Omar Ibn al-Khattab said: “we were the lowest of all people and then Allah gave us glory by Islam, and if we seek glory in anything other than that which Allah has given us, He will disgrace us!” It was with this maxim that Muslims proudly ruled three-quarters of the world for centuries. The Arab media outlets and publications affiliated to vanquished [political] trends like Pan-Arabism, Nasserism, Baathism, and Marxism have attacked Saudi Arabia for its adherence to Islam, describing us as narrow-minded. However King Faisal responded to this by saying “if adherence to Islam is conservative, then we are conservative. As Muslims, we did not enjoy any glorious history except after the rise of Islam. Before Islam we, as Arabs, worshipped idols, ate dead animals, killed one another, and severed ties of kinship. But then God sent Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – to us, and he revealed God’s word ‘we sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures’ [Surat al-Anbiya; Verse 107]. Peace, justice, freedom, and equality, were brought to the entire world through Islam.”
It is incumbent upon any ruler of a Muslim country to explicitly profess his [religious] identity, creed and beliefs without shame or reserve, because Muslims do not seek any other faith but Islam. If a ruler has any doubt about that, he can organize a ballot or referendum to know his people’s opinions on this issue. For instance, westerners who embrace Christianity would not accept being governed by a Muslim ruler, who has a different faith and set of beliefs than them.
Would America accept the presidency of a man who professes his belief that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his Messenger? America would never accept this, and the same goes for Britain, France, Germany, and others. All these countries believe that people and their ruler should share the same faith. For example, would the Jewish State of Israel hand over its affairs to a Muslim, Christian or even Marxist leader who does not believe in Judaism? It would never agree to that.
If this is the case, why were some Arab and Muslim peoples forced to install lap-dog rulers who fought Islam in the name of Pan-Arabism, Baathism or Communism? Why not let the Arab and Muslim peoples determine the destiny of their own countries?
Iraq is the land of Islam, the cradle of several ancient civilizations, the birthplace of the Abbasid Caliphate and the homeland of many Grand Imams like Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam al-Shafe'i, Imam Ibn Hanbal and Imam al-Ghazali. If granted the choice, would the Iraqi people have accepted the rule of Saddam Hussein, the Baathist who set aside Islam – the faith of his own people – and ruled through absolute dictatorship? Of course not, but the Iraqi people were not consulted during his era!
If granted the choice, wouldn’t the great Syrian people, who are the descendants of legendary Islamic figures, and whose country is the burial place of great Islamic leaders like Khalid Ibn al-Walid and Ibn Taymiyyah, have chosen not to be ruled by a leader and political party that acts against the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet? If free elections were held, the Syrian people would no doubt have chosen an Islamic creed and way of life.
Did Gaddafi consult the Libyan people, the descendants of Omar Mukhtar, about the constitution and political framework he would utilize to rule them. Gaddafi repealed Islamic Sharia law, rewrote history and changed logic, rationality and tradition in the name of his Green Book, which he used as a replacement to the Holy Quran!
Don’t the millions of Muslims who pray toward the Kaaba five times a day want to be governed by Islam? Then why is Islam being distanced from power, when it is the source of all the dignity, honour, and glory that we have ever won or known?
Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas conquered Persia with the power of Islam; Khalid Ibn al-Walid confronted the Roman Empire with the greatness of Islam; Saladin vanquished the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin with the strength of Islam; Sultan Saif ad-Din Qutuz defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut with the creed of Islam; and Mehmed II conquered Constantinople with the justice of Islam.
In sharp contrast to this, what did the Baathists, Saddam Hussein and Hafez al-Assad, ever achieve? What about the longest-serving Arab leader – at the time of his death – the King of Kings and Guide of the Revolution, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi? What did he achieve? What did such leaders bring to their people other than persecution, humiliation, subjugation, suppression, and starvation? This is not to mention their confiscation of liberties, their selling of territories to Israel, the concession of the Golan Heights, the invasion and occupation of Kuwait and the organization of conspiracies, coups and assassinations!
When will the Muslim peoples wake up and demand that their rulers be chosen from amongst them; namely that they believe in God, perform prayers, and respect the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Prophet, and the creed of Islam? When will the Muslim people refuse to be ruled by traitors and turncoats, professional thieves who have spilled their blood? When will the Muslim people refuse to be ruled by those who mock Islam and Sharia laws?
Muslims should be proud that their “constitution” was revealed from on high, whereas the constitutions of others are fallible human constructs. We should be proud that our Message comes directly from God, and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, whilst others received their instructions from [founder of Baathist ideology] Michel Aflaq, or Statlin, or Lenin, or others.
O Muslims, hold your heads up high and take pride in your principles and your Message. Remember that God Almighty said “So lose no heart, nor fall into despair; for ye will overcome them if ye are (indeed) believers.” [Surat Al-E-Iman; Verse 139].
(Dr. al-Qarni is a Saudi-born Islamic preacher and scholar. His article was first published in Asharq Al Awsat on Dec 25,2011)