Compiled by Rahila Aziz
“Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah)…” (Ar-Rad 13:11) There are certain important characteristics of nations excelling in this world. Their individuals are hardworking and systematic planners who value and manage time purposefully. They are perfectionists in every field. Picture a busy, civilized society with individuals leading purposeful lives.
We, as a Muslim nation, constituted such a society for a thousand years. We were world leaders and role models. We gave scientific discoveries to the world. We were honest in trade and well-behaved with our parents at the same time. So what happened? Where did we go wrong? We changed our inner self as an individual. Thus, Allah (swt) changed our exterior-self as a nation. We started looking forward to unscheduled holidays and stopped giving time its due importance. We formulated every system to cater to our lethargic lifestyle. We encouraged mediocrity and strongly discouraged excellence in work and perfection in time management.
We do not grieve the fact that we have become humiliated as a nation; the fact that exploited and oppressed nations like Japan and Germany are flourishing, and those, about whom Allah (swt) has specified that His wrath is upon them, are leading us by the nose. They are treating us, ‘the moderate nation’, as subservient! Let us give this a thought and see where the difference is.
As soon as the power was transferred from the Usmania Caliphate to the British rule, the first demand made by the Jews was for a university and a hospital. (What were our first steps after our independence?) Their demand was instantly accepted and the tallest mountain – Mount Scopus – was chosen for the building site. Why? It was to select only the most enduring and serious people for future planning. (What kind of sites do we choose for building our institutes?) Hebrew university was minting leaders of the future generation, who were not only skilled hard workers but also mentally compatible with the mission statement of Israel! (What kind of future leaders are our education institutes minting?) Hebrew was revived and made the official medium of instruction for all the subjects in the university. This was an anti-globalization technique, a means of blocking the penetration of foreign culture in the minds of their future leaders. (What is the medium of instruction in our educational institutes and what effect does it have on our future generations?)
Students of this exceptional institute were also exceptional. They thought of holidays as time-wasters, dragging them away from their duty and mission. (What are our feelings towards holidays?) Critics feared that such hard work was beyond human endurance and may result in negative results. The results were negative only for the opposition! In 1948, when Israel came into existence, teams of dedicated, skilled professionals were ready to take over every field of the state. (What kind of leaders did we inherit after our independence?)
Today, the gigantic campus of the Hebrew University is the hub of art, linguistic and social studies. The Givat Ram Campus is the center of science and technology. The environment of these institutes is educational and free of politics. The research work is of an international standard. The Jewish National and University Library is a jewel in the crown. It boasts a collection of 35 million booksIf Hebrew University is Israel’s brain, then this library is the blood flow needed to keep the brain alive, used by Israelite students and scholars. (How much effort do we put in building our libraries into national treasures?)
Foundations of a strong nation are laid in idealistic educational institutes, which require years of hard work by individuals, who have a clear mission statement and a habit of following good traditions religiously. Where will such individuals come from? “To educate a nation, educate the mother!” If we, as mothers, don’t change, the Muslim nation cannot change. Today, we have time for facials and manicures. We can attend wedding ceremonies till two in the night. But we are unable to exert ourselves for the sake of learning and education. When it comes to religion and gaining religious knowledge, we ask: why, what is the need? We can never revive the golden Muslim era, until the women of today wake up.