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A church pastor in a small American town was taken by surprise when he discovered some people in the community were planning to construct a liquor bar in front of his church. He immediately approached the concerned authorities with a request to stop the construction but the latter found no convincing justification.
The pastor then challenged the authority for issuing the permit, but he discovered all the conditions required for the construction were met by the owners. He then offered to buy the bar, but his request was turned down. The pastor then turned to the faithful and the town’s pious people to pray to God to send lightning and thunder to burn the building.
On a stormy night, the building was struck by lightning and was destroyed. When the owners saw what had happened, they filed a lawsuit against the church and demanded compensation from the pastor under the pretext the prayers were answered by God. The pastor was cornered because if he denied the prayers had nothing to do with the destruction, it means he was aware of the futility of prayers and if he admitted that the destruction was caused because God answered the prayers, he had to pay compensation.
However, what happened in the end is not important here. On the indicator of developed nations our Arab and Muslim countries are at the bottom. Unemployment and illiteracy are widespread and almost all of us complain of lack of political freedom, free press and a decent life. We also complain about the shortage of schools and hospitals, at some places lawlessness rules the roost. We still follow the rules and regulations of the ‘Middle Ages’ era.
These countries also complain of religious fragmentation, sectarian strife, hatred and violence which are deep-rooted in our culture and through the issuance of thousands of fatwas that has spread hatred and divided the people.
Our reality now is more miserable than our past and our future looks bleaker than one can expect. All Arab countries and a majority of the Muslim nations, import all their needs from abroad, especially from the Crusader and the infidel Western countries, including China, Korea, Japan and India because they are incapable of doing anything.
All our medicines and medical equipment come from these countries, and the same applies to food, clothing and other needs.
In spite of our miserable conditions, total backwardness and industrial failure and failure to meet the daily needs of our peoples, which has been the case for ‘centuries’, through our loudspeakers installed on the minarets of the hundreds of thousands of mosques and hundreds of television channels we curse our enemies, the Zionists, the infidels, and the Crusaders and those who toe their line.
We also pray to God to ‘destroy’ them, not to bless them, make their children orphan, their women widows and burn their plants, but they are unaware that if their plants burned down, it will bring us disaster before them, because for example, Egypt, will not find a supplier of wheat. If God answers the prayers of the Arabs and Muslims and the West perishes then there will be no life, no civilization, no progress, medicine and clothing. We will sleep naked. No one will buy our oil or tobacco, and we will not find anyone to make fabric of our clothes. Unemployment will prevail in our homelands and our problems shall double tenfold, perhaps a thousand-fold.
Therefore, we must ask why our countries turn a blind eye to abuses we shout from our mosques. What is the benefit of cursing or burning the plantations of the Christians, dismantling the Crusader and destroying a Western home? If these supplications are meaningful and eventually acceptable, we are killing ourselves with our hands. If these are just words, why are we silent?
■ Note: One thousand dinars have been donated to the Ruqayah Abdulwahab Alqatami Breast Cancer Foundation from the proceeds of the sale of my book in participation with the Thatalsalasil Bookshop.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf