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The State of Our Muslim Nations

Police brutality is common in Pakistan.On the other side of the spectrum we see not as much apparent violence and fear, but a hidden and pervasive moral corruption. Saudi Arabia, a country that so boldly calls itself an Islamic country, is suffering from severe “we want to be Western” fever.

Police brutality is common in Pakistan.With my recent travels to two self-proclaimed “Islamic” countries, I began to ponder how we as a Muslim nation have put down and given no value to our beautiful religion. To be called an “Islamic” or “Muslim” country, in my opinion, is pretty honorable. It should mean that your country is run on pure Muhammadan principles and values, core Islamic ethics, and fairness and equality – none of which I saw within my last month of living in these nations. Unfortunately, many people still think that “back home” is much better for our children, and that Western countries are spoiling them and causing them to go astray. Societal ills are everywhere and can only be combated by a proper Islamic upbringing and home or community environment. The issue arises when communities or countries claim to be running and living by Islamic law, while Islam is nowhere to be found in these places.

My first stop was actually in Dubai, UAE. As you walk through the airport, you may see a man dressed in traditional Arab clothing sipping wine, ads just as provocative as in the Western world, and not much symbolism of Islamic values.

The city of Karachi was a different story. In the busiest city located in the “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan, men are busy staring at women, women are busy buying far from modest clothing, and government officials are busy sucking up to Uncle Sam, with no care of the extreme and severe poverty and social classes gap that they have caused their country. Ads on TV show famous singers dancing with women promoting cell phones, text messaging services, or the latest skin lightening cream, all happening as the faint sound of the Adhan can be heard in the background. These are small things, some people may say. Of course, not all the people in these “Islamic” countries are falling into the decadence of the times, but I can wholeheartedly say the majority of the population is. Stealing phones and wallets is more than common, and unfortunately, so is murder by the police or by locals. People are scared to go out of their homes in fear of being mugged, robbed, or beat up. Common courtesy is a joke.

On the other side of the spectrum we see not as much apparent violence and fear, but a hidden and pervasive moral corruption. Saudi Arabia, a country that so boldly calls itself an Islamic country, is suffering from severe “we want to be Western” fever.

I was so excited that I would be able to find proper modest clothing to bring back with me from an “Islamic” country. Instead I find myself having to get my clothes stitched, because every store sells nothing but improper hijabi clothing. If hijab and the abaya were not a requirement, then I think it would look like another UAE or America in terms of the way women dress.

It’s not only about dress and clothing and looks. Islam defines its followers based on their piety and behavior. A believing brother or sister simply smiling gives reward and comfort to each other. Well, no smiles here. Instead you see angry faces, angry drivers, and mean looks. And just to mention, customer service is a no-go.

I was with my husband at an authority office for international visitors and investors, etc. We went inside, to be greeted by an empty receptionist’s desk, and two empty cubicles. One man sat in his office with a client, noticed we were there, but to no avail. We sat for a good amount of time until finally when we saw human life, he told us to try the other side of the building. The other side of the building was a room filled with maybe 200 people waiting to get their paperwork and things done by the two or three people sitting behind the desks. We headed back and decided I would go into the office dedicated to ladies only. I rang the bell, staring into the mirror door. My husband stood off to the side, and in the background against the wall was an employee, nametag and all, taking a smoke break, watching as I stood there for a good 10 minutes. Rang the bell again, and again. Looked for a sign that said closed, or back in 15 minutes, or anything. Soon there appeared two young women in abayas, tightly clad in Western style skinny jeans and convertible hijabs, abayas hanging closed by a button, flying in the wind. They stood with me for a good 3 to 4 minutes, snickered something in Arabic and giggled as they both were staring dead at me through their huge fancy sunglasses, turned around to be greeted by the employee on the smoke break who asked them what they needed and was more than happy to help them. He told them to go to some other office on the other side, and turned back around and went into the building. I guess my husband and I put on too much invisible cream that morning.

Since then, it really hurt me to think that this is the state of our “Islamic” countries. Basic courtesy and kindness, which are the essence of Islam, are nowhere to be seen. Muslims have become immune to rude behavior, and it is as if that little voice in the back of their heads no longer asks them: “How do you think saying/doing this might make the person feel?” This happening in the lands where our dearest Holy Prophet Muhammad and his Family (peace be upon them all) walked, talked, gave advice, and taught manners and beautiful etiquette to the followers of Islam?

These same messages were then passed over time to different corners of the world, to countries and cities and villages, but unfortunately our Ummah has put his words in the trash. There is no explanation, there is no justification. When our own “Muslim” countries cannot follow, embrace, and respect Allah and Islam, how can we expect others to?

Islam is perfect. If you want “Islam” in your country’s name, then please make sure you are trying to be perfect too.

