Bad rulers, corrupt societies


In the past centuries the Muslim world was much more integrated than we realise. It was one social, cultural, religious and economic domain. Its language, system of education, currency, and laws were the same. Now it is easy and customary to blame the current Muslim rulers for the present sorry situation, yet the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq would not have been possible without their acquiescence and support. If they refused to open their lands, waterways, and airspace to the invasion, it could not have taken place. Neither would the slaughters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Palestine have been possible if the Muslim rulers had their act together.
But was it only because the Muslim rulers happened to be immoral, coward, and unscrupulous characters? Is the 1.2 billion strong Ummah suffering only because there are fifty-four corrupt persons who are ruling it? These rulers do not carry out all their plans personally. They have armies of compliant soldiers, bureaucrats, and other staffers at every level of government that do the dirty work. Further the societies at large produce, nurture, and sustain the corrupt machinery of the corrupt governments. Today we find that our problem is corruption; not only of the rulers but also of the ruled. Today we have strayed from the path of Holy Quran and Seerat Tayyaba in our personal lives; we lie, cheat, steal at a higher rate than ever before; we exploit and oppress in our small spheres. In short, our problems are caused by our moral corruption.
But there is something more. And it is getting scant attention in the Muslim discourse. Islam teaches us the correctness of belief is even more important than correctness of deeds. There is an implied message here: The corruption of ideas is far more devastating than the corruption of actions. This may be happening here. We complain about the particular tribal leaders that happen to be there today but forget about the tribalism that sits at the root of all this. This tribalism of the nation-states has been enshrined into the constitutions, legal structures, bureaucracies, and the entire apparatus of government in every Muslim country. Its language and thinking, though anathema to Islam, has gained widespread acceptance. While we condemn its outcome, we do not sufficiently examine or challenge the system itself.
We constantly talk about the need for Muslim unity. We assert that Muslims are one Ummah. Simultaneously — and without much thought — we embrace the symbols, ideas, and dictates of its exact opposite. We have lived under our nation-states, celebrated our national days, and sang our national anthems all our lives. As a result the realisation that the gap between the idea of the nation-state and that of one Ummah is wider than can be patched with good leaders of individual nation-states does not occur easily. We do not realise that we may be trying to simultaneously ride two different boats going in opposite directions.
— Courtesy:

Khalid Baig