said:


Sajda 32: 5. He arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth, then it (affair) will go up to Him, in one Day, the space whereof is a thousand years of your reckoning (our time/space dimension). 6. That is He, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful. 7. Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay. 8. Then He made his offspring from semen of worthless water (seminal fluid).
AllahYmentioned here some of the laws of functioning of creation that He created. We know these as the laws of physics, aerodynamics, gravity, displacement and so on. The key thing to remember is that if you want to float a ship you have to construct something that conforms to the law of displacement. If you do that, you will be able to float ten thousand tons of steel. Without that a paper boat will sink. Similarly if you want to fly a plane you have to construct something that conforms to the laws of aerodynamics and flight. If you do that you can fly a thousand tons of steel. If not, your paper plane won’t take off. Finally is you want to leap out of a plane at twenty thousand feet and land safely on earth, you have to take into account the law of gravity and work to counter it. Otherwise you will become its victim and have a grave experience when you meet Mother Earth traveling at 32 ft/sec/sec.
Similarly AllahYmade laws of success and failure in this life. These are as foolproof and as incontrovertible as the laws of physics and so on that I mentioned above. These laws must also be learned and taken into account if you want to succeed. For example AllahYsaid about being influential, victorious, powerful leaders;

Anfal 8: 46. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabireen (those with staying power).
So also in the case of the law of power and influence. Our history both ancient and present is replete with examples of both personally pious people and people with good strategies but disconnected with AllahY who both failed to create and sustain vibrant nations.
As you can see from this – influence, strength and power depends on two things which are inter-related and entwined – obedience to AllahY and His Messengerr and unity between ourselves. Either one is not sufficient in itself. Just as the law of flight is a combination of two things – wing design and takeoff speed. That is why the best designed aircraft will not take off until it reaches takeoff speed and a Ferrari will never fly. You need enough horsepower and correct wing design.
Rasoolullahr exemplified this in Madina where he created the Muslim Ummah – a Brotherhood of Faith. A term that is replete with meaning. It is a brotherhood. Not merely a collaboration, cooperation, agreement, alliance or even friendship; but a brotherhood – with all the implications of concern, compassion, sense of responsibility, shared honor, and giving up your entitlement for the benefit of the brother, seeing one’s own success in the success of the brother and doing whatever it takes to enable the brother to succeed. And that brotherhood is based not on racial, tribal or even family relations but on faith – on obedience to AllahY and His Messengerr. That in essence is the meaning of this Ayah in practice. And as they say, the rest is history.
Islam spread from Madina, not Makkah. It did not spread from the Ka’aba but from the birth of the Ummah. The Muslims understood this so well that when they had to date their calendar, they used the birth of the Ummah, not the birth even of Rasoolullahr as the starting point to begin counting. It was as if to say that time began when the meaning of this Ayah was fulfilled. History is witness that as long as they stuck to the principles of success that AllahY laid out in this Ayah they succeeded. When they broke the pact, they failed.
One big lesson therefore to learn from this is that AllahY does – but He does in His own way – not as we would like Him to do. Ideally we would like AllahY to descend to earth and sort out our problems for us. It is this need that gave rise to the many Avatar ideologies that exist which depict people who took charge of their lives and changed their own destinies and the destiny of their people by following the laws of AllahY, as human embodiments of god, who came to earth to take care of earthlings. God doesn’t come to earth to take care of earthlings because He taught earthlings how to take care of themselves and sent instruction manuals and teachers to teach them by demonstrating the method personally. What therefore can you say to those who despite all this, still insist on breaking the law and complain when they come to grief?
If someone jumps out of a plane at twenty thousand feet and refuses to pull his rip cord to open his parachute but spends all the time he has in Dhikr begging AllahY to save him from death – what do you think will happen to him? You may say that he died with the name of AllahY on his lips – but he will die as surely as someone who commits suicide. As a matter of fact his death would be considered suicide and not an accident. If someone asks at that time, ‘But why didn’t AllahY do something?’ You would tell them, ‘AllahY did. He taught him the rules of gravity. He gave him a parachute. Taught him how it works. Gave him the power to pull the rip cord and the freedom to do so if he wished.’ So did AllahY do something or not?’ Despite all of the above if he didn’t pull the cord and crashed, whose fault is it?
Now keeping this basic principle in mind – that this world runs according to the laws of AllahY and if you want something you have to follow that law. Dua alone or a strategy alone while disobeying AllahY, won’t work.
So to recollect what AllahY said:

وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَنَازَعُواْ فَتَفْشَلُواْ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ وَاصْبِرُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ 
Anfal 8: 46. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabireen (those with staying power).
As is mentioned in the Ayah above AllahY laid down two interacting dynamic rules – adherence to the Kitaab wal Sunnah and Unified Strategy.
Each by itself is not sufficient. They have to both exist simultaneously and work dynamically for the result to happen. The plane needs wings and an engine. Neither is sufficient by itself. The man making Dhikr and dua still needs to pull the rip cord of the parachute if he doesn’t want to die. The rule is the combination of its elements. Not either element by itself. The equation works when both sides interact. With only one side it is not an equation.
To look at an example from the Seerah which illustrates this – we have the example of the reversal of fortunes in the Battle of Uhud. Who were more pious than the Sahaba? In Uhud they had a good strategy and they were winning. But at a critical moment, some of them – disputed amongst themselves and disobeyed the instructions that Rasoolullahr gave them – and the victory turned into a rout which proved to be very expensive and tragic with the death of 70 of the best of them including Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib (RA). Remember they hadn’t become rebellious nor did they stop believing in the Messengership (Risaalat) of Rasoolullahr. They merely disputed about his instruction and its meaning and application. Some said that it was to be obeyed unquestioningly in word and spirit. Others said that it applied to a specific time and situation and was no longer applicable. And these left their appointed places on the hillock where Rasoolullahr had placed them. Khalid bin Waleed took advantage of the situation and charged with his cavalry and the Muslims were routed.
The lesson? That when they ignored one of the elements of the law, the other element couldn’t help them. When the wings fall off the plane the weight of the engine makes it fall out of the sky faster. When the engines fail, the plane will glide for a while but will surely crash in the end.
Now apply this rule – Personal Piety + Unified Strategy – to not only the Palestinian situation but to the Muslim Ummah in general. Palestine is the symptom of the major illness. It is the headache or the stomach ache, painful though it is, is only a symptom of a more serious disease that may put the life of the patient at risk. We need to put Palestine in perspective to understand what is happening and hopefully to be able to find a cure for the real ailment. Not simply a Band-Aid to cover a cut.
To diagnose what our state of personal piety is, our state of obedience to AllahY and His Messengerr , I don’t think we need to go too far. It is sufficient to look into our own lives and ask ourselves some hard questions. The same applies to our countries which talk about being Islamic but permit everything that AllahY has prohibited and prohibit what He permitted. All our pretentions about practicing Islam fool only ourselves – because the world sees our real state clearly. People listen with their eyes and so are not impressed with our protestations of piety and adherence to our religion. Without going into details which are more than clear to anyone who can read, let us suffice to say that we have to clean up our act to meet at least the first of the conditions of the law of success – become obedient to AllahY and His Messengerr. Obey AllahY, earn and eat Halaal, and follow the Sunnah. Refusing to accept reality only assures disaster. No order of AllahY and no Sunnah is too small to obey. That attitude of selective obedience is the root cause of bringing upon ourselves the anger of AllahY as He mentioned:

