Who Is Minding the West?
I put the question that was on my mind squarely to a high government official from the Netherlands.
"What arrangements does the Dutch government have in place," I asked him, "for providing orientation, not just to the immigrants, but also to the native Dutch people about the immigration situation and about all these foreigners in their midst?"
For a while he said nothing. Then he leaned forward, looked me in the eye, smiled and said: "None. No arrangements at all. I don't think we have given that matter serious thought."
Fifteen years later, only last week in fact, a Spanish diplomat said the same thing. "Our mind does not work like that," he said to me. "We don't have a long-range view of things."
Talk about Muslims being unprepared for the future, they have company. But Muslims can offer any number of excuses for lagging behind. What is Europe's excuse?
Who is minding the West, I asked myself. Who is minding the Germans, the Dutch, the Danes and the other Europeans, with their lands and culture and institutions overrun by people from all over the world, without their having a direct say-so in the matter?
Are Europeans Not People? Are They Not Part of An-Naas?
Are Europeans not people, I asked myself. Do they not have feelings? Do they not have rights, including the right to emotional security?
Do the Europeans not have a right, as all people do, not to be rattled and unsettled by profound and sudden transformations of their natural habitat?
How I wish the Europeans had woken up to the coming cataclysm during the early, mid- or even late 1980s.
And how I wish the Muslims of Britain, Europe and America - and the world - had woken up to what was going on. And to what was about to happen.
And how I wish right now - as I write - Muslims of Europe, America and the rest of the world will wake up to what is going on in the world.
But Muslims don't believe in looking to the future, do they? They have such a settled habit of driving with their eyes glued to the rear-view mirror. Their hearts are with their past; their eyes are shut to the future; their souls are attuned to the next life; and their bodies cram their present like straws in a flood: Ghuthaa' ka-ghuthaa-is-saiyl.
Allah bless the Muslims! Allahummar-ham Ummata Muhammadin, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam: God Almighty, have mercy on the nation of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Muslims Being Muslims
As a result, while all this was happening, most Muslims did what they have been good at doing for centuries: played the drum and carried on with their own pursuit of personal power, wealth and privilege; whims, fancies, egos and what the Qur'an calls Hawaa and Nafs; and their pet theological disputations, hairsplitting, fights, intrigues and mutual recriminations using the name and domain of Islam.
In bringing them to the West in large numbers, God had given Muslims a rare opportunity to make Islam a household word throughout the West and the world, filling the psychological and spiritual hunger in human hearts, minds and souls in the West and the rest of the world with God's light and with Qur'an's teachings.
They had a rare and remarkable opportunity to take the Qur'an to every home and heart that needs it - throughout the world.
And Muslims by and large devoted their time, attention, energy and resources to everything but that, as they had done so often throughout their history. And they paid a dear price for that, also, as they had done throughout their history.
God's Purpose in Islam
But what both the West and Muslims must know is that in some important ways Islam is almost completely independent of Muslims - and their ways.
As a direct outflow of God's love for his entire creation, Islam is humanity's common heritage and not the prerogative of this or that ethnic or geographic group, including the present-day Muslims.
We sent you not, says God Almighty in the Qur'an addressing the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, except as a source of love, mercy, compassion, joy and blessing for all the worlds.
Hear the Qur'an say it in its own words: Wa maa arsalnaaka illaa rahmatal lil-'aalameen.
Islam's larger purpose, therefore, is to rescue humanity from ignorance, fanaticism and backwardness; from poverty, hunger, strife and insecurity; from the worship of race, country, power and wealth; and then to open up before the entire world a new horizon of perfect liberty, freedom, equality, justice, peace, fairness, education, opportunity and compassion for all.
That is what God sent Islam in this world to accomplish. And those were precisely the "victories" Islam scored every step of the way throughout its history.
And Islam continued to do this notwithstanding all the stumbling blocks that Muslims all too often placed in its path.
Assalamu Alaikum: A Trademark unlike Any
Therefore, it is not for nothing that Islam is called Islam - a comprehensive system of divine blessings including peace and prosperity for everyone everywhere.
And it is also not for nothing that Islam has a trademark and a trade tool most wonderfully suited for that purpose: Assalamu Alaikum.
That means if the term "Islam" stands for theory or the model, the expression "Assalamu Alaikum" represents the operationalization and practical methodology of that theory.
Or stated differently, as some wonderful people in Delhi, India, would say - Allah bless them - if by "Islam" we mean the "Nasbul 'Ain," then Assalamu alaikum is the "Laa-i-ha-e 'Amal" or "Tareeq-e-Kaar" for the realization of that goal or Nasbul 'Ain in practice.
Directly Out of the Pages of the Qur'an
Assalamu Alaikum is the common Islamic greeting, taken directly out of the pages of the Qur'an, that saturates the globe 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the year, every year. It is a nonstop and ongoing invocation of God Almighty's choicest blessings on everyone and everything in the universe.
And that is what Muslims do, day in and day out - all over the world: they bless everyone and everything in the world.
And that is who the Muslims are, even some of the worst ones among them. If only they knew it.
And that is what the Muslims do, even though many of them may be clueless about what they are doing.
And this is God's Almighty's purpose - and plan - of love, joy and peace for his creation through the instrumentation of Islam.
And God Almighty shall accomplish his purpose in his creation in spite of Muslim ignorance, world indifference and Western arrogance.
Hayaat Tayyibah: The Good Life
Islam is, thus, a divine formula for Good Life for all. The Qur'an calls it Hayaat Tayyibah. Right here on earth and after death.
And its march, whether in the East or in the West, is not beholden to human power or endeavor, but flows directly from God Almighty's own will and pleasure - and his love for his creation.
That means those on whom God Almighty is pleased to confer the Good Life - Hayaat Tayyibah - he will. While those who fight it with force, lies, demonization, political trickery and propaganda, he will leave behind.
That is how it has always been. And that is how it will always be.
That is why the veil issue in that British classroom masks more than the faces of some Muslim women most likely misinformed about the true nature of Islam and the duplicity and cynicism of some British and European politicians: It masks the destiny and future of humanity.
(Final and revised version, October 30, 2006)
© 2006 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.