May 23, 2020

MALIGAWATTA STAMPEDE INCIDENT AND THE SRI LANKAN MUSLIM COMMUNIY TODAY

By IBN SULAIMAN. 

                  The Sri Lankan Muslim community must learn some lessons from this unfortunate incident. I feel very sorry for this philanthropic person who is caught up in this unfortunate incident. Should a kind-hearted person who has been donating for all Sri Lanka communities without any discrimination end up in jail for doing a charitable work under an unusual circumstance? This must be a unique legal case in Sri Lankan judicial history. Should a person with a good intention to give charity end up in jail? This is in fact, an unfortunate and ironic incident. It is not my objective here to examine the legal implications of this case. I am not a legal expert and yet, I appeal for a public clemency on this case. I think that 22 Million Sri Lankans will be happy to see him released as soon as possible.

              The Sri Lankan government must take some lessons from this unfortunate incident. More importantly, the Sri Lankan Muslim community must take some lessons from this incident. Three mothers die in this holy month just for less than $10 cash handout. This incident tells us a lot about our community and its social responsibility. I do not blame all those good people who have been helping poor people in Sri Lanka. I understand this incident took place under some unusual financial situations during this corona pandemic. I do not want to make a generalization on this issue to blame anyone. Yet, this incident tells us so many things about the irresponsible behaviours of the entire Muslim community towards of poor Sri Lanka. Zakat and related charitable rites are fundamental pillars of Islamic teaching. Of course, there are so many good hearts among Sri Lankan Muslim community to give charities.

             It is not a matter of giving charity. We give too much charity every year but, we have not developed any systematic mechanism to give charity. Today, everything is well organised in this modern world and yet, the Muslim community has failed to organise one of its religious duty for the 1400 hundred years.  There are some good Muslim economists who blame the institution of Zakat and other related Islamic financial institutions for economic malfunctions in Muslim communities today. It is not my objective here to bring all those arguments but, the entire Muslim community has failed to develop any good mechanism to institutionalise Islamic charities. These three Muslim ladies trampled to death during this stampede not because of their faults neither organisers nor these three ladies should be blamed for these deaths rather, we, the entire Muslim community must take the responsibility for these deaths. It is not my aim here to play with a blaming game or point a finger on any groups or any person. But this incident must open our eyes to develop some viable mechanism to execute the Institution of Zakat and other financial rites in a right and comprehensive way. 

            The responsibility lies on the shoulders of educated people among Muslim community. Allah will ask them on the day of Judgement about the death of these three ladies. Where does responsibility lie for the death of these three ladies.? My heart consciousness tells me that I cannot blame the organisers of this event.  It also tells me we cannot blame these ladies too. If so, who should take responsibility for these deaths?  The responsibility lies on the shoulders of some clerics who live on charities they get from oil rich countries to distribute to needy and poor. The responsibility lies with community leaders who do not think about the social welfare of the poor among Sri Lankan communities. 

             The responsibility for the death of these three ladies lies with some clerics who build additional mosques at the expense of some these people’s lives. The responsibility for the death of these three ladies lies upon the shoulders of our political leaders who have failed to see pathetic conditions of these poor for many years. The responsibility also lies with entire expatiate Muslim community abroad who have failed to come up with any viable (united) front to help poor people in Sri Lanka.  The responsibility also lies with some highly paid Muslim professionals such as Drs, engineers, civil servants who accumulate wealth and yet, they do not have time to look at the conditions of poor in our communities. 

                 Our doctors (we may have around 2000-3000 thousand Muslim doctors in Sri Lanka) spend their lives within the four walls of their surgeries and hospitals. I do not have any personal grudge on them, but they are intellectual creams of our community. They can immensely contribute to the welfare of our community with their talent and knowledge and yet, except a handful of committed Muslim doctors, most of them do not care about the welfare of Muslim community at all. Most of them are busy in accumulating wealth and money. Our engineers are busy in their building sites. Same as doctors they too are busy in accumulating wealth and money. They are the next layer of our intellectual community and yet, except some committed Muslim engineers, most of them do not care about the welfare of our community. Similarly, the Muslim academics in our universities are so busy within the four walls of their universities and their houses. Most of them do not have any commitment for our community issues and problems. They too are busy in accumulating wealth and money. 
          Likewise, there is another layer of the Muslim intellectuals.  Other Muslim professionals such as charted accountants, civil servants, and other professionals most of them are busy in their jobs and do not care about the welfare of our community. They are busy with their families and with their jobs. They do not have time and commitment for our community problems. Now, the welfare and commitment for our community problems is entirely left in the hands of some clerics and politicians. Some of them do not have any clue about the challenges and problems that our community is facing today in this modern world.  I feel sorry for all these clerics. They have good intention and community commitment. They want to do something for our community, and they want to protect our identity. Yet, they do not have enough skills, talent, knowledge, and influence to make a difference.  We can not blame them at all, and we must understand their limits and limitations too. They can be forgiven by Allah on the day of Judgment. Yet, so called intellectuals will be questioned by Allah about their skills, talent, and knowledge. Some journalists and writers with good intention try their best to bring all these Muslim problems out and yet, they could do little. We have money to build extra mosques and yet, we do not have money to produce some Media professionals. We are confused about the priority of our community.  I do not name any one or any groups. I would like to emphatically state that there are some committed Muslim doctors, engineers, and other professionals who are sacrificing their time, money, and wealth for the welfare Muslim community. Some of them have given up their medical professions to serve Muslim community.  Yet, they are handful of professionals. 