Baqara 2:85    Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
AllahY clearly mentioned the danger of our policy of selective obedience and showed us that selective obedience is disobedience and will attract its own consequence. That also is a natural law in our world of cause and effect.
AllahY told us that our conditions are governed by our actions and our actions are the cause of our conditions. Let us reflect on this for a bit.
ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ 
Rum 30: 41.  Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds) that Allah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (to AllahY – Tawba).
This in fact is a sign of love that AllahYhas for us that He warns us in advance so that we may correct ourselves and repent and save ourselves from more serious punishment.
It is all very well to blame this or that country or head of state for whatever is happening in that country which amounts to the disobedience of AllahY but if we reflect on our own lives, we may well be faced with the bitter prospect of admitting to all the disobedience of AllahY that exists in our lives. But as with other laws of existence, if you want to change the effect you have to address the cause. Addressing symptoms can at best give temporary relief but can never cure the real ailment. We have to admit that we are disobeying AllahY. Repent to Him and return to the way of Rasoolullahr the Sunnah so that AllahY will forgive us and change our situation and conditions. We are all authors and write our own destiny.
AllahYreiterated that we are the writers of our own destiny and said:
 إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ 
Ra’ad 13: 11   Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah).
The Sahaba understood this and used to introspect when they lost a battle or faced an adverse situation. They didn’t spend so much time on external factors but reflected on what may have been going on in their lives which could have led to the adversity that they were facing. They understood the connection of A’amaal to Ahwaal – deeds to circumstances. We understand this connection in a materialistic sense – for example the market forces in a free market economy where lending rates effect economic growth. But we don’t or refuse to understand the effect of the same lending rates in their context of being Riba on the overall wellbeing of our society. We have legitimized what we like to do by giving ourselves freedom by calling it lifestyle choice, personal freedom and so on – ignoring that all choices have consequences – some of them permanent and painful. We are free to choose but no choice is free. Every choice has a price tag.
Sometimes I am asked the very reasonable question: If this law of obeying AllahY and His Messengerr and a unified strategy is indeed a universal law then how is it that the Zionists for example – who are not obedient to AllahY or His Messengerr are so successful in their aims and goals.
To answer this question I must first explain two matters: The definition of success and the fact that the rules for insiders are not the same as those for outsiders. Insiders have to follow a stricter regime.
This is also our way in life – for example if food runs out in a party, the family go hungry but don’t allow guests to feel that anything is wrong. When you enter Islam, you are an insider and so the rules change for you – those who have access have to behave differently – more carefully as you are in the presence of the King.
Success is what AllahY defined when He said:
A’al Imraan 3: 185. Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Jannah, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing). 
Success is not what happens in the world but what happens when we meet AllahY. Anyone with discretion can see that our materialistic world and its hedonistic standards have created a society that pretends to be happy and contented but is based on a system that uses discontent to fuel growth. That is the philosophy behind all materialism, marketing and advertising – convert desire to need – where a person will do anything to buy what he doesn’t need, to show people he doesn’t like and live a life of slavery for the next twenty years to pay for what he will eventually discard or leave behind. That is why our entertainment consists of ways to make us forget the reality of our lives and transport us however temporarily into a world of fantasy and make believe – a necessary release without which we ‘burn out’. Yet we pretend that this life is a dream that we need to chase – a dream the waking up from which is called death. A dream which in reality is a nightmare – but we choose to ignore its horror and forget ourselves and continue to live our lives in a self-induced trance. However ignoring reality neither makes it go away nor does it save us from its evil – so we continue to suffer even though we have the solution and can not only alleviate our own suffering but also help others – if only we face facts and take positive action. But that takes courage which AllahYreminds us.
Islam on the other hand is deeply rooted in fact and reality which we will all face, that all actions have consequences in this life and that one day there will be a reckoning before AllahY about what we chose to do or not do and a price to pay or a reward to receive for our choices. Nobody can hide from AllahY.
The second rule is to understand that when you enter Islam, the rules change for you. That is because you now know AllahY and can connect to Him and access His power and help. You are now an insider. And so a different code of conduct is expected from you. Once again going back to the Seerah for an illustration – take the example of the Battle of Hunain – where the Sahaba were united and had material resources – but fell to relying on their material more than on AllahY and once again the battle turned into a rout. It was only when they renewed their pledge so to speak and answered the call of Rasoolullahr that AllahY turned the tide of battle back in their favor. Their unity and material didn’t help them when their Tawakkul moved from AllahY and when they changed their stance, they were victorious once again.
Take the case of the letter Sayyidina Omar ibn Al Khattabt wrote to Sayyidina Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqast when the latter was commanding the Muslim army in the Battle of Qadsia which shows the understanding of the Sahaba about cause and effect.

“…I order you and all troops that are along with you to be obedient to Allah   in all circumstances, as this is better than the weapons against the enemy and a strong stratagem in the war. I order you and the soldiers who are with you to be more cautious and afraid of your own crimes and sins than your enemy, as the crimes and sins of the soldiers are more dangerous to them than the enemy.
The Muslims are victorious only because their enemies are disobedient to Allah  and had it not been so, we have no power over them, because neither our number is equal to their number, nor are our weapons like theirs. If we commit crimes and sins as they do, then they (our enemies) will have superiority over us in power and we will not gain victory over them. WE DO NOT OVERPOWER THEM WITH OUR STRENGTH.
And you should also know that in this marching of yours, there are guards upon you from Allah  and they all know what you do. So be shy from them and do not commit Allah  ’s disobedience while you are going in Allah  ’s Cause and do not say: ‘ Our enemy is worse than us, so they will not overpower us.’ Perhaps some people who are worse than the others may overpower the others as the (disbelievers) Magians overpowered the Children of Israel when they (the latter) involved themselves with Allah  ’s disobedience. So they (disbelievers) entered the very innermost parts of their homes and it was a promise fulfilled.
And ask Allah   for assistance over your own selves, just as you ask Allah   for victory over your enemies. I ask Allah   for that, both for you and for us.”
This advice is with reference to AllahY’s mention of the incident with Bani Israeel when the Babylonian King Nebuchadnazer (in 600 BC) and then the Roman Emperor Titus (in 31 BC) sacked Jerusalem. AllahY mentioned:


