The Gaza Tragedy and the Role of Muslim Leaders


Muslim Leaders betraying Gaza, before and now merely condemning Israel is not enough. They need to take serious action and avoid committing the same mistakes of the past. Indulging in Western political culture is gonna lead to more destruction within the Muslim world. Right now, Gazans are receiving support from around the world. Right actions will yield great results.


As the Gaza tragedy unfolds, it is increasingly becoming clear that it is the Muslim world, not Gaza, that is caged. It is the Muslim world, not Gaza, that is controlled. It is the Muslim world that needs more help and remedy than Gaza.

Regardless of the extent of the monstrosity of the West-Israel axis of evil, Gaza and its valiant people never give up their most valued assets: honour and dignity. They live whatever form and amount of life they are given to the fullest. In terms of fulfilling the obligations of both earthly and celestial realms. They possess their ideals, they abide by them, and, when necessary, they are willing to protect and sacrifice their lives for them.

Unlike the Muslim Leaders, the people of Gaza do exactly what Islam mandates us all to do. As an exemplary community, they are standard-setters. They are inspiration to posterity. People ought to rise above the confines of shallow worldly concerns and live for the draws of a higher plane of existence. No matter what Israel throws at them the people of Gaza stand strong against them.

Time to Choose Honour

They must end their servitude to the demands of the material world and their own vanity. They should start dedicating, their precious as well as short lives to the exigencies of a higher order of meaning and experience. The people of Gaza are virtuous, principled, brave, steadfast and self-respecting. They are everything the members of the so-called civilized world are not.

Gazans are the gem of the whole planet.

It is only them - it follows - who are truly enlightened and civilized. The rest of the world are villains, self-deluded wretches, or hypocrites. There is a perfect blueprint for living a perfect life in the ontological sense of the word. A person is to live in order to live more and better, not in order to die and be relegated into oblivion. Time and again, the case of Gaza forced the international community to confront its own sense of guilt and disgrace.

Muslim Leaders Betraying Gaza, before and now

Unfortunately, the Muslim ummah (community) does not fare better. Historically, nobody took Palestine away from Muslims. They lost it to the jaws of the monsters of Zionism and the West. The former being the latter’s “bastard child” in the form of a Frankenstein-esque geopolitical entity.

As per a more scathing assessment, Muslims – (mis)guided by their governments and other leaders - gave Palestine away.

Now that it is clear that there is yet a chance for atonement, that the present and unprecedentedly vicious tragedy in Gaza is the opportune moment to take action and regain a sense of honour. Muslim Leaders keep displaying that they made no progress whatsoever for the people of Gaza. They are still incompetent, hypocritical and useless when confronted with genuinely challenging situations.

The only thing they can muster is talking, lamenting and accusing. This is embarrassing because, when facing existential crises such as the one in the brotherly Gaza. This is the level of a coward and those who are weak, vanquished and not taken seriously. Muslim leaders need to realize it's not a tragedy but a lesson.

Moreover, that is the behavioural pattern of one who is restrained and fully controlled – above all spiritually and mentally – and dares not go beyond what has been prescribed for him. The effects of the humiliating actions of such a one by no means can exceed the hedges of his mental and spiritual imprisonment.

Tragedy of Gaza

That is why – again – it is Gaza that is free and honourably does what it has to do, not the rest of us who are the fugitives-from-their-own-consciousness and are capable of dishonourably doing only what commanded. Honestly, everyone is tired of these reactions issuing from Muslim governments, which yield no results whatsoever. One wonders how they themselves do not get tired of their ineptitudes and failures.

As a maxim goes to the effect that insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. At any rate, if anybody needed a context to understand the profound meaning of the Prophet’s supplications to Almighty Allah to guard him against the iniquity of cowardice (al-jubn), apathy (al-kasal) and debilitation (al-‘ajz) – he needs not look beyond Gaza and how the Muslim Leaders responds to it.

