Once again, I don’t know why I am writing this. Nor am I absolutely certain about what I mean by at least some of what I am saying.
In any case, here is the thought. And I have expressed it before.
Democracy is counting people. And thank God for the gift of Democracy. For, absolutely, positively, Democracy is a gift from God Almighty.
Democracy is a gift from God to humanity.
But humanity had to fight for millennia before it could avail itself of the blessings of Democracy.
Today, much of the world seems to enjoy the fruits of it, of Democracy I mean, except, of course much of what passes for the Muslim World. Today, Muslims have many kings and kinglets, and sundry tyrants of all hues and description, but not one Democracy worth the name.
Iran tried to jump-start it with its revolution of 1979. Muslims killed it.
Egypt now is trying to get it going after its revolution of January 2011. Muslims have pulled out all stops in wanting Egypt to fail in its pursuit of Democracy.
Islam came into this world to teach humanity the ways of Democracy. And teach the world Democracy Islam did. There are no ifs or buts about it.
And in doing so, Islam took the blessings of Democracy to a zenith of purity and perfection the rest of the world dare not even dream about.
Islam did so by adding a whole new dimension to the blind headcount that Democracy demands and yields. It pointed People’s attention to quality -- the quality of the electorate -- in addition to, not in lieu of, quantity and numbers.
Islam seemed to say, as a poet once said: “Don’t just count people, also weigh them!”
In other words, what use an electorate whose members mostly know nothing; feel nothing; care about nothing; and, practically speaking, are nothing?
Don’t get me wrong: doing the headcount is still the way to go. For, that is what Democracy is all about: counting votes.
But there is an added responsibility on the shoulders of all to do everything humanly possible to inform, educate and enlighten the People -- the electorate.
The Hadith calls such mindless multitudes and worthless crowds “Ghuthaa’ Ka-Ghuthaa-is Sayil,” meaning so much foam and froth floating helplessly on the crest of a flood.
At the same time, the Qur’an points out that a single man of true worth and value can rival an entire nation – all by himself.
Inna Ibrahima Kaana Ummatan Qwaanitaa, says the Qur’an.
Paraphrase? Here it is: “Why, Abraham, may God bless him, was surely as good as a complete nation, entire of himself.”
So, when I see Muslims caught up in debates about whether or not a quorum is present, and how many people are really too few or too many for undertaking a specific task, I feel like saying:
“People: When you have the right individuals, even one is a quorum. And where the people are not the right people, then even a mammoth crowd is a waste of time.”
From an entirely different perspective, however, when a believer, who is truly in love with God, and his creation, is alone with his Master, God Almighty, in that context, even one is a crowd.
At that time, and in that place, even you don’t want to be where you are.
Frankly, I don’t know what I am talking about. But some of the technical expressions that apply in this context may be: Khalwat and Munaajaat.
And who can claim they know what those are!
Maybe the poet Khosroe does. Maybe that is why he said what he said, nearly 850 years ago:
Nami daanam chi manzil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam;
Ba-harsoo raqsay bismil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam.
Pari paikar nigaaray sarv qadday laala rukhsaray;
Saraapaa aafatay dil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam.
Khuda khud meeray majlis bood andar laamakan Khosroe;
Muhammad sham’ay mahfil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam.
“I know not what place it was where I was last night.
All around, everyone writhed and tossed like animals with throats slit.
One, pretty as a fairy, cedar-tall, tulip-cheek,
Tormented the hearts nonstop.
God himself presided over the Party in Un-Space, Khosroe.
Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was the Light of the Party,
In the place where I was last night.”