Isra 17: 4. And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture, that indeed you would do mischief on the earth twice and you would become tyrants and extremely arrogant! 5. So, when the promise came for the first of the two, We sent against you slaves of Ours given to terrible warfare. They entered the very innermost parts of your homes. And it was a promise (completely) fulfilled. 6. Then We gave you once again, a return of victory over them. And We helped you with wealth and children and made you more numerous in manpower. 7. (And We said): “If you do good, you do good for your ownselves, and if you do evil (you do it) against yourselves.” Then, when the second promise came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that fell in their hands. 8. [And We said in the Taurat (Torah)]: “It may be that your Rabb may show mercy unto you, but if you return (to sins), We shall return (to Our Punishment). And We have made Jahannam a prison for the disbelievers.

Interesting thing to reflect on is that AllahY didn’t say that it was the Bani Israel who lived in Jerusalem who were disobedient. The Ayaat address the Bani Israel in general wherever they lived at the time which was not only in Jerusalem. AllahY mentioned the Bani Israel many times and gave us their example as we are closest to them and we’re the Ummah who succeeded them. So it is for us to learn from their lives and examples and avoid making the same mistakes.

All these Ayaat clearly connect the issues of personal conduct and collective conduct to the external conditions that we are faced with and to the fact that the rules for Muslims are different and that they are held to a higher moral standard than those who are not Muslim yet. That is why Muslims are punished more quickly and apparently for lesser crimes than those who are not Muslim yet. This is actually a mercy from AllahY because the punishment of AllahY in the Aakhira is much worse than whatever worldly trials we may face. AllahY told us that this slap on the wrist is what He gives so that we can return to His obedience.


Sajda 32: 21. And verily, We will make them taste of the near torment (i.e. the torment in the life of this world, i.e. disasters, calamities) prior to the supreme torment (in the Hereafter), in order that they may (repent and) return (to AllahY).

And about those who continue in disobedience despite all warnings, He said:

فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى إِذَا فَرِحُواْ بِمَا أُوتُواْ أَخَذْنَاهُم بَغْتَةً فَإِذَا هُم مُّبْلِسُونَ
Al An’aam 6:44    Then, when they had forgotten all that they had been told to take to heart, We threw open to them the gates of all [good] things  until – even as they were rejoicing in what they had been granted – We suddenly took them to task: and lo! They were broken in spirit.

We see (understand) with our knowledge. Islam gives us the lens to view the world and understand its reality in the light of the knowledge that it’s Creator gave us. That is why a Muslim must strive to be a diagnostician – not merely a spectator. A Muslim must diagnose the problem, derive a cure and apply it. Only then will conditions change. I ask AllahY for His Mercy for Palestine and for us all because we are all responsible for Palestine. Palestine is the meter of the health of this Ummah. Need I say more?

What is your legacy?

A leader is remembered not by what he or she possessed or consumed, not by how much power they had or whether they were charming or beautiful, but by the legacy they leave behind. This is what I want to talk to you about; leaving a legacy.

