Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Sri Lanka, we believe.

Assalamu ‘Alaikum,

In Sri Lanka, we believe.

These signs were everywhere in this beautiful country.

“They wanted almost two thirds of the country when their population was only less than 10%,” said Naushad. “But why?” I countered. “He didn’t want it to end, he was having such a good time with all the money coming in from sympathisers throughout the world. Truth is, he was in a dead end, he couldn’t end the war even if he wanted to, he was in such a fix,” Naushad described the options of the last rebel leader to succumbed in the country’s 30 year debilitating civil war. A thought running through my mind now is that the shape a country is in is inextricable from the leaders the people chose.

In the car from Bandaranaike airport they sent Khalid to pick me up, I was more diplomatically quiet than I usually was for I could not believe this was the capital of an Asian country in current times. I must say Jakarta impressed me more with its wide highways in the middle of the city and huge European style buildings with much character, which belied local stories you hear at home about this metropolitan giant. Phnom Penh in a visit a decade ago was understandably backward in view of the tragedies which went on there in their recent history. But there was no reason for Colombo to freeze in time with buildings and shophouses that look no less older than the ones I saw in Phnom Penh. There was little evidence of the hectic mushrooms of buildings and skyscrapers you’d expect to see in a thriving Asian capital. Yes unquestionably in part the famous civil war which only ended in 2009, was much to blame but you can’t resist the thought that it has to be more than that. Naushad confirmed my thoughts that unimaginative country leaders was in large measure the reason for Sri Lanka’s seemingly frozen development.Enriching themselves on attainment of power, sidetracking the priority of development for the country. I thought to myself what a choice modern people now have.Which one is more preferable, a country with potentials clearly undeveloped with leaders enriching themselves albeit on a relatively subdued scale, or a country with a clearly developed potential but with leaders enriching themselves on a rather alarming scale.

This is the fate of humans when Quranic commandments is an irrelevance in matters that matter. I see these clearly now in this more mature stage of my life. For all the wisdom of the world the Quran never endorsed the democratic models modern nations now adopt. The Quran rather promotes a dictatorship of the pious. But Muslim leaders throughout the world have been robbed of this independence of thought guided by revealed Shariah, for they have subjugated their beliefs to that of Western correctness in all things. Why is the intellectual prowess the nation so need, the religion so thirst for, is locked and confined in the minds of towering academics only. Forgive my daydream and wish, for Professor Syed Naguib AlAttas, the Islamisation of knowledge pioneer, to be Prime Minister of a Muslim nation. Forgive my daydream and wish, that the late Ismail Faruqi, the Islamisation of knowledge co pioneer, is a current leader of any state one wish to choose in the Middle East. Time and again our system of choice of leadership does not unearth such gems to the pinnacle of a nation’s leadership. Islam promotes syura between leaders and the led, but always bai’ah of the pious in whom to lead. But seemingly to us this is medieval and is dismissed as not progressive as the religion of democracy we so subscribes to.

Similarly in the fields of economy and banking, the twin problems of SME’s denied help by the nation’s banking system, and the large army of unemployed graduates is present in every country one cares to name. Every country knows that over 80% of employment comes from SME’s, and every country knows SME’s contribute over 60% to the country’s GDP, but the banking system countries’ adopt favours financing to larger corporates only, with SME’s treated by banks generally as a nuisance which do not fit into their basic business plan. Interest based lending as their premise banks prefer to lend to large corporates, as this they can do with less worries and minimal manpower. SME’s demand banks’ continual attention and much human resources to monitor. Time and again conferences and brainstorms are held to find solutions to this famous SME problem, but the unwillingness of banks to abandon the premise of riba fails the search time and again. Abandonment of riba is merely a Quranic injunction which is not relevant in today’s modern society. Nobody believes that the solution to the SME dilemma is in the adoption of Quranic injunctions that promotes equity transactions instead of debt.

Similarly every nation produces an army of graduates without jobs every year. Again the Quran is never the place they seek to solve this problem. Nobody believes that the solution to the unemployed graduates problem resides in the same place as the SME dilemma described above,i.e in the adoption of Quranic injunctions. Dear God deliver me a country who believes for I tire of this world truly.

Class of ’72 Sulaiman House.

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