The most costly enterprise
Freedom or independence has never been attained free of cost. It is indeed the most costly entitlement in human life. It needs the sacrifice of wealth and life and also the investment of physical and intellectual abilities to enjoy independence. Those who can’t afford it, can’t enjoy it. One and half million Algerians needed to sacrifice their lives to attain independence from the French colonial occupation. More than 2 million Afghans had to sacrifice their lives to get freedom from the Soviet and the American occupation. The battle still continues. The people of Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Arakan (Rakhine state in Myanmar) still continue to sacrifice for the same cause. Thus it proves that freedom is very costly. Whereas, mere physical survival like plants, insects and animals doesn’t cost too much.
Surrender to slavery is as easy as walking downhill or floating with a high tide. Such slavery may provide the provision of physical survival but takes away the liberty to live with cherished vision, mission, objectives and ideology. Since Islam has its political, cultural, educational and ideological agenda, can’t be fully practised in captivity. This is why slavery to the enemies is incompatible with Islam. Then, it becomes impossible for a Muslim to live like a true Muslim. It is living like a fish out of water. A Muslim needs to fulfil not only the survival needs, but also his ideological, political, educational, cultural, and spiritual needs. The Qur’anic road map for an Islamic state, sharia, hudud, khilafa, jihad, shura and many other obligatory Islamic prescriptions can never be pursued in captivity. It needs bigger space fully free from the enemy occupation. So, in Islam, it is a big and non-negotiable issue to safeguard the independence of a Muslim state. As per prophetic narrative, working for a moment as a frontier vigilante is more important than spending the whole night in nafl prayer.
Such independence can never be earned by surrendering to the occupation of the native or foreign enemies. The enemy forces fight wars only to impose their own rule. They implement their own political, ideological and cultural agenda. They recruit mercenaries from the native Muslims only to enforce their own agenda. The case of the Arab World and Bangladesh gives ample evidence. The Arab nationalists conspired with the British and the French forces to disintegrate Osmania Caliphate on a false promise of independence from Osmania rule. But, they didn’t get independence, rather earned the colonial rule of the British and the French. The imperialists imposed not only an exploitative colonial rule but also fragmentation of the Arab World into 22 states. For each fragment, they installed a tyrant as the ruler –accountable only to them. They also gave birth to an illegitimate state of Israel as a military watchdog state in the Arab World. The case of the Bengali nationalists is no less awful either. In 1971, these anti-Islamists invited the ever-ready Indian Army to get East Pakistan separated from former united Pakistan. Instead of independence, Bangladesh earned a subjugated status under Indian dominance. The military occupation in 1971 helped India to install stooges in the political, cultural, military and intellectual arenas of Bangladesh. Now the pro-Indian fascists rule the country.
As a war of independence, sustenance of independence is also highly expensive. It needs combative men, money and weapons. It needs the necessary geopolitical potentials. Moreover, the people must have a strong appetite for freedom. They need to stand united. A state can’t sustain its independence at the enemy’s mercy. If there isn’t any power of defence, there is no independence. To enhance the defence capability of a state, it needs to educate and empower people. Freedom is the most valued higher human attribute. Only the people with education, dignity and higher esteem need truly understand its worth. It is the most distinctive marker of people with higher motives and values. For those who possess civilizational vision, mission and objective, freedom is indispensable. Otherwise, their lives become a total failure. Hence, they fight for freedom and even die for freedom. Since Islam instils a civilizational goal in its followers, freedom for a Muslim is crucial. In captivity, he can’t exercise his ability to promote Islam’s civilizational goal. He needs a conducive state to practice his faith. This is why the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had to fight for an Islamic state and he sat on its driving seat. He fought war after war for its defence. It was indeed the seminal seed for the civilizational growth of the Muslims. The Muslims could emerge as the World Power and give birth to the finest civilisation only because of a conducive Islamic state.
Defence: the highest priority
Those who are not equipped to fight against enemies, indeed build grounds for surrender. It needs a strong infrastructure of defence to stay safe and independent. It needs a strong appetite for that. It must be taken as the most important agenda for survival. Humans face most of the catastrophic calamities not from wild animals, but from humans. All the genocidal killings, economic plunders, and enforced slavery are the works of humans. Hence, it is the most fundamental duty of every man and woman to face those beastly humans. In Islam, it is the best ibada. It is called jihad. In the past, only the spirit of jihad could give protection from imperialist predators. The European colonialists could quickly take over the Asian, African and American lands. It owes not only to the war machinery of these colonialists but to the lack of defence of the native people. So they paid the price for being weak and defenceless. They faced brutal genocidal cleansing. Their wealth was plundered and they were enslaved.