I want to start by saying two things to you which I want you to remember.
The first one is:
1.       “It is in the nature of extraordinary goals to inspire extraordinary effort.”
The second one is:
2.       “It is in the nature of the ‘dream’ to be impractical.”
A practical dream is an oxymoron.
I want you to remember these two things because I am going to tell you three stories about three people who believed in extraordinary goals and had impractical dreams. To tell stories is a good way to learn, no? Okay here goes.
The first story is about a man who bought a train ticket for the First Class and got into the compartment. But as he was sitting there, a strange thing happened. The Guard came and threw him out of the compartment. Actually, physically threw him out onto the platform. As the man picked himself up from the ground, a dream was born; the dream to set his people free from slavery.
But remember, the dream to set his nation free was born when the man could not even guarantee his own freedom. A very impractical dream. A very extraordinary goal.
The second story is about another man who sat in a prison for 27 years. I have seen that prison. It is a prison on a rock in the middle of the ocean. A rock that is surrounded by the sea which has some of the largest sharks in the world. That nation has the most sophisticated shark repellent technology in the world. You know why? Because they have the biggest sharks. This man sat in that prison without any hope of ever escaping. A lot of the time in solitary confinement. And in that situation he had a dream. The dream was to set his people free from the apartheid which enslaved them in their own land. Once again, a very impractical dream. A very extraordinary goal.
The third story is about another man. This man, when he was young, had a sporting accident in which he lost the use of both his legs and his eyesight was also affected. He was, since then confined to a wheelchair. Then what did he do? He went to get an education in one of the most venerable universities in the world. After he became a scholar, he went back to his people, where he became a refugee in his own land because the invaders and occupiers of his land destroyed his home along with the homes of thousands of others. All his life there, he worked to help his people in their misery to bring some measure of relief to them through medical aid, social help, food, emotional support and by teaching them to fight for their rights.
For this service, he was imprisoned for many years by the invaders and spent time in some of the most horrific prisons in the world. And all the while he had a dream; to set his people free and to have their land returned to them.
Then finally, at the age of 67, on March 22, 2004 while he was returning home from the morning prayers in the masjid, he was murdered by the invaders and joined the honorable list of martyrs.
As we stand here today, there does not seem to be any chance of his dream ever coming true. But he dreamt and others share that dream. The man died but the dream lives because dreamers die but dreams live on as long as there is someone to dream that dream. Once again an impractical dream. An extraordinary goal which inspires extraordinary effort.
The first question I want to ask you after telling you these true stores is:
What is your dream?  
In order to make dreams come true we need perspective.
Perspective is the ability to hold two pictures in your mind: Where you are now and where you want to be. The positive tension between these two pictures will drive you to reach where you need to be.
Without perspective we are either stuck in the current reality and get frustrated or we have our heads in the clouds and no idea of how to realize what we want to achieve.
We all start in the same place….as children. What does that mean? It means that at least initially, our condition depends on others who take care of us. So we get conditioned to look to them to ‘make us’ happy. And when that does not happen, we blame them.
This leads to the mental model: “Someone else is responsible for my welfare. My role is to feel good or bad about what the other person does. If I am happy, I laugh. If not, I sulk.”
Strangely, many people get stuck in this mental model even when they grow up physically and are in charge of their own affairs and have the power to do things for themselves. Because to grow up, means to take responsibility. To take ownership for all that you say and do and its effect on others and on the world. Not merely to accept accountability but to actively seek it. To stand up and say, “Here I am. You can count on me.” And if things go wrong, as sometimes they will, to say, “I am responsible for what has happened. Here is what I learnt from this. And this is how we will ensure this never happens again.” Most people fear this intensely.
So they are all ready to talk about freedom, but will not actually work to become free.
There is great safety and solace in slavery, in never growing up. In being a ‘child’ all your life. And you can see so many 50 and 60 year old children. There is much to fear in freedom. Emotional Maturity is therefore not a factor of age of the body but the maturity of the mind.
This voluntary slavery of the mind is not only found in individuals but in organizations, societies and countries. Often among those that are very rich and powerful but choose to be helpless and blame others for what happens to them. They refuse to see that their happiness lies in their own hands. That they can be free of this mental bondage, if they choose.
So my next question to you is:
Do you really want to be free?
What is the key word in that question? Yes, that’s right. It is ‘really’ Do you REALLY want to be free?
Freedom, if you really want it, comes with some choices that you have to make: And these are:
  1. To care more than others think is wise
  2. To risk more than others think is safe
  3. To dream more than others think is practical
  4. To expect more (from yourself) than others think is possible
My dear brothers and sisters, we all start in the same place in another way. We all start as idealists. I have yet to see a child who was not an idealist. We all want to make a difference to the world we live in, to do great things and to be remembered. But how many people actually achieve that? And why not?
Let’s see what happens and why.
We all start as Idealists. Then life happens. Things happen where people let us down. Often the very people we counted on to support us. People deceive and lie and cheat and sacrifice long term benefits for short term gains. They are corrupt and this and that and the other. So as all these things happen, we get onto the slide and start sliding downwards.
From being Idealists, we become Optimists (because idealism is tough to put down, especially when you are young and energetic) and then we become Realists, then Pessimists. Along the way we acquire ‘advisors’; people with lots of ‘education’; who take us aside to ‘talk some sense’ into us. They tell us, “Look, don’t be a fool. Get real. This is the real world. Be practical. Be realistic. Ideals are okay to talk about. They don’t work and will get you into trouble. Forget all this. Look around you. How many people do you see actually working for ‘ideals’?”
We say, “But look at what Yawar is saying!! What about that?”
Our advisor will say, “Let him talk. What does it matter? That is his job. He is a teacher and trainer. Let him talk. You eat the nice snacks, meet your friends, have a nice time and go home. Forget him. Forget what he says.”

