By Yusuf AbdulLahi
In the name of Allah Who states "And do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire touch you, and you have no guardians besides Allah, then you shall not be helped" Q11:113
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His chosen servant, our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.
Let me start by congratulating the Muslim-Ummah in general over the advent of eventful month of Rabi’ul-awwal in which the Great Messenger was born, in the historic year of elephant. In recognition of the august occasion, let’s acknowledge Sir Bernard Shaw’s appreciation of the prophet in Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936. "If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam. I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capability to the changing phases of existence which can make itself appeal to everyone. I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of today. The medieval ecclesiastics either through ignorance or bigotry painted Islam in the darkest colors. They were, in fact, trained to hate the man Muhammad and his religion. To them, Muhammad was anti – Christ. I have studied him -the wonderful man, and in my opinion, far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the savior of humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring the much needed peace and happiness. But to proceed, it was in the nineteenth century that honest thinkers like Carlyle, Gibbon and Goethe perceived intrinsic worth in the religion of Muhammad – already, even, at the present time many of our people have gone to his faith, and Islamization of Europe may be said to have begun”
YEMEN IN WORST HUMANITARIAN CRISES
The unfortunate Saudi-led, American-backed strikes against Yemen is our topic for this week. The over three years strikes have claimed tens of thousands innocent lives especially women and children and destruction worth billions of dollar! There are always varying figures with regard to death toll as a result of direct and indirect effect of the aggression. Some Ngo’s put the number between 60 to 100,000, while the UN put it at N10,000. In a recent release by Oxfam, an international confederation of 20 non-governmental organizations working with partners in over 90 countries to end injustice, the organisation described Yemen as "raged by the three years pogrom, killing thousands, and leading to world’s biggest humanitarian crises, with many considering Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman, the architect. It certified to the fact that a civilian is killed every three hours, calling on the United States, Britain and other European States to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia. One civilian has been killed every three hours in fighting in Yemen since the beginning in August with many more people succumbing to disease and hunger". In the statement, the aid group cited data collected by the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project linked to the United Nations global protection clusters as 575 civilians were killed between August 1 and October 15, including 136 children. Therefore, it called on the UK, US and other governments to suspend arms sales to the Saudis because of their disregard for civilian lives in the war in Yemen. Yemen conflict sees one of the deadliest months, 450 civilians were killed in the first nine days of August as the conflict between government forces and Houthis escalated. Saudi Arabia leads a pro-government military alliance that has battled Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis since 2015, pushing the impoverished country to the brink of famine. The UN categorizes Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, warning on Tuesday that 14 million people now face a serious threat of famine!" However, with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic in the kingdom’s consulate, Western nations were advised to suspend arms deals with Saudi. Germany has positively responded pending the outcome of the investigation against the brutal murder. America, which is the largest arms supplier refuses in view of huge financial gains and disregard to human lives. According to United Nations, more than 10,000 people have been killed since 2015 which the rights and aid groups believe is by far higher.
On many occasions, concerned individual and organisations have organised events to condemn the strikes on the poorest and helpless Arab nation by the richest in and most influential in the Middle-east. The IHRC at the forefront held and influenced such events in London, Geneva and Indonesia, just as the Islamic Movement stood for same in Kano and Zaria, Nigeria. Generally speaking, the rationale behind the campaign was to express solidarity with Yemen as a sovereign nation, and to create the much needed public awareness on the urgent need to cease the aggression an quest for justice. The enemies always disseminate misinformation to blackmail Islam and incite Muslims against themselves in the name of Shi’ah/Sunnah. This is what they propagate on the Yemeni crises accusing Iran which is part of the region of supporting Houthis that it denied. At the same time, Western powers above all America went the region mingling with their popular allies trading their deadly weapons / consultancy in the name of peace keeping! Although every Muslim could be likened to one jurisprudential school or the other, the unfortunate crises should be objectively studied from the Shari’ah point of view as Islam absolutely enjoins justice and negates oppression irrespective of the angle it emanates. The religion teaches Muslims to condemn tyranny and oppression at all places and times. The issue is therefore not Shi’ah/Sunna or Iran/Saudi but a problem needing urgent judicious attention. It is good to be objective on the criteria primarily given by the noble Qur’an and the practical approach demonstrated by the prophetic tradition. At this juncture, I will briefly look at the problem from two angles; the role of the International community or the West – controlled United nations and most importantly the Muslim – Ummah.
HAS THE UN ANY RELEVANCE IN CRISES?
The goals behind creation of the UN are well designed, judicious and achievable; to maintain international peace and security, and to that end; to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace. (Chapter 1: Purposes and principles – article 1). We don’t need to go any further looking at the principal. The question is what purpose does the UN serve on this planet full of all sorts of oppression, chaos and bloodshed? In fact, it is high time to run a cost-benefit analysis on the existence or otherwise of the toothless body looking at the colossal amount it consumes from the nations revenues that could otherwise be used for human and infrastructural development. To be frank and sincere, the UN lacks the moral role to play in the actualization of the most important goals for which it was apparently created. Then, of what relevance is it?
CAN THE MUSLIM-UMMAH SOLVE ITS PREDICAMENT?
Allah states “You are the best community raised for the good of mankind. You enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong, and you believe in Allah” Q3:110. He also states in Q49:10, "The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you". With this exalted position, we may ask, why can’t the Muslims reconcile themselves in the event of any crisis? What is the role of Muslim scholars and intellectuals vis a vis the disheartening situation? Could the massacre in Yemen be regarded as war between Muslims? If so, what did Allah say under such a situation? “And if two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them. And if one party of them doeth wrong to the other, fight ye that which doeth wrong till it return unto the ordinance of Allah” Qur’an: 49:9
Yes, truly, the Muslim world was strategically thrown into very difficult crises from outside and within. That is why the Ummah becomes a laughing stock of its enemies despite its numeric strength. But what is happening in Yemen is not a war in its actual sense. It is a massacre where a Muslim sister stupidly fights its full Muslim sister and neighbor on baseless ground. The Yemenis have no option than to defend themselves. As such tens of thousands Muslims are massively massacred with their resources and the West benefits from the huge arms deals! The question is who can help the Ummah out of this quagmire? With its unfortunate role, the Saudi kingdom loses its respected position within the Umma and their Sheikhs do not have the moral capacity to tell the truth. So, we should not be confused with one of several instances.
However, hope is never lost as generality of Muslims have important role to play through unity, good understanding and proper awareness campaign. “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves” Q3:103. We should donate and pray for the oppressed to the best of our ability. Allah is the Omnipotent, Witness and Avenger for the tyranny and oppression meted against the innocent and the weak. We should also continue to call for justice no matter how long. "Verily, We sent Our Messengers with manifest signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance that people may act with justice ……" Q2:247
While calling all Muslims in particular and international community in general to stand in the interest of peace and justice regardless of all borders, I reiterate the urgent need for the unconditional release of Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky (H) and his disciples.