“O you who believe. Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he among you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust. Those in whose hearts is a disease, you will see how eagerly they run about among them saying, ‘We do fear less a change of fortune bring us disaster’…and those who believe will say, ‘Are these the men who swore their strongest oaths by Allah that they were with you? All that they do will be in vain, and they will fall into (nothing but) ruin.” [TMQ 5:54-56]
Pakistan has seen its biggest natural disaster since 1929. As the crisis ravages through its territory, 1,500 people have been killed and more than 3 million displaced according to the UN. Images show heart-wrenching pictures of people struggling to stay alive, such as an uncle holding on to a wire fence while fierce currents repeatedly bash him and possibly killing him if his hand slips. Other images show the elderly and children in shock, with fear and worry written across their faces as they are being led to temporary safety at having everything they’ve ever owned or known destroyed in a matter of hours.
The nightmare does not end here as the disaster could continue to expand if food, sanitation and shelter are not supplied quickly. The World Food Program estimated a staggering 1.8 million in urgent need of water, food and shelter. An outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera is now feared due to the decomposing animals in the water. The need for basic supplies has led many to fight over supplies of mineral water.
While the Pakistani government in characteristic form has been slow to respond, many charities around the world and organizations considered militant by the West quickly sprung into action. They quickly amassed tents and distributed food and clothing, as one senior official of Jamaat-ud-Dawa said: “If the government were doing this work, there would be no need for us,” he said. “When the floods came, we carried people out on our shoulders, to our own ambulances. Where were the government ambulances?”
The commander in chief of the army, Zardari, was nowhere to be seen as the biggest natural disaster hit Pakistan. Instead he is currently in the UK, with the aim to account David Cameron regarding his recent accusation that Pakistan is exporting terror. While very few have argued Zardari is attempting to defend the nation, hoping to regain some respectability of his shoddy governing, it is clear that his aim is quite different. Zardari’s schedule includes the launch of his son Bilawar’s political career, as he has now graduated from Oxford University. It should also be remembered that Britain was the place where the deal was struck with Benazir Bhutto to bring her back to Pakistan to salvage the declining popularity of the then stooge General Musharraf. Rather than being concerned with what is happening in Pakistan, Zardari has found time to attend a number of fashion events in the UK.
Whereas the work of charities and other organizations reflect the deep rooted bond of brotherhood shown by all Muslims by their quick response to the suffering, it is clear that the effort requires more than just food, clothing and shelter. The ability to get to the needy is paramount and therefore the nature of disasters on this level requires a mechanism which only a state could provide. It is the leader of a nation who is in control of the resources, such as manpower of the army, and scientists who can foresee and prevent natural disasters, as well as collecting food from all over the country. However, if this leader has the resources but fails in his role as the caretaker of the ummah then such a mechanism is rendered useless. It is a common pattern among all our leaders that they care more about a luxurious lifestyle and jumping to the whims of various colonial powers.
As an ummah we should feel ashamed to have such people representing us. We should feel further shame that we allow these people to stay in their position of power, ignoring the needs of the people, stealing their wealth, and aiding their enemies with food, energy and the natural resources of the Muslim countries. We should be angered when we see that the poverty we live in is a manufactured one. We are told that we have no oil or gas yet our lands hold the worlds lions share. We are told we have no food yet we have lands full of agricultural potential. For example Pakistan is also the world’s largest producer of ghee (Clarified Butter), the 2nd largest producer of chickpeas, buffalo meat and milk; the 4th largest producer of apricot, cotton, goat’s milk and mangos, and the 5th largest producer of onion and sugar cane. This is clear evidence that not only do our leaders neglect us, they are also leaving our families to suffer and die.
It is time that we work for a new leader who follows in the footsteps of past khaleefahs who feared Allah (swt) and account for the needs of the people to fulfil their many rights given by Allah (swt) as citizens of the State. As the Prophet (saw) has told us: “The Imam is responsible over the people and he is questioned over his responsibility.” [Al-Bukhari]
The understanding of the responsibility that the khaleefah and State have towards the people is what made Abu Bakr (ra), as the khaleefah, serve an old blind woman living in the outskirts of Madina. Omar Ibn Al Khattab (ra) wanted to serve her too, but he found that Abu Bakr (ra) had already cooked food, cleaned the house and washed her clothes for her. It is the same understanding and feeling of responsibility that made Omar (ra), when he was the Khaleefah, go back to the Bait-ul-Mal (treasury) and carry bags of wheat and food on his back to a woman and her children living outside of Madina and then cook food for them. He (ra) refused his servant’s offer to carry the bags for him by saying, “Will you carry my sins and responsibilities for me on the day of judgment?”
This leader is promised to us from Allah (swt), however we are commanded to work for this system like any other responsibility, so that Allah (swt) would give us the Nasr (victory) when we have proven ourselves. May we be the honored ones who bring back the Khilafah as shown to us by the Prophet (saw) and the righteous khulafa after him as narrated by Ahmed in his Musnad, from Al-Nu’man b. Bashir, who said the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ”Prophethood will be amongst you whatever Allah wishes it to be, then He will lift it up if He wished to lift it up. Then there will be a Khilafah on the way of the Prophet, and it will be whatever Allah wishes it to be, then He will lift it up if Allah wished to lift it up. Then there will be an inheritance rule, and it will be whatever Allah wishes it to be, then He will lift it up if He wished to lift it up. Then there will be a coercive rule, and it will be whatever Allah wishes it to be, then He will lift it up if He wished to lift it up. Then there will be a Khilafah on the way of Prophethood. Then he was silent.”