And slowly – if we choose and only if we choose – we also become like our ‘advisors’. We become Cynics.
From Idealist to Optimist to Realist to Pessimist to Cynic; on the slide.
Cynics are very popular at parties as they are witty and make cynical remarks and make people laugh. But cynicism is a cancer. It eats the soul from inside. And unlike cancer, it is contagious and spreads.
And in the end, at the bottom of the pile, we become Indifferent. We stop caring what happens. That is the real bottom of the pit.
But remember one thing – all this will happen only if you choose to allow it to happen. It is your choice and you are completely in control of it.
You know why people get angry and fight you when you say idealistic things? Because you remind them of what they were one day. The flame of idealism is possible to dampen. But it is impossible to kill. It will remain alive as long as we live. It dies when we die.
That is the reason people oppose idealists at first. Because when people who have allowed themselves to become cynical and indifferent meet you as an idealist, you remind them of what they were like, long ago. In your eyes they  see a glimpse of their own history and that frightens them. They hate what they chose to do to themselves. They hate the picture of themselves that they see in your eyes. All this while you are not aware of what is going on and you think they are opposing you. But they are not. They are fighting with themselves. They believe that if they can make you shut up, then somehow all will be well. Because they are one of the many who believe this fallacy, that if one can make someone who speaks the truth to shut up; then one can remain comfortable in one’s falsehood. They refuse to face the reality that the truth is the truth even if no one speaks it.
The thing to do therefore, if you want to light the lamps of other’s idealism, is to ensure that your own lamp never goes dim. The way to do that is never to lower your ideals in the name of expedience, or diplomacy or Hikma. By all means use your wisdom and skill in putting across your ideals in as convincing and acceptable a way as you can, but never lower the standard. For the standard is our only protection against the slide into mediocrity and oblivion.
Remember that no person or nation lives forever. But their thoughts, their goals, their ideals and what they stood for endures long after they have become dust. That is what we stand for; ideals that have stood the test of time and which we carry forward to generations who will come, long after we have gone.
In 1997, a man used to stand outside the White House holding a lighted candle in his hand, a silent protestor against the US sanctions against Iraq. He would turn up there every evening and would stand there for a few hours well into the night.
One evening, it was wet, windy and very cold. As usual the man came, wearing a coat with the collar turned up against the bitter cold, and an umbrella to shelter the tiny flame of his candle from the blustery wind.
As he stood there, the guard at the gate, who used to see him every day and occasionally waved to him in friendly camaraderie, came out to him and said, “Man! I know you are committed to this cause. But look at this night! It is so cold and horrible; you are one man, standing here alone, do you think you can change them?”
The man looked at the guard and smiled. “I don’t do this to change them,” he said, “I do this so that they will not change me.”
Much has happened since 1997 and history has been written in words of shame by the blood of innocents. However there is one man somewhere who still believes in justice and mercy and that truth will eventually prevail over falsehood. That is his legacy. The legacy of a man whose name we don’t know. But his story inspires others. We need such people more than we need those who have the power and use it only for oppression.
I say to you that I am a shameless idealist. I have always been and would like to remain this way until the end of my days. And if I ever start to slip, as can happen to the strongest of us, then I want you to remind me of what I am saying to you today.
So the next question I want to ask you is:
What are your ideals?
Finally I want to close my speech by telling you another true story. This one is about a little boy and the famous writer Loren Eisely. Loren writes that he was on holiday by the sea side when one night there was a big storm. Very early next morning as he was walking on the beach he saw that among the debris of the storm were literally hundreds of starfish which had been thrown up on the sand the previous night. As he walked along, Loren saw someone in the distance doing what looked to him, like a dance. The person was bending down and standing up and moving along as he did this. As Loren neared him, he saw that it was a little boy who was picking up starfish from the beach and was throwing them back into the sea.
Loren was like me. A man of the world with a lot of education and life experience.
He went up to the boy and asked, “What are you doing?”
The boy said, “I’m throwing these starfish back into the sea so that they don’t die. They can’t move on the sand and if the sun comes out, they will dry out and die. So I am throwing them back so that they will live.”
Loren says, he laughed at this statement. He then proceeded to put things in ‘perspective’ for the boy. Remember, I told you the importance of having perspective? But there’s perspective and there’s perspective.
So Loren said to him, “Look, do you realize that on this beach alone there are literally thousands of starfish? And then of course there are hundreds of beaches in the world, on which are thrown up millions of starfish in every storm. You are one kid, throwing one starfish into the sea! For God’s sake, what difference does it make?”
The boy looked at Loren; he looked at the starfish in his hand, he turned and threw it far into the waves and said to Loren, “It made a difference to that one!”
Loren writes, “I walked away and kept walking for a long time. Then I returned to the boy who was still there, picking up and throwing the starfish into the sea. I silently picked up a starfish and threw it into the sea. And we did this together for a long time.”
My final question to you is:

What difference do you want to make?