Merely condemning Israel is not enough

Everyone knows that neither mere words - however “harsh” - nor condemnations of any kind mean anything to the evil of Israel and its cohorts in the West. They have become immune to any reasonableness and moral accountably. Having been doing similar things for more than a century - the Britain-sponsored Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, after which a pandemonium was set in motion – theirs is a culture of oppression, history-distortion and bloodshed.

Nobody can deny that more is needed to set the record straight in Gaza (in Palestine) and liberate the oppressed. Now that the Gaza issue has reached the tipping point, the role of Muslim leaders (governments) will be critical. Without them, extremely little can be done. The scourge of Israel is sophisticatedly institutionalized; hence, dealing with it must be in a manner befitting  its character.

The Muslim public has demonstrated, emotionally and to some extent intellectually as well as spiritually, that they are ready to be reborn and led into a better future. They have likewise shown that they have courage and strength of character. A sleeping giant is primed for revival.

Attention to all Muslim Leaders!

Muslim governments, the ball is in your court - the time for meaningful change is now. Make amends for yourselves and those who have come before you, who have continually betrayed Palestine – and the Ummah. The clock is ticking. If not, the aroused Muslim sentiment could potentially be directed against you.

Boycott the destructive ideas and inappropriate values of the West. What can be done, we often wonder. The answer is straightforward: stop the rot by ending enslavement, or servitude, to the West. Muslim leaders, work on liberating yourselves and your peoples. It is only you who can legislate adequate reformist policies and implement comprehensive systems of change.

In a nutshell, abolish the paths and means that lead us to enslavement. Some of the most destructive means and paths, certainly, are Western education at home and abroad, Western media, Western values and Western pop-culture. The Muslim world has become one of the safest havens for these alien-to-Islam domains, which nevertheless are loaded with infinite hedonistic, nihilistic and agnostic often filthy tendencies.

Muslim leaders, there is a lot to do if one really wanted to do something. We all agree that military confrontations are the last resort. However, before that, what is needed is liberation of minds, purification of souls and establishing of life patterns whereby Muslim Islamically-inspired identities, value systems, cultures, traditions and histories are placed on the pedestal.

In short, save your sons and daughters. If the West through its proxy, Israel, keeps devouring Gaza, it does the same to the rest of us (our minds and souls) through its destructive ideas and inappropriate values which, at the end of the day, we willingly keep importing and consuming. Work on boycotting these and save, to some extent, your face.

The creation of the concept of “civilization’

This begs the question of how Muslims have come to this nadir? The origins of the predicament can be traced to two persons: first, Adam Ferguson (d. 1816) - a Scottish philosopher and historian of the Scottish Enlightenment – who in 1767 published a book titled “An Essay on the History of Civil Society”; and second, Victor de Riqueti Marquis de Mirabeau (d. 1789) - a French economist – who in 1763 published a book titled “Philosophie Rurale.”

What is special about these two individuals and their seminal books is that they were the first in history to coin and articulate the concept of “civilization”. They did so in English and French respectively.

The new concept of “civilization” signified not only the description of an advanced stage of Western one-dimensional material development, but also a direction towards the future. Representing the advancement of Western inclusive social and cultural development as well as organization, civilization became synonymous with the material progress, corresponding state of mind, comfort, convenience and the overall dynamics of the Western standards of living.

To the West, that was the pinnacle of human evolution. It was the threshold of a terrestrial “promised land” of which all visionaries-cum-romanticists have ever dreamed. People stood on the verge of the end of history. Whatever the West did was avant-garde, and whatever it said was a revelation.

Hence, one of Adam Ferguson’s epoch-making statements were these words: “Not only the individual advances from infancy to manhood, but the species itself from rudeness to civilization.”

Colonization and civilization as twins

No sooner had the concept of “civilization” been created, than the West started to use it both as an objective and instrument of colonization, which towards the end of the 18th century was in full swing. The West felt “morally” obliged to take the rest of the world from the abyss of primitiveness and barbarism to the light of “civilization” (i.e., Western values and ways of life).

