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Muslims And Leadership Failure In The Third World (Part 1 Of 2)

17 September 2012

Muslims And Leadership Failure In The Third World (2)

By Abdulwarees Solanke

Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains. These are the words of a philosopher. But the religious scriptures, whether of the Christians or the Muslims, the Bible and the Qur'aan have more brilliant expositions on the position of man, or the purpose of man's creation. From the Quranic perspective, man is born to master the entire creation as the vicegerent of God on earth, the Khalifah. The Christian bible also declares man as being created to have dominion over the rest of creation. It also challenges Christians to be the salt of the earth, warning that if they lose their saltness, the world loses its taste. It wants them to be light unto the world that must not be hidden under the bushel.

The man that must master creation, be God's representative, be a light unto the world or salt of the earth must have guidance and be responsible. The guidance he has is what shapes his vision. However, most of the humanity has abdicated this onerous responsibility of mastering creation, because they abandon guidance of the owner of the world, the guidance of God. This is the tragedy of humanity today. Even when some claim to be followers of God, doing the wish of the heavenly father, they betray the guidance of God they claim to profess faith in, pursue self desires, captured by their egos, imprisoned by their lusts and deceived by their minds.

As a student of religions, I have come to appreciate that many ideologies and faiths are not as prescriptive as Islam, so I don't have problems with their teachings, because often those pristine teachings are not held sacrosanct as the followers are left to use their judgements to determine how they can be the salt of the earth or light unto the world. They are very flexible. Not that they don't have standards, but their enforcement is not always as strongly prescribed as in the Muslim standards. So, with the Quranic standard illustrated by various schools of jurisprudence in Islam and the finest examples from the prophetic era and the epoch of the Khulafai raashiduun, the rightly guided caliphs, their first and second successor generations, the Muslims of today are supposed to be worthy beneficiaries and finest legacies in public leadership and management, setting direction wherever they exist even as minorities. They are supposed to be advanced in learning, uncompromising on ethics of justice, equity, integrity and fidelity, all cornerstones of peace and development.

However, one is appalled by the Muslims disconcerting attitude to issues of reform and development especially in the Third world countries, not excepting Nigeria, to the crises manifesting in illiteracy, poverty, instability, insecurity, and corruption whereas the scripture of Islam is most revolutionary and unequivocal when it comes to addressing societal challenges, or reforming the society. It offers practical solutions. You cannot escape them. Once you deviate from those standards, things fall apart, because Islam is highly prescriptive on how to achieve balance, order and stability in the face of rapid changes.

So, why are countries claiming to be Muslim-dominated enmeshed in crisis of development? Nigeria is one. I take the blame of crisis of nationhood and development in these third world countries to the door steps of the Muslim leadership in those countries. They cannot be excused from the leadership failure in these countries, because as critical stakeholders in their polities, they wield a lot of influence on the governance of their countries, if not being the dominant players. Muslim leaders, temporal and spiritual, must be told the truth about their failure in not playing the noble roles expected of them in bringing development and stability to their countries as they engage in fasting of Ramadan, because the message of Ramadan is REFORMATION AND RENEWAL, REBIRTH, ADVANCEMENT, MOBILITY TO HIGHER STATION, MATURITY, ATTITUDINAL CHANGE, DEVELOPMENT, DISCIPLINE, DEVOTION, ANSWER, AWAKENING & AWARENESS, and NEWNESS
If the Muslim Ummah in those countries, Nigeria inclusive, had faithfully lived to their description in the Quran as Ummatan wasatan, the justly balanced nation, other Ummahs with whom they share nationhood would have emulated them; if they had lived to being the best community ever evolved for mankind, khaerun-ummatan, with the mandate of enjoining what is good, forbidding evil and believing in Allah, crime, corruption and insecurity on the surface of the earth, fasaad fil ard, and fitnah or trials of tumult and oppression which are worse than death, would not be prevalent in the world. The world, especially the third world countries mostly populated by Muslims would be filled with joy and happiness, as rich and peaceful as the Scandinavian countries, as progressive as the United States, as accommodating as Canada or as promising as the new industrialized countries, the Asian Tigers like Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. Therefore, other constituent Ummahs that make up many countries in the Third World like Nigeria, will come to align with the Muslims in the war against corruption. They will be Muslim allies in defending the unity and integrity of their countries, working for their peace and progress, security and wealth, promoting their national interest, safeguarding their pride and integrity, giving their nations good names all over the world as the place to live, the land of peace and plenty, a Canaan.

What is apparent to me is that Muslim leaders are paying lip service to their shariah and observance of the very noble dictate of the book of guidance they hold or that they hold the book without understanding the contents nor applying them in the running their lives, which is most unfortunate. They abdicate on the guidance they ought to offer others. If they had not been blind to their authentic values, other Ummahs or powers would not oppose, hate, malign, stereotype or oppress the Muslims. They would respect them and not tarnish or desecrate their practices, places and objects of value and worship. When they see them as light bearers, as the salt of the nation and the representative of God, they would want to ask, why are they so blessed (yes, they are blessed because most of the world oil, agricultural and minerals resources are deposited in their territories in Africa, Middle East and Asia, the main reasons for scramble and partition of their territories, imperialism and devastation and despoliation of those countries through phantom wars and installation of puppet regimes). They will ask why they are so special that in both opulence and scarcity, they are still contented and comfortable.

AbdulWarees Solanke, Head, Voice of Nigeria Training Centre (Transmitting Station, ikorodu), Lagos, studied Mass Communication at the University of Lagos and Public Policy at the Universiti Brunei Darusslam and writes viakorewarith@yahoo.com , korewarith@voiceofnigeria.org



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