Masood N. Khan M.D.
It is a wake up call; not in the sense that Muslims should think if the humiliating defeat of ISIS was an affront to Islam and therefore a call for them to reorganize with more vigor and a stronger come back. No! It is about shaking them out of a misinterpreted and abused Islam that they have been clinging to, in order to subsist their foolishly euphoric self-righteousness – a kind of psychosis that has trickled down into masses from their so called scholars who thrive on this “feel good” psychology that they instill in the ignorant masses. Most of these scholars are rigid and literalist in their understanding of Islam, creating in their followings a deadly combination of rigidity and self righteousness. Unfortunately it is a global affliction and ISIS has been its text-book example. No other event of pheromonic nature, in the modern history, has distressed and embarrassed Muslims more than the ISIS phenomenon.
In ISIS defence, there were of course many understandable factors contributing to its messianic origin. The ones that should not escape attention are the following:
1. An unjust attack on Iraq killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that the world watched silently and let go unpunished until today.
2. An insensitive and irresponsible absence of post war plan on the part of attackers that left the country in bloody and destructive chaos, a trashy and sub-human treatment of Iraqis underscoring insult to injury.
3. The criminal behavior of the captors with the prisoners at Abu Ghoraib.
4. The way the Sunni Muslims who held reigns of governance until yesterday, were mercilessly thrown under the bus with no recourse: besides terrible economic hardships, they were assaulted and killed by Blackwater mercenaries and Shia militias.
5. A heightened sense of rebellion and resistance among young Muslims (in the background of Arab Spring) affected by the events as they were unfolding in Syria next door.
At the global level, Muslims’ reaction to ISIS which at the onset appeared to be an uprising of Sunni Muslims, was understandably sympathetic to start with. However it passed through phases from initial understanding and sympathy to discomfort as news of their excesses started coming in, and then to total disgust, dismay and disapproval.
Wishing You A
Blessed Ramadan and
A Happy Eid
The case of Iraqi Sunnis in post war period was such a mockery of all the claims of civilized world, much less the charters of the United Nations and the dictates of international law. It had all the elements of injustice that one can name, from denial of human rights to bloodshed of the innocents. It is therefore understandable that the origin of ISIS was a desperate and explosive reaction to such injustice done boldly and shamelessly in broad daylight in front of a stunned world. One would think that with such legitimate an origin, there was no reason it should have faced defeat. On the contrary it should have received full support from the world, for it stood for a fight against injustice, resistance to invasion and occupation and a desire to restore peace and order order. For such valid goals there should have been no difficulty at all to mobilize world opinion in its favor. Yet something went wrong at the very inception of this movement which led to its shameful failure: that something was Islam.
Yes it was Islam, but not the real Islam. It was the Islam which Muslims have unfortunately come to believe and practice, contrary to the one, brought by their Prophet. It has sickeningly pathological ingredients that make Muslims behave in a way that is sure to lead them to failures. To name a few, they have an abnormal obsession with the past glories of their history and a stupid belief that these can be regained by blind taqleed of the times bygone, they have reduced the message of guidance to a rigid implementation of dos and donts with no wisdom, they have a delusional sense of self-righteousness and self-assurance that God’s help one day will smash away any opposition. Why such failure-prone ingredients exsist in Muslims’ mindset is a question that needs thorough reflection and research. In my opinion two factors have played a major role:
1. A perpetually transmitted traditional interpretation of Islam and the scholars that it produces who keep up a vicious cycle of delusions with, and denials of modern day realities.
2. A critical mass of Muslims that mentally has enslaved themselves into unquestioned following of their scholars to the degree that they have lost their mental faculties for as it goes “use it or lose it”. We can see the proof of this, in the frequent applauses from thousands of Muslims at the nonsensical assertions of their scholars in their speeches.
The humiliating defeat of ISIS should help Muslims realize that God’s help is not extended to foolish ideas and stupid actions. Yes there is such a thing as divine help. For Muslims to deserve it they have to use the cause and effect system wisely by tying the camel with rope and then trusting in God.
When ISIS started as a movement “The Caliphate” was made its harbinger. The reasons at the psychological level were obvious. There is generally a sense among Muslims that Caliphate is a divinely-ordained system and a foundation for divine help. For them it also answers their desire to relive the past with its geographical expansionism.
Obviously with the announcement of Caliphate, ISIS was most probably in an euphoric fit and a “feel-good” ecstasy. May be it was psychologically very healing for them but as is the case with any psychiatric illness it starts with a healthy defensive reaction which then gets so damagingly and unrealistically exaggerated that it becomes a sickness. This euphoria of Caliphate also had similar symptomatology. In fact, there is no divinity attached to Caliphate, for it is neither divinely-ordained nor guarantor for devine help. There is no mention of Caliphate in Qur’an as a political structure. It is simply a system of governance which like any other system has some merits and also demerits, and of course, room for improvement. When Muslims introduced this system of governance they were actually ahead of their time because the world was either still under the oppressions of uncivilized aurocracies or under wildly paganistic tribalism. Muslims failure lies in their hypnotic indeference to this system and lack of efforts to develop it to a model system for the modern time.
Muslims need to change.
ISIS’ humiliating defeat has certainly exposed the dangerous vulnerabilities of Muslim mindset. They are very alarming and warrant deep reflection and change. They are:
1. Muslims should become broad minded and flexible.
2. They should be inclusive, loving and caring towards mankind in general.
3. They should stop living in the past and sincerely try to understand how the world has changed.
4. They should know the difference between imitating the Prophet and following him so that they have the wisdom to use his recorded sayings responsibly and wisely.
5. The educated among Muslims who have acquired greater understanding of the changing world by virtue of their secular education should speak up against regressive and frozen-minded scholars and make them irrelevant.
6. They need to focus more upon their correction and improvement than relishing a delusional sense of self-righteousness that makes them blind to their own shortcomings.
7. They should have the wisdom and strategy to fight against injustice and oppression and exploitation effectively.
8. They should stop blaming others for their mistakes and stop enjoying conspiracy theories.
9. They should understand that the directive principles of morality given in Quran are the essence of their deen not hairsplitting rules of Fiqh.
10. They should be extremely generous and charitable towards those who are deprived and down trodden and promote an economical system that is generous and free of exploitation and greed.
11. They should have courage to hold their leaders accountable.
12. They should work to establish a system of government which gives credence to human rights, human dignity, to justice and fairness.
Hope the humiliating defeat of ISIS serves Muslims a wake-up call.