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  • fahd

    agree wid first para of ur article, rest was i must say very ordinary…. and typical, typical of certain society i belong to ๐Ÿ™‚
    and yes our islam starts and ends with how other ppl dress themselves and what they drink and eat, and that actually decides if they are a good muslim or not, i would ask for forgiveness from my God to actually be judging someone for what they do wid their lives as its God job to decide who he likes and who he forgives not mine, i can only be kind to ppl around me and spread the msg , , we really dont have to be that judgemental, and not always have to play God, your article seems to be start with what clothes ppl wear and what they drink….and as far as corruption and other manner related things you have mentioned.. they are more related to financial situation of country, bring education and economy to any part of world and stability will come there and everything will be fine..and yes if we are not going to stop criticizing each other for how we dress and what we do, we’ll never be able to go anywhere , and trust me we’ll remain as shallow as we are now ๐Ÿ™‚ the thing is we so called muslims who actually never bother to do real resarch tend to emulate and congratulate ourselves over little things, stereo typing things like beard..if someone is shaved hez less of a muslim.. if someone doesnt wear hijab she is a devil… well i’m sorry we are just shallow ๐Ÿ™‚ and we deserve to be where we stand today

    • Dot

      Actually, the Qur’an says that enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is mandatory. Also, the traditions back this up. We are told that if we see something wrong we should change it with our hand, and if we can’t do that then we should speak out against it, and if we can’t even do that we should at least feel bad.

      You, on the other hand, are claiming the author of the article is being judgement. Why you judge her yourself! And you really have no backing from any Islamic source to be saying that we should not criticize anything. Again, that is very ironic considering that you yourself are criticizing the sister!

      You want to turn this into a whole stereotyping thing, when it is patently obvious that the sister is just calling for a general improvement, which you also seem to agree is in order. The fact that you can’t appreciate and do the same thing you say is blameworthy is more indicative of your arrogance than anything incorrect in her statements.


      • fahd

        Yes it is pathetic… and i have seen the result with current state of affairs in countries like pakistan where everyone seems to be have been sent to earth especially by God to make sure others live by the same beliefs that they have for their own…and are willing to killing each other with their HAND too, then go ahead enjoy lovely peaceful society…create a suffocated society where everyone becomes a hypocrite and only pretends to be something that they are not…because dear if you can use yoru HAND then so can i ๐Ÿ™‚ may be the west things we are doing something WRONG, then do you think by their standards they have the right to use HAND ?????? anyways in the end only God is the real judge ….and he is the creator and im sure he loves all his creations and perhaps one of the main reasons so called islamic societies havent been able to prevail is primarly because we are more into forcing ppl for what we beleive in … may be im wrong but i think islamic society can only be created wid real muslims in it not by mere creating islamic laws :s which we are so fond of creating.. to hide behind the curtain ๐Ÿ™‚ anyways ..

      • fahd

        the thing is my friend you cannot force your beliefs to anyone and not by hand definitely… coz then you are justifying the act of west when the kills muslims like insects.. coz they simplly think we are evil ๐Ÿ˜‰ and may be we are who knows … !!!! or may be just being muslims makes us angels ??? well only in our head..and then may be west also thinks burqa is bad thing, then techincally its also right..well i dont know …but i think there is a reason.. why we muslims are in depths of misery…we are so fond of thinking we are better then others.. ๐Ÿ™‚ and we are the only one God loves.. infact on the factual side we have become trash.. of world…i mean look at saudia , which is like most sacred land.. and im sure its in quran too that women cant drive… anyways its a never ending….

        • Dot

          It’s so funny … you keep saying you hate all kinds of stuff that you yourself are doing. I don’t have to apologize for telling you that your thinking is wrong because I believe it’s a good thing to point out the correct path, but you who say it’s bad behavior are doing the same thing! Otherwise, you would be quiet and not tell anyone that their approach or thinking is wrong. That is nifaq (hypocrisy).

          We are not talking about misusing the name of Islam for certain agendas. We are talking about being proud of who we are and embracing the good from our traditions while rejecting wrong thinking. The issue of what people think Western countries doesn’t even have anything to do with this.

          If you are going to raise the issue of Pakistan and Saudi, then know that those are two of the most screwed up countries in the world. If you are going to base your ideas of Islam simply based on what you see there, rather than on the Qur’an, the Prophet and His Ahlul-Bait, well, that is completely AGAINST Islam and VERY shallow.

          You are one of the most confused people I have come across on this site. Your English is so bad I can hardly understand what you’re saying. And you come across as having zero knowledge about Islam. Please fix yourself before giving others advice, or do you not actually believe in such a concept?

  • Author


    Fahd, I am sorry that you feel my article came across as judgmental. That was not the purpose at all. These were just mere observations I made during my trip in which I compared to what Islamic teachings are.

    I most definitely agree that with education and economy will come stability, but before even education there is humanity and kindness. Even a little child who is not educated will learn to say “thank you” or will begin to feel some ounce of sadness when they see another child crying, or someone being hit/beaten up, etc…it seems these feelings of empathy and acts of kindess have left these so called Islamic nations, educated or not.