Those who are focused only on eating, drinking and physical survival, may not have an appetite for civilizational growth. They think only about the physical sustenance of foods and drinks. For defence, it needs a big and strong independent state. Living in caves, tents, and small states, people can’t develop a strong defence. In fact, the independence of a state proportionately depends on its size. The countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and UAE may have huge wealth but enjoy little independence. The rulers of these states are dependent on others for their political survival. They heavily pay for that. If the wealth disappears, they will meet the fate of a failed state like today’s Lebanon.
In fact, those who divide into small states like Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and UAE expose their distaste for independence and security. Those who have an iota of interest in independence can’t stay divided into such small states. Such division opens the door to foreign occupation and slavery. The size of Russia’s economy is smaller than that of South Korea. But its political might and independence is equal to the USA. It mainly owes to its huge geographical size and nuclear bombs. So, it is haram (forbidden) in Islam to fragment a Muslim country. Prophet (peace be upon him) of Islam encouraged only to expand it. Hence, from day one of the Islamic State, the Muslims were focused to enlarge its political map. It was indeed their high political sagacity that they spread the Islamic state into three continents. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) even advised his companions to take over Constantinople –the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This was in fact a civilizational necessity. Because of the same sagacity, in 1947, the Bengali Muslims joined Pakistan to constitute the largest Muslim country in the contemporary world. But the politicians with parochial intoxication lost such wisdom, hence wrecked the great country. The weakness of 400 million Arabs indeed owes to their disintegration into 22 states. As a result, the defence capability of 22 Arab states stands much inferior to that of a tiny Israel. Moreover, the division brings the promised punishment from Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la –as warned in verse 105 of Sura Al-Imran. Therefore, the divided Arabs proved to be the recipients of the promised punishment. Israel has become the instrument of such punishment.
For defence, it is crucial to have the most advanced weaponry and the necessary military skills. Without such weaponry, a state easily lose its independence. Such states easily embrace the slavery of bigger states. The US military bases in the Gulf States is an indicator of such slavery. An independent state never allows another state to set a military base on its soil. Awfully, this is the status of most Arab states. Muslims started to lose their independence when they ignored the defence and invested more money in building palaces and amusement. When Bengal fell to the British, Robert Clive –the military Head of British East India Company was amazed seeing the huge treasure of gold and silver of the defeated Nawab Shiraj-ud-Daulah. If such huge wealth was spent to strengthen defence and empower people, the fate would have been much different.
Imposed enemies’ civilizational wars
The enemies’ wars on Islam are not only occupational, in many cases these are civilizational. The usual conventional war takes place between two neighbouring countries, but a civilizational war takes place between people of two different beliefs and civilizations. It doesn’t possess any national boundaries. The countries over the globe get lumped together according to faith and civilizational adherence. The medieval crusades were typical multi-national European civilizational war on Islam. In the modern age, the western imperialists considered their war against Osmania Caliphate as a civilizational war of the Christian World on Islam. It got an explicit display in the Balkan War as well as in World War 1. All major countries of the Christian faith like the UK, the USA, France, Italy, Russia, Australia, Canada and New Zealand joined the war against the Caliphate. Most of these countries were far away from the Ottoman border, but they joined the war to show their civilizational oneness. Although they live in different countries and continents, they view the Muslim World with one eye and one political perspective. They also celebrated the dissolution of the Caliphate –the political institution of Islam jointly.
In fact, wherever there is a major war against Muslims, it turns into a civilizational war. Then, the polarisation in politics doesn’t remain regional or continental, it becomes global. The players of world politics then divide into two poles: the pole of Islam and the pole of non-Islam. Israel’s war of occupation and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians is an example of a classical civilizational War on Islam. Almost all Christian countries from all over the world support Israel. The Christians consider the Israelis as their close civilizational siblings. Only Ireland is an exception. In 1971, the war against Pakistan –the largest Muslim country in the contemporary world was also a civilizational war. Hence, the polarisation was global. As a result, Hindu India was not alone in that war. The non-Muslims like the Communists (Soviet Russia), Israel, most of the Christian countries, and the non-Muslim media supported India. Although Pakistan was on the US side of the Cold War but suffered an embargo on importing arms from the USA. On the other hand, almost all the Muslim countries supported Pakistan. It is tantamount to violation of the UN law to dismember a country by military force. There wasn’t any plebiscite in favour of the dismemberment of Pakistan. The parliamentary election of 1970 was based on framing a constitution and provincial autonomy and not on the separation of East Pakistan. But the non-Muslim countries became complicit in the crime by either supporting India’s anti-Muslim project or remained deliberately silent. The war in Afghanistan and Iraq has the same civilizational character. More than 45 Christian countries took part in President George W. Bush’s declared crusade on Islam. Except for Turkey –a member of NATO, none of the Muslim countries was a part of the US-led civilizational war. This is indeed the typical level of polarisation of a civilizational war.