             Will this stampede incident teach some good lessons for all Islamic groups in Sri Lanka to rethink their priorities and missions? While people are literally starving to death. What should be the priorities of Islamic groups?  Muslim families do not come out to beg. They would rather die than begging in public. It is the responsibility of all these community leaders and Islamic groups to come up with some viable mechanism to eradicate poverty from our community.  Forget about all your ideological and dogmatic differences at least at this difficult time and come together before it is too late.  

              I do not hold any grudge upon any groups or any individuals and yet, I am sure that Allah will ask the entire Muslim community about the death of these innocent ladies in this holy month. Allah has blessed the Muslim community with wealth and money and yet, we do not have any good system how to collect and how to distribute wealth. So, it is entirely up to community leaders to think about this. I feel that our community is at historical turning point, if community leaders and Islamic groups do not think and plan wisely, the future of the Muslim community will be bleak and dark.  If we want to see any improve in the conditions of our community. All professional groups, politicians, academics, religious leaders, religious groups, and community leaders all must come under one platform at least to understand our priorities in Sri Lanka. otherwise, the social conditions of our community could deteriorate in coming years. May Allah protect all. 

1 கருத்துரைகள்:

Brother Ibn Sulaiman,
Should a person with a good intention to give charity end up in jail? The answer is "NO", Insha Allah. But "WHY" then? There was nothing wrong in the good intentions of giving "CHARITY" by this person. WHAT WAS AND IS WRONG IS THAT HE DISRESPECTED THE RULES LAID DOWN BY THE WAKFS BOARD AND THE GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES AND POLICE ON HOW CHARITY HAS TO BE DISTRIBUTED DURING THIS MONTH OF RAMADHAN CONSIDERING THE SITUATION OF THE "COVID19" PANDEMIC WHICH RESULTED IN THE STAMPEDE INSIDE HIS OWN BUSINESS PROPERTY WHICH ENDED UP IN THREE ELDERLY WOMEN LOOSING THEIR LIVES. THEREFORE HE HAS DONE WRONG UNDER THE POLICE CODE AND OTHER LAWS OF THE COUNTRY, WHICH HAS BEEN CLEARLY EXLPAINED BY THE AUTHORITIES.
This is a pathetic case for the Muslims of Sri Lanka created by "ARROGANT" Muslim Businessmen who normally amaze wealth my crooked means and who do not respect ISLAM or the Governemnt Rules and Regulations, yet there are a few who do so, Insha Allah. Therefore it is correct for the government/POLICE to take "EXTREMELY SEVERE ACTION AGAINST THOSE INVOLVED IN THIS ACTION AND GIVE THE UTMOST PUNISHMENTS AVAILABLE UNDER THE RULE OF LAW, INCLUDING THE PENAL CODE. THE NEXT OF KIN OF THOSE WOMEN YOU DIED SHOULD BE ADEQUATELY COMPENSATED FOR THE LOSS OF THEIR LIVES BY THIS BUISNESS, Insha Allah. LAWYERS SHOULD REFRAIN FROM APPEARING ON BEHALF OF THIS BUSINESSMAN OR HIS COMPANY FOR THESE CASES EVEN IF THEY ARE OFFERED BIG MONEY, Insha Allah.
Here are some answers to the issues you had raised:
Let us face REALITY and the TRUTH (YATHAARTHAM).
1. We are SELF CENTERED and NOT COMMUNITY MINDED.
1. We Muslims are known for NOT leading the Muslim (Islamic Way of Life) bestowed by our belief and FAITH.

2. We are ("especially" the POLITICIANS) are NOT UNITED.

3. We (especially the POLITICIANS and BUSINESSMEN) are DISHONEST, DECEPTIVE, SELFISH and CROOKED.

4. Our dealings are NOT CLEAN with other Communities.

5. We are ARROGANT and EXTRAVAGANT in our day to day life.

6. WE are OPPRTUNISTIC, especially in POLITICS.

7. We will “buy” anyone by our ill earned money power to get our things done, even against our community and its members.

8. We practice the CULTURE of SMUGGLING and dealing in DRUGS as normal business though it is banned in ISLAM, and we think going to Mecca (making UMMRAH) purifies us from those SINS.
Your statement "All professional groups, politicians, academics, religious leaders, religious groups, and community leaders all must come under one platform at least to understand our priorities in Sri Lanka. otherwise, the social conditions of our community could deteriorate in coming years. May Allah protect all, is the need of the hours, Insha Allah.
Noor Nizam - Convener "The Muslim Voice".

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