I know this sounds unkind but I ask you to bear with me and think dispassionately.
The question in my mind with respect to the SBA is, ‘How do you show the colors of the rainbow to the one born blind?’
The reason I ask this question is because by definition we can only see (meaning understand) that which is in our experience. This ‘experience’ need not be personal alone. It can be the sum total of recent history, our reading, legends, and personal history. But by definition it is something that must already have existed in the recent enough past for traces of it to be ‘visible’. That is the reason, when Rome conquered Carthage they dismantled the city and sowed the soil with salt so that even the memory of Carthage would be wiped out. Once again by definition, you can’t re-create that which you don’t even remember.
That in a nutshell is where we are today as the Ummah of Rasoolullah (SAS). Not only have we lost the plot, we have even lost its memory. We have even forgotten what the plot looked like.
I didn’t create this situation that we Muslims find ourselves in. Neither did you. We both inherited it. But it is our choice whether we want to pass it on unchanged to our children or take a shot at changing it so that they’ll have a better legacy than we did.
So first let’s decide that. Or to put it more accurately, I’ll let you decide that. I have no children to pass it onto. الحمدلله.
Then let’s analyze our situation dispassionately and clearly. Below is my analysis.
1. The mess we’re in is the result of our leadership. Not despite it.
2. If our situation were the opposite of what it is, our leaders would have claimed the credit for it. And rightly so. So by the same logic, who must own responsibility for the mess?
3. But do you see that? What does that or should that tell you about our leaders?
4. In that case what would you say about anyone who talks about looking to the same leadership to change our situation?
5. Our leaders are either blind or corrupt or simply ineffective. They have no vision; strategy or road map. That’s entirely understandable because how can someone who has no goal, have a road map?
6. Our organizations; religious, political, educational or economic, have at best, partial solutions. They’ve confused activity for result. They have mindless followers like sheep and strongly discourage critical analysis.
7. Even new initiatives are all at best aiming at partial solutions which can’t change the future of this Ummah in a million years. That’s the reality no matter who dislikes hearing it.
8. The Ummah didn’t get where it is because we don’t have enough low quality engineers, journalists or MBA graduates. It got like this because we have low quality leadership. But that issue is not addressed at all. We are busy creating more and more of the same without a thought to even measuring the result of our own previous efforts to see what results they yielded.
9. But that is again understandable because to get the right answers we need to ask the right questions. Since nobody even thought of asking, ‘Why are we doing this work? What do we want as a result of it? What issue of the Ummah are we trying to solve?’ – any result looks good enough.
10. But ask, ‘Will this change the future of the Ummah? Will this give us the leadership which can lead us out of the morass that we are in? – and you will see the futility of current efforts in a second. But that of course only if your eyes are open and you want to see.
11. Therefore if we want a solution we have to think afresh. Old ideologies are bankrupt. Our leadership is brain dead. In the words of Einstein, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
12. That’s where SBA comes in. We’ve spent 12 years perfecting our stand and strategy. It’s not half baked or just passionate. Our passion is rooted in clear thinking, robust analysis and hard-nosed numbers.
13. We took so long to begin fund raising not because we’re lazy or stupid but because we wanted to be clear on our goal and strategy and not fall into the partial solution trap. Alhamdulillah now we’re ready to move.
14. Strangely the most often asked question that I have encountered – long before any questions about our vision, ideology, methodology and capability to deliver results, is, ‘Do you have the land?’ I told someone who asked me this question just yesterday, ‘The only thing for which land is a requirement is the grave.’
15. Alhamdulillah the SBA is a unique concept the like of which not only doesn’t exist anywhere but which has not even been proposed in the past century. If you need convincing find me a project report like ours.
The key question to ask yourself is, ‘Does this vision excite me to the extent that I am willing to put all that I have in pursuit of it even when I don’t see the results in my own lifetime?’
My brothers and sisters,
There was a time when one day on a very hot, blistering afternoon, a man went from tent to tent in the expanse of Mina and saying to the people, ‘Say there is nobody worthy of worship except Allah and be successful.’ All of them turned him away. Tired, he stopped to catch his breath in the scanty shade of a rock near his own tent.
His daughter came out of the tent and wiped his face with a damp cloth and said, ‘O! My father, what are they doing to you?’ He looked at her with total confidence and said, ‘My daughter, don’t grieve. A day will come when this message will reach every human dwelling, temporary or permanent.’
I ask you my brothers and sisters, if you were to look for a more unrealistic dream; I bet you can’t find one. But then arose a group of men and women who not only believed in this impossible dream but they invested everything they owned; all their money, talent, energy, time and lives to make this dream come true. Many died without seeing the result. Did you stop to ask what Khadeejatul Kubra (RA) saw? Or what Mus’ab bin Umair (RA) saw?
Or what Saad bin Mua’ad (RA) saw? Or what the parents of Ammar (RA), Yasir (RA) and his wife Sumaiyya (RA) saw?
They all invested everything they had and died long before there were any results to see. All that Khadeeja (RA) saw was defeat after defeat. But that didn’t shake her faith by one iota. It was this faith which turned the tide.
And those who lived, saw the doors of the super powers of the time, Rome and Persia, open to the message of Muhammad ibn Abdillah (SAS). Those who lived, witnessed not individuals and groups, not villages and towns but entire countries enter Islam.
Those who lived were witness to the truth of the Word of their Rabb when He said:
إِذَا جَاء نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ
وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا
فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا
But that happened by the Will of Allah only because there were those who believed in the message, unseen and worked with complete dedication to make it come true –
EVEN WHEN THERE WERE NO SIGNS THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN.
Just wanted to clarify the issues because you’ll face such questions. We’ve been fielding them for the past many years and it is only natural to lose patience but I guess we have to remind ourselves that we’re trying to explain the color of the rainbow to those who’re blind. So it’s not easy.
May Allah help us all.