Thus, a new concept, “mission to civilize”, was born. It quickly morphed into the pillar of the “legitimacy” of colonization. In many ways, colonization was civilization and civilization colonization. They were virtually indistinguishable, oozing the same essence and performing identical functions. To be more precise, though, colonization facilitated the spread of civilization, which in turn, validated colonization.

One of the fathers of the concept of “civilization”, Adam Ferguson, said about this subtle relationship between civilization and colonization: “We are ourselves the supposed standards of politeness and civilization, and where our own features do not appear, we apprehend, that there is nothing which deserves to be known.”

Moreover, “And if our rule in measuring degrees of politeness and civilization is to be taken from hence, or from the advancement of commercial arts, we shall be found to have greatly excelled any of the celebrated nations of antiquity.”

West's Mission to Civilize

The objective of the marriage between colonization and civilization was to force the colonized to embrace - in the name of civilization - the laws, ideas, education, values, culture, socio-political systems, economic systems, language, art and architecture, of the colonizers, in order to render the colonized nations predictable and controllable.

The lives of the colonized victims had to be shaped in such a way that the colonizers could know everything about them: how and what they thought, what and how much they had of material and immaterial assets, the level of their expertise plus readiness, and generally all their strengths and weaknesses.

The colonizers could not afford to be taken by surprise, or to be outdone, with regard to any aspect of either colonization or civilization. It goes without saying that colonization spelled physical bondage and civilization its psychological and spiritual equivalents.

Muslims took the bait

In the past, the West was seen by Muslim leaders as an embodiment and home of Christianity (Christendom), which effortlessly presented itself as an obstacle to any serious cooperation with it. However, as the West was gradually shedding off its religious garb in favour of secular science. Along with enlightenment and industrialization, championing such attractive and at a first glance universally acceptable ideas as freedom, justice, prosperity, democracy and equality. These all in the name of the novel concept of “civilization”.

The West all of a sudden started emerging as not-so-distant or atypical. It soon became an alluring proposition. It was now possible to deal with the West, and be influenced by its progressive thought, without compromising the beliefs and traditions of Islam. This need for the increasingly “attractive” West was generated by the decline of Islamic civilization which had been caused by Muslim disunity and the degeneration of the Muslim mind.

Tragedy or Disarray ?

Like never before, the Muslim world was in disarray. It was breaking up into fragments with novel political ideologies and average political, plus intellectual, protagonists routinely emerging on the regional socio-political scene. They were in a bitter contention, desperately trying to outdo one another and to establish an ostensible legitimacy for their claims by whatever justifiable or otherwise means.

However, with the increasing Westernization and professed empowerment due to the alignments with the West, more intense alienations and deeper divisions were taking place internally, which in turn called for more external influences and even interferences in order to smooth over tensions. The situation resembled a vicious circle, akin to being stuck in a quagmire with no means of escape. The more one strove to improve his condition, the more inextricably entrapped he became.

Undeniably, Islam and Muslim leaders found themselves at a critical juncture. But due to various political and ideological divisions, little were Muslims able to do. The majority of Muslim leaders were busy with themselves, investing everything they had in securing or preserving their own positions and warding off at once internal and external oppositions.

Help from the West

In doing so, most of them sought help from powerful Western players.  The initiative assumed the forms of purchasing weapons, modernizing armies, modernizing education and other socio-political systems, engaging human resources, acquiring protection and intelligence sharing.

In his book titled “The Emergence of Modern Turkey” Bernard Lewis wrote in the context of the decline of the Ottoman (Osmanli) Empire and its attempt to remain afloat by means of embracing Western civilization, that the whole process started with adopting European weapons, continued with inviting European advisers, and ended with admitting all the new ideas and institutions that underlie the modern state and army.