Independent nations and slave nations
The defence spending of a country indeed works as the most accurate indicator to show how much importance it pays to its security, dignity and independence. All people don’t build a big wall around the house. Those who are worried about dignity and security, build it at any cost. The same is true about a nation. All nations don’t live with the same agenda. A slave nation –like a slave man or woman, possesses little esteem or security need. Hence, such a state pays little priority to its defence. The priority of such states mostly gets tied to mere physical survival, at best to get some degree of economic wellbeing even through cajoling the big powers. India had more than 500 such states during the British colonial rule. Whereas an independent nation with a strong sense of security and dignity spends lion’s share of its budget on defence to earn prestige and influence on the world stage. They search for a balance of deterrence. They even compromise their economic wellbeing to build up the defence capability –as buoyantly prioritised by late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan that his countrymen would prefer to eat grass but will build nuclear bombs.
The size of the economy of Pakistan is far less than that of Saudi Arabia, but in the field of defence and world politics, it can fight shoulder to shoulder with a seven-time bigger India. And Saudi Arabia can’t win against even a poor country like Yemen. The political and military weight of Pakistan owes to its nuclear weapons and other advanced weaponry. To preserve the status in world politics, the USA spends trillions of dollars to strengthen the defence and almost continuously fight wars all over the world. For a similar reason, all men and women of Israel take military training. Israel has also piled up a huge number of nuclear bombs, missiles, fighter jets, drones and other sophisticated arsenals. The per capita weapons in Israel is indeed the highest in the whole world. Its defence force can reduce all the Arab capitals to rubbles within minutes. This is why the ruling tyrant in Cairo and other Arab tyrants cajole Israel for their political survival.
Neglected defence and the evil of occupation
But now, most Muslim countries invest a little to strengthen their defence. They seldom possess any defence strategy either. In a jungle infested with wild animals, the unarmed man becomes easy prey. The same is true in a world infested with imperialist predators. The state of defencelessness invites the enemy’s occupation. So in Islam, defence of an Islamic state is a religious obligation –no less important than the obligatory prayers. So, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la gives the mandatory command: “Against them make ready all your strength to the utmost of your power, including the (strong) horses of war (best weapons in the modern days), to cause fear in the heart of the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others beside them -whom you may not know but Allah does indeed know. And whatever you spend in the Cause of Allah, it shall be repaid back to you. You shall not be treated unjustly.”-(Sura Al-Anfal, verse 60). So, investing the utmost strength in the defence of Islam and Muslims is a religious obligation. By doing that, a Muslim indeed pays his price for a place in paradise.
But now the Muslims do otherwise. They possess a huge endowment of wealth by Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la. These oil and gas are unearned wealth, Muslims need not do any work for that. But they invest the endowed wealth in building palaces and for luxuries, not in the defence of Islam and Muslims. The Arab wealth is being invested heavily in the lands of imperialists to finance their arms industries and to help sustain their global dominance. Recently, Saudi Arabia declared an investment of more than 40 billion US dollars in India to strengthen the economy of this kuffar country -where its captive Muslims are regularly lynched to death on alleged beef-eating. The enormous wealth of the Arabs didn’t help them build even a gun or bullet. A very few inhabitants of Saudi Arabia take any military training. As a result, the Saudis are among the most defenceless people on the earth. Their huge wealth has only invited the economic predators and has increased the foreign dependence. Submission to the USA agenda is the policy. What should be taught in schools and colleges of Saudi Arabia is also a subject to the US-wish. The conditions of other Muslim countries are no less dismal either. In most Muslim countries, the issues like independence of the state and its defence enjoy little priority. Those who join the Army in these countries, find it a useful route to conquer their own country. To grab the power, to steal the state treasure, and to seize the lucrative lands in big cities become their prime agenda. This is why the military coup is so common in the Muslim World.
Whereas, in the golden days of Islam, the defence of the state received the top-most priority. Every Muslim was an all-time soldier -including the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. There was no formal cantonment, but every Muslim community was a cantonment. There was no sleeping or inactive Muslim. In those days, the per capita weapons in the Islamic state was the highest in the whole world. Even the Prophet (peace be upon him) had about a dozen best swords and shields in his home. Every companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a soldier and was equipped with the best weapons. War exercise was the best sport among the youth. More than 60 per cent of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) sacrificed their lives in war fields. As a result of such a huge sacrifice, they could emerge as the most powerful World Power and could raise the finest civilisation on the planet –the best in the whole span of human history. But now, most Muslims have abandoned Prophet (peace be upon him)’s a most important legacy. Commitment to the Islamic civilizational cause is labelled as extremism even by the so-called Muslims. And fighting against the imperialists’ occupation is called terrorism –as called in Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Myanmar, and Kashmir. On the other hand, participation in the US-led War on Islam and surrender to enemies are labelled as modernity and moderate Islam. These are indeed the catastrophic evils of physical and mental occupation by the enemies. 1st edition 26/04/2019; 2nd edition 09/08/2021.
Disclaimer: The cost of independence and the evils of surrender by Dr Firoz Mahboob Kamal - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view