Caring and sharing The basis of Islamic belief
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The basis of the Islamic belief is humanitarianism. It follows that the idea of extreme wealth in the midst of extreme poverty is unacceptable in every respect. It is only in a society where greed and selfishness reigns that individuals become so rich that they tend not to fathom the reason behind their God given wealth. And this often results in sinning, and forgetfulness of God, the creator and owner of everything.
Possession of excessive wealth shows up misguided spending, and encourages indiscretion. This is why sharing and caring has been a core value within the Islamic faith. Through the practice of issuing Zakat, individual riches are controlled divinely, so that we do not have Islands of treasures surrounded by seas of scarcity.
The just concluded Organization of Islamic Conference, held in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, is said to be the second largest gathering after the United Nations. We are talking about an assemblage representing in the region of one and a half billion people, with a membership of some of the wealthiest nations on the planet. You begin to wonder why Muslims suffer the most in the world, amid all these riches within their reach. It is true that money can not buy happiness, but since it brings about wretchedness, it can surely assure a state of orderliness, which is a recipe for happiness.
In The Gambia, for instance, most of the humanitarian aids we get come from the West, despite our religious linkage with the Arab world; a religion that sermonizes help for the needy. As the distinguished honorable SOS, Crisping Gray-Johnson put it: "The part that has the strength can use it to uplift the part without strength."
The seemingly forgotten tale of the Palestinians is also a powerful reminder of how indifference has betrayed faith. The scourge of discrimination against Muslims is strongly inspired by this unresponsiveness of the Islamic Umma.
There is also the issue of connivance from members of the Umma itself. As President Jammeh put it during his speech to the conference delegates, the enemy within is the greatest threat the faith faces today. Under Western influence we have categorically turned our back on our brothers and sisters that ardently need us; the Iraqis, the Palestinians, the Afghans, etc., etc.
If, as Muslims, we want to restore this lost glory of caring and sharing, we ought to cast off the urge for selfishness and greed. Remember that religion is supposed to be a line of hope for the forgotten, a fact current trend dispels. "1.2 billion people", in the words of the Gambian Foreign Secretary, "is a force to be reckoned with", but only if we are willing to sacrifice the worldly bounty and make cautious, judgment, guided by the principles of the Holy Qur'an and the teachings of the Holy prophet of Islam, Muhammad, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him.