With “civilization” came the loss of freedom and dignity

In other words, Muslims wanted to extract themselves from the hole they had dug for themselves by means of buying into the Western concept of “civilization”, which in the end forced Muslims either into a form of physical colonization or a form of its spiritual counterpart.

Either way, civilization and its progress were used as a smokescreen for attacking every positivity associable with Islam and its not only religious, but as well worldly legacies.

History stands witness to Muslim Leaders

History is witness that as far as Muslims are concerned, the mission either to be civilized by the West or to become self-civilized in accordance with the Western standards of development. The situation kept going from bad to worse. So much so that almost a couple of centuries later, Muslim leaders had virtually nothing to show for their coveted or imposed following of the Western civilization paradigm.

As a result, Muslims were some of the fiercest nationalists, fiercest communists, fiercest socialists, fiercest capitalists, fiercest materialists, fiercest consumerists and now fiercest liberalists. However, their overall condition never really improved. They remained alienated from themselves and everything that was truly theirs.

Muslim Leaders were to be found nowhere on the map of the movers and shakers of world orders. They were not even close to any of the global corridors of power, not to mention being taken seriously in any of the global decision-making processes.

This means that by virtue of pursuing “civilization”, Muslim Leaders became entrapped in the snares of Western imperialism and its eternal desire to manipulate and also control. The curtailing of the autonomy of Muslims had been established long ago. The vicissitudes in their state of entrapment during the past 150 years or so signified nothing more than the continuous subjugation. Nothing changed except the modes and intensities of the condition.

Drawback of Muslim Leaders Past Actions

The West in the Gaza theatre has revealed its true colours. Many Muslims will be happy to start thinking and acting on their own, but to no avail. Completely incapacitated, our hands are tied and all access points have been shut off. It is becoming crystal clear to what extent the West has been successful in enslaving (“civilizing”) all of us.

We pose no problem whatsoever to them. That is because they know how and what we think, for they taught us; what we have and how much of everything, for they gave us; how capable we are, for they enabled us; and how competent we are, for they educated and trained us.

A dialogue between Rodolfo Graziani and Benito Mussolini

The gist of this relationship between “civilization”, on the one hand, and predictability and control, on the other, can be heard in the movie “Lion of the Desert” (1980). It features the atrocities of the colonization of Libya by Fascist Italy. The conversation takes place between Rodolfo Graziani, an Italian general renowned for his military campaigns in Africa, and Benito Mussolini, the leader of Italy.

The general arrives in Rome from Libya to explain his failures to subdue the country and to discuss future steps. At one point the general says to Mussolini: “I do not seem to have an enemy to fight, yet their attacks are incessant. They have no form, if they had form I could meet them with form. They have no continuity of movement, no fixed points of position…”

Reading between the lines, as if the general was moaning to Mussolini that their enemy in Libya was unfamiliar, irregular, unpredictable. These factors make them undefeatable nor controllable. They had different mindset, followed different sets of rules and standards, rendering them a moving target. How the general wished that they behaved according to the principles of his (Western) model. How he wished that they were more “cultivated” and more “civilized.”

Why has nobody been able to conquer and rule Afghanistan?

And lastly, it has become the staff of legend that the country of Afghanistan in general and the Taliban as its most prominent contemporary religious, social and political force in particular, are unconquerable and uncontrollable. The country’s petrifying reputation is that it is the graveyard of empires.

When Harold Macmillan, the British Prime Minister (1957 to 1963), was handing over the prime minister responsibility to Alec Douglas-Home, his advised:

“My dear boy, as long as you do not (try to) invade Afghanistan you will be absolutely fine.”

Various reasons are for this status of Afghanistan, from geography and landscape to the country’s location. Moreover, the prevalence of tribalism and lawlessness are also the contributing factors. However, the real reason that encapsulates these factors, and breaks away from the pack, is that nobody managed to “civilize” Afghanistan.

Indeed, for the same reason does Gaza remain steadfast and perennially free. It refuses to be “civilized.”

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