The Essentials of Stability

The Essentials of Stability
essentials-stabilityThe governments of the Muslim world need to take heed and realize they have to immediately address the rife injustice that exists in their midst and stop ignoring the corruption, poverty and unemployment that Muslim societies suffer from. These governments need to actively engage in serious development programs and work to ameliorate their corrupt administrative machinery, their inequitable distribution of national resources, and the extremely unequal distribution of wealth that comes as a consequence.

This is essential for a country’s stability and security. It is also what Allah commands: “If you judge between people, then do so justly.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 58]
History and experience and give witness to the fact that poverty brings all kinds of evil to society. This is why the 4th Caliph `Ali b. Abî Tâlib used to say, expressing his desire to eliminate poverty: “If poverty were a living being, I would have had it executed.”
He is also reported to have said, emphasizing the evil consequences of poverty: “It is almost as if poverty were unbelief.”
The question of poverty is not limited to food, clothing, and shelter, though they are admittedly the basic necessities of life. The question extends beyond material considerations all the way to the human need for recognition and dignity – for the need for their rights to be upheld and their interests to be acknowledged.
People need to be permitted to express themselves, to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and legitimate aspirations without fear of reprisal on the one hand or blatant disregard on the other. Free speech should be allowed to the extent that it does not constitute slander or the infringement of the rights of others.
The people of many of our nations have been so preoccupied with securing their basic needs that they have been unable to address the critical issues of the day, think about their society’s future. Indeed, securing their basic needs has often proved elusive enough, to the point that people have had to sacrifice their dignity in order to simply survive.
At the same time, Muslim society, through the media, the educational system, and other means, witnessed a change in essential valued. Faith, patience, fortitude, and a sense of community have been downplayed and devalued, with many negative consequences to social cohesion and stability, the worst of which might still be in the future.
Advancements in communications technologies have brought about fundamental changes to society. Marginalized sectors of the population have now found a voice on the Internet and through social networking services. Satellite communications have made global news coverage instantaneous and in the reach of hundreds of millions.
Consider that Facebook has over 647.5 million users, most of them young people. If that number were the population of a country, it would be the third-largest nation of Earth, after China and India.
This has brought about a revolution in awareness and in people’s hopes and aspirations. Those living in Muslim countries can now easily compare themselves to others and see themselves as equally deserving of the rights, liberties, living standards, and political participation that are enjoyed by other people in the world.
It is foolish for governments to ignore these developments. It is self-destructive for regimes to persist in the old ways. At worst, it could lead to civil war. What is needed, however, is simply positive reform.
Just like individuals must repent for their sins and bad dealings, so should institutions, governments, and nations repent for the injustices, instability, and social backwardness they are responsible for. Allah says: “O you who believe, repent to Allah sincerely.” [Sûrah al-Tahrîm: 8]
We are not speaking idealistically here.The changes that are needed are what will at least safeguard the public interest and minimize discontent. The doors to opportunity and hope need to be open for all people. Nothing ruins life more than despair.

By: Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
Source: IslamToday

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