Saturday, February 5, 2011

Revolutionary passions flare in the Middle East

Recent weeks have been undeniably eventful for the Middle East, with implications that will be felt worldwide. The spark was lit in Tunisia, where the deplorable conditions prompted a young man named Mohamed BouAzizi to commit suicide [a taboo in Islam, showing the seriousness of the situation], prompting protests which led to the abdication of long time ruler Zayn ul'Aabideen Ben 'Ali. Following the Tunisian example, protests have followed against autocratic rulers and their policies in Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, even Mauritania to an extent, but the most noteworthy and the place which will have the most affects on the region is certainly Egypt, which has been the cultural center of the Arab world.

What are some lessons to learn from all this?

This question will be the basis for books, position papers, speeches and interviews for years to come, and observers from across every divide and perspective imaginable. In the mind of this writer, the most important lesson is that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.We don't have to sit back, claim helplessness and accept whatever is thrown in our direction.

This is a lesson applicable in any time, place or situation. Here in the USA, especially in Winter time, we complain about the continuing rise in fuel costs, in heating costs. In our personal lives, we accept certain things as unmovable realities. But, as demonstrated first by the Tunisians and now being exemplified by the Egyptians in Tahrir square, Alexandria and other spots, FAITH in God, FAITH in one's own abilities to observe, to make reasonable demands and to strive for change are the tools or the basis needed to generate something better in life.

The Qur'an itself states "Surely, God does not change the condition of a people UNTIL {Hattaa] they change what is in themselves." [Q 13:11]


This particular lesson is one that is actually very easy to overlook. That lesson is simply this- everything, even regimes and powerful bodies, have an end. The Qur'an states this as "And to every 'Ummah' [here, meaning power, society, regime, dynasty], a term limit has been granted." [Q 7:34]

While everything does truly have a limited time of existence, even as individuals, God also states in the Qur'an that in the end, real success does not belong to those who are oppressive, exploiters in the earth. [see Qur'an 6:21, 135, 12:23, and 28:37].

May Allah grant mercy and guidance to the people in Egypt, indeed, everywhere in the world where truth is standing against Dhulm and Baatil. May He grant us the ability to recognize that all have their beginnings and their endings, that none is permanent, except of course the noble presence of God. [Q 55:27]