The tragic and the heroic

The icons of heroism are always the weak who have the courage to stand up against the oppression of the powerful. There’s nobody who exemplifies that more than the Palestinian Muslim child with a rock facing a Zionist battle tank.

The nightmare of the Zionist soldier is the Palestinian child with a rock his hand. That’s why he hides behind armour and heavy weapons. While the child laughs in his face as he smells his fear and looks at him straight in the eye and throws his rock. He takes the Zionist bullet in his chest laughing in the face of cowardice. Not in his back running in fear. That’s heroic. Not tragic.

What’s tragic is the image of the rulers of countries which call themselves Muslim, cowering in terror behind the walls of their gilded cages, awaiting their turn. For as surely as the sun rises every day, their turn will also come.

Where are the Ayatollahs of Iran, the servants of the Haramain, the successor to the Throne of Pharoah, the builders of towers and malls, the sponsors of football? Where is the new self-declared Khalifa of the Muslims?

The death of a hero is a time for celebration for he underlines the indomitable human spirit which can’t be forced to bow before the tyrant. The hero dies so that humanity can live. The hero dies once, gloriously, happily, fulfilled  knowing that what he died for was worth every breath in his body. He leaves behind a legacy of courage and hope for all those who come after him, proving to them that it doesn’t matter if you live or die. What matters is how you live and how you die.

The coward however dies every day, breathing the stink of his own terror as he tries to hide behind every excuse that he can concoct. Excuses that don’t even convince him, let alone anyone else. His own heart mocks him and calls him a liar. And when he eventually leaves this world, as we all must, he leaves like all garbage. Noticed only because the air, freed from his stench, smells sweeter.

In the words Sultan Tipu Shaheed of Mysore, India; another great hero who died fighting British oppression, refusing to accept a gilded cage in exchange for his freedom ; “One day in the life of a tiger is better than a hundred years in the life of a jackal.”

There will always be tigers and there will always be jackals. We need to choose who we want to stand with.

We thank Allah that He chose the Muslims to be those heroes who will be remembered with honor because they stood up to tyranny. The light of their memory will illuminate the dark pathway of the struggle for freedom for generations unborn.

Allah honored us and we thank Him. And we ask Him to include all those who are with these heroes in spirit by their dua, when He counts them on the Day of Judgment.

We ask Allah to free the world from tyranny and from the burden of carrying tyrants on it’s back; a burden that it groans under and begs to be relieved from.

Let’s differentiate between the tragic and the heroic and not give in to sadness and despair. This is the time to rejoice that the heroes in Palestine have not allowed the flame of justice to be extinguished. It’s time to raise our voices in support of the heroic struggle of the people of Palestine and against the invaders and oppressors who’ve occupied their land and violated their homes.

And it’s time to raise our voices in dua, asking the One who knows to help them in their struggle and count us among those who stood for justice in whatever way we could.

If tomorrow starts without me…

If tomorrow starts without me, then remember that great goals need great commitment. The SBA is a great goal. Ask yourself, ‘Do I have the commitment to make it happen?’

I know this sounds unkind but I ask you to bear with me and think dispassionately.

The question in my mind with respect to the SBA is, ‘How do you show the colors of the rainbow to the one born blind?’

 The reason I ask this question is because by definition we can only see (meaning understand) that which is in our experience. This ‘experience’ need not be personal alone. It can be the sum total of recent history, our reading, legends, and personal history. But by definition it is something that must already have existed in the recent enough past for traces of it to be ‘visible’. That is the reason, when Rome conquered Carthage they dismantled the city and sowed the soil with salt so that even the memory of Carthage would be wiped out. Once again by definition, you can’t re-create that which you don’t even remember.

That in a nutshell is where we are today as the Ummah of Rasoolullah (SAS). Not only have we lost the plot, we have even lost its memory. We have even forgotten what the plot looked like.

I didn’t create this situation that we Muslims find ourselves in. Neither did you. We both inherited it. But it is our choice whether we want to pass it on unchanged to our children or take a shot at changing it so that they’ll have a better legacy than we did.
So first let’s decide that. Or to put it more accurately, I’ll let you decide that. I have no children to pass it onto. الحمدلله.

Then let’s analyze our situation dispassionately and clearly. Below is my analysis.

1.      The mess we’re in is the result of our leadership. Not despite it.

2.      If our situation were the opposite of what it is, our leaders would have claimed the credit for it. And rightly so. So by the same logic, who must own responsibility for the mess?

