Be Like Adam's Son: CHAPTER SIX: LESSONS FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION

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I am aware that nothing but real events, visible to all those who have eyes to see, will drive home the idea. That is why I present here an example from recent history, as history is a great source of insight, for it provides the precedent. And it is God's will that men understand by moving about having their eyes and ears open to the lessons of what actually took place in the earth. It certainly saves people a lot of suffering, while disregarding history's facts will cost a very high toll.

Now to my example. It shows you how sober and informed thinking is the way to a better life, not the best, but better than what we usually see. As I present this I regret that for many men, the signs before their eyes have no meaning at all, a condition which the Qur'an scolds: "And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? yet they turn their faces away from them!" (12:105).

I refuse to disregard this experience, as millions of Muslims do. I do not remember to have come across an event like this, anywhere in history. It is so because those who undertook to design and execute it have taken very good care of its foundations and its objectives. They were well aware of the terrible suffering that they received and that was still alive in their memories. What I am writing about is the European Union.

I have every reason to say it was unprecedented. It does not deter me that some Muslims will mock me and say: "What is this! Are you so fascinated by the Europeans?" But I do not work here on the basis of love and hate. For to proceed on the basis of love and hate will not help us see what is good and useful on the one hand, and the bad and useless on the other. It is also more usual for people to accept wholesale or to reject wholesale.

We have a long way to go before we can reward people for the good they do, and just turn a blind eye to their misbehavior. What can you do when the people with the distinguished accomplishments are few and the froth is so thick? You are bound to say to the achiever: "Well done!" But the others' achievement has thrown us in a state of bewilderment and despondency. And history is there to charge us high for our ignorance, as everybody has seen in the Gulf war. But history can be kind, too. It is willing to offer its lessons free of charge. If you just go to history and ask for its lessons, it will be a dedicated teacher, but if you refuse, then it has its other ways of rendering its service.

And even after you have paid dearly for your misconduct, be sure not to pay for it once again. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has warned us against this, "A believer will not be bitten twice from the same hole." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim) However, we seem to need more than one war, and in the same way, to learn; but learn we must and will. One good thing about the last war is that some people seem to think more and analyze more; and people do not just condemn the politician for it. It is like the violent storm that uproots so many trees, though water will be seeping silently into earth to water new plants.

But the Europeans had paid more for their experience, hundreds of millions in two world wars. There must be a lot of things written about their union, how it was devised as a transaction, with profits and losses calculated carefully. There must be comparisons between this even-handed transaction and the former attempts by men like Napoleon and Hitler who sought, most violently, to unite Europe, reaping nothing but havoc and devastation. This is the way of coercion which the Qur'an warns us against. But they learned to give up the wrong-headed way, and chose a well-guided way. It is the 'equity' that we find in the Qur'an, "O People of the Book! Come to common terms between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him." (3:64) The Europeans' is the solution in which no one is humiliated, all sides are winners, and no one loses his/her fortune or position; their wealth will rise collectively. Their status, inside and outside, will rise.

Is it not an event that we witness in this world, and before our eyes? So it is for us now to have eyes and ears, and the Qur'an keeps reminding us that eyes should exercise their vision, and ears should exercise their hearing. But do not be desperate if you find Muslims incapable at the moment of hearing and seeing, for this is not a permanent condition. We must be part of the solution, by helping them see and hear, and not part of the problem. And there is no effort done in the right direction but will help us get there.

Are you willing to bear with me? Remember that the target is building a new world! It only needs that we heed with open ears, and look with open eyes. Remember, too, that many have undergone a lot of laborious efforts to get us where we are; and so, let us accept the weariness that it takes us push the carriage along the road. We can imagine an objective like that of Jalal al-Deen al-Rumi's, who aspired, with his Mathnawi, to transform the whole world. He definitely did his share, and his work still bears its fruit. So did Iqbal have a tremendous impact on the world, and will have more. Such precedents help me go ahead, despite all my incapacity.

What I am trying to tell the world is that there is a new dawn; the West is ready for this dawn, the dawn of equity, after they had paid dearly for all the folly of the past. And I am trying to get to the depth of the Muslim soul – among Muslims, it was the mystic sufis who penetrated there, and tried not to stop at the signs and outer appearance. They did their best to probe to the motives and the nooks and crevices of the soul and the contents of the minds. It is the mercy of God that He wants us to learn from past experiences, so that we do not undergo pain twice for the same experience. There are pains that can be spared; so why have unnecessary pain? Psychologists remind us that we bear many burdens that we do not need to bear, that if we succeeded in unburdening ourselves of those burdens we would be in better shape to face new problems. Indeed, the prophets came to remove many of our fetters and burdens. The idea is that with less burdens we can tackle life's problems more effectively. But what prevents people from choosing this less costly way?