The State of Our Muslim Nations

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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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