3.      But do you see that? What does that or should that tell you about our leaders?

4.      In that case what would you say about anyone who talks about looking to the same leadership to change our situation?

5.      Our leaders are either blind or corrupt or simply ineffective. They have no vision; strategy or road map. That’s entirely understandable because how can someone who has no goal, have a road map?

6.      Our organizations; religious, political, educational or economic, have at best, partial solutions. They’ve confused activity for result. They have mindless followers like sheep and strongly discourage critical analysis.

7.      Even new initiatives are all at best aiming at partial solutions which can’t change the future of this Ummah in a million years. That’s the reality no matter who dislikes hearing it.

8.      The Ummah didn’t get where it is because we don’t have enough low quality engineers, journalists or MBA graduates. It got like this because we have low quality leadership. But that issue is not addressed at all. We are busy creating more and more of the same without a thought to even measuring the result of our own previous efforts to see what results they yielded.

9.      But that is again understandable because to get the right answers we need to ask the right questions. Since nobody even thought of asking, ‘Why are we doing this work? What do we want as a result of it? What issue of the Ummah are we trying to solve?’ – any result looks good enough.
10.  But ask, ‘Will this change the future of the Ummah? Will this give us the leadership which can lead us out of the morass that we are in? – and you will see the futility of current efforts in a second. But that of course only if your eyes are open and you want to see.

11.  Therefore if we want a solution we have to think afresh. Old ideologies are bankrupt. Our leadership is brain dead. In the words of Einstein, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”

12.  That’s where SBA comes in. We’ve spent 12 years perfecting our stand and strategy. It’s not half baked or just passionate. Our passion is rooted in clear thinking, robust analysis and hard-nosed numbers.

13.  We took so long to begin fund raising not because we’re lazy or stupid but because we wanted to be clear on our goal and strategy and not fall into the partial solution trap. Alhamdulillah now we’re ready to move.

14.  Strangely the most often asked question that I have encountered – long before any questions about our vision, ideology, methodology and capability to deliver results, is, ‘Do you have the land?’ I told someone who asked me this question just yesterday, ‘The only thing for which land is a requirement is the grave.’

15.  Alhamdulillah the SBA is a unique concept the like of which not only doesn’t exist anywhere but which has not even been proposed in the past century. If you need convincing find me a project report like ours.

The key question to ask yourself is, ‘Does this vision excite me to the extent that I am willing to put all that I have in pursuit of it even when I don’t see the results in my own lifetime?’

My brothers and sisters,
There was a time when one day on a very hot, blistering afternoon, a man went from tent to tent in the expanse of Mina and saying to the people, ‘Say there is nobody worthy of worship except Allah and be successful.’  All of them turned him away. Tired, he stopped to catch his breath in the scanty shade of a rock near his own tent.

His daughter came out of the tent and wiped his face with a damp cloth and said, ‘O! My father, what are they doing to you?’ He looked at her with total confidence and said, ‘My daughter, don’t grieve. A day will come when this message will reach every human dwelling, temporary or permanent.’

I ask you my brothers and sisters, if you were to look for a more unrealistic dream; I bet you can’t find one. But then arose a group of men and women who not only believed in this impossible dream but they invested everything they owned; all their money, talent, energy, time and lives to make this dream come true. Many died without seeing the result. Did you stop to ask what Khadeejatul Kubra (RA) saw? Or what Mus’ab bin Umair (RA) saw?
Or what Saad bin Mua’ad (RA) saw? Or what the parents of Ammar (RA), Yasir (RA) and his wife Sumaiyya (RA) saw?

They all invested everything they had and died long before there were any results to see. All that Khadeeja (RA) saw was defeat after defeat. But that didn’t shake her faith by one iota. It was this faith which turned the tide.

And those who lived, saw the doors of the super powers of the time, Rome and Persia, open to the message of Muhammad ibn Abdillah (SAS). Those who lived, witnessed not individuals and groups, not villages and towns but entire countries enter Islam.

Those who lived were witness to the truth of the Word of their Rabb when He said:

إِذَا جَاء نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ
وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا
فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا

But that happened by the Will of Allah only because there were those who believed in the message, unseen and worked with complete dedication to make it come true –

EVEN WHEN THERE WERE NO SIGNS THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN.

Just wanted to clarify the issues because you’ll face such questions. We’ve been fielding them for the past many years and it is only natural to lose patience but I guess we have to remind ourselves that we’re trying to explain the color of the rainbow to those who’re blind. So it’s not easy.

May Allah help us all.