Mumbai……….a mix of people, cultures and faiths. A site for the Pharaohs of our times and the Davids of the past. It is the Ainjalut of the present.
It is the crossroads where the haves meet the have-nots. Where the righteous meet the idol worshippers, where the poor have nothing left to loose, where ethics, morality and faith have become marketable commodities, where the worlds billionaires live, and where money, affluence and comfort blinds the haves to the misery, pain and anguish of the have-nots.
This is Mumbai……….beloved to many, steeped in history and the recipient of many invaders, but never an invasion from within until now.
The wife of one of the previous American ambassador’s to India said “when I alighted at the airport of Mumbai, I was appalled to see the ‘city of the pavement’, it seemed people lived there, slept there, had families there, got sick there and died there, unnoticed by all, however when I was returning to the States, I did not see them” When she was asked what happened to them? She said, “ they were still there, but I got used to seeing poverty and no longer noticed them”.
Sometimes one gun shot changes the course and events of history, (Austria and first world war) and this may be one of those events…….it may have been incited by a desire to pin blame on India’s neighbor (Pakistan) and to eventually have an excuse to invade it at its time of weakness and subjugate it after sixty years of what has been considered recalcitrance in the eyes of Indian power brokers.
However the bombing of an affluent hotel, well entrenched as a symbol of the rich and powerful in one of the most prominent cities of India, demonstrates the first crack in the power of the rich and the extent of the desperation of the poor and underprivileged of India.
This mix of poverty and oppression has perhaps been lit by the spark of faith or the torch of desperation, igniting the overflowing sewers of hate in the oppressed for their oppressors, the lids of which have been held tightly closed by the haves of society.
The tight stranglehold of the oppressiveness of caste discrimination (Untouchables), of female oppression even before birth (selective abortion of female fetuses) young wives being burned to death for not bringing enough dowry (Bride burning, a form of satee), of female children being married off (Bandit queen) and being abused by all, of closing the ranks of caste and making them irreversibly impenetrable (Brahmin by birth) by any form or method has been challenged by one fail swoop of a single gunshot into the protected confines of the palatial Taj of Mumbai. This impudence of the have-nots has shocked and enraged all the haves of India and the world.
The bombing of the Hotel that was the center of the rich and powerful has tipped the lid of the sewer of oppression that has been tightly held shut so far by the affluent, powerful, caste ridden Indian society.
The sad part in this scene is the loss of those lives, which were not directly responsible for this oppression.
Unfortunately all the people present in the hotel were bundled into one package. A package that was seen by the have-nots as the oppressors of the poor, the subjugators of women (even before they are born) and the fifth caste.
We as Muslims are commanded to help the oppressed and downtrodden, and yet those residing in the most powerful Muslim nations, collectively and individually have stood silent to the oppression of the weakest and those with no voice in India for a very long time……..and now what do they have to say other than finger pointing and stammering?
WHAT TO DO WHEN CALAMITY FALLS?
As a Muslim one must learn from every calamity and re-examine ones own self:
Here is what I was advised when a calamity befell me personally, and perhaps we can go through this exercise whether we are personally affected or not:
Questions to ask yourself and acts to do when calamity befalls:
1. Did I do anything wrong? As in being disobedient to Allah SWT?
2. Make lots and lots and lots of Istighfaar for our known disobediences as well as for all those sins and mistakes that we may not be aware of.
3. Give Sadaqa lots of it
4. Calculate and make sure that we have paid the complete Zakat that is due on us
5. Make Nawafil prayer and ask Allah SWT to help us and those in need.
6. Check to make sure your Rozee (sustenance) is halal, remove that part of the income that is suspect
7. Remove Riba from your dealings
8. Help the oppressed with what ever you have: Money Power, knowledge, intellect and Deen.
9. Remain silent, and when you speak, voice the truth, which has been tested against the criterion of the Quran. Do not voice accusations; pass judgments (condemn) people or places unless you have proof.
10. Make dua for yourself, and the Ummah for Allah SWT to give us the strength to follow his commands both in intention and action.
May Allah SWT help us follow through with the guidance He has sent us in the Quran and through Prophet Muhammad PBUH.