Why are muslims suffering?

By Dr Khalid Zaheer

A tiny minority of Muslims has engaged itself in a war (jihad) against the West in general and against the US, Israel, and India in particular. What they are doing through their military adventurism is causing the entire Muslim ummah suffering at the hands of the Jihadis and, because of their misadventures, at the hands of the US and others as well.

The analysis of the situation done by the Jihadi Muslims is that there is a grand conspiracy of the Jews which has caused the entire West to go against Islam and Muslims. They believe that the only way to counter this trend is to undertake an open war against them. If Muslims join hands and fight against the US, Israel, and India, God Almighty would help them in annihilating these enemies of God, His messenger, and Muslims.

Most certainly, proper solution to a problem is based upon two components: the right analysis of the problem and a sincere effort at implementing the solution based on the analysis. In my opinion the analysis of these Muslims is seriously flawed. The truth is that the opposition of the US, Israel, and India against Muslims and their successful attempts to subjugate and cause serious damage to us is not the cause of our woes. Their successful military adventurism against us is in itself the result of another, bigger cause. It is God’s displeasure with Muslims that has allowed Americans, Israelis, and Indians to successfully launch their military campaign against us because God is allowing them to be succeed in their mission. It cannot be that despite the fact that He doesn’t want them to cause damage to us, we would still suffer.

What is happening to us is exactly what happened to the Children of Israel, the Muslims of the earlier times, in their history of two thousand years before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s mercy be on him. The Qur’an describes their suffering in these words:

“And we forewarned the Children of Israel in their Holy Book that ‘you will do mischief in the land twice through and you will become arrogant transgressors (and each time you will be punished).’

When the promise for the first of the two fore warnings came to be fulfilled, WE SENT AGAINST YOU OUR SERVANTS WITH MILITARY MIGHT: THEY RAMPAGED THROUGH YOUR HOMES TO CARRY OUT THE PUNISHMENT OF WHICH YOU WERE FOREWARNED. Then after this, we afforded you an opportunity to overpower them and helped you with wealth and sons and granted you more manpower. If you perform well you do so for your own benefit; but if you do evil, it would cause harm to your own selves.


Now your Lord may again be merciful to you; but if you repeat the same behavior, we will repeat the punishment, and in the hereafter, we have made hell a prison for such unbelievers.

Surely this Qur’an guides to the way that is perfectly straight and gives the good news to the believers who do good deeds that they shall have a magnificent reward, and at the same time it gives warnings to those who do not believe in the hereafter, that we have prepared for them a painful punishment.” (Qur’an; 17:4-10)

Indeed one of these two analyses of the situation could be correct: It’s either the lack of proper willingness, as the Jihadis say, in the majority of Muslims to fight against the US and its allies which is causing Muslims to be damned in this world or it is God’s decision to inflict His punishment on Muslims through “our servants with military might” which is causing Muslims to be in the state of complete disarray. One of the two possibilities could be correct. Both cannot be simultaneously correct unless one agrees with the proposition that God is displeased with Muslims because they were not undertaking Jihad against the non-Muslims, which is what the Qur’an is most certainly “not” suggesting. The Qur’an is warning the Children of Israel in the above-stated passage of dire consequences because they did mischief on the land twice and they become arrogant transgressors.

The fact that God is punishing us through non-Muslims is undeniable. The reason this has happened is not because we are not undertaking proper war against our enemies but because of our “mischief” and “arrogance”. In my opinion the following are some of the prominent misdeeds that have invited God’s punishment to be inflicted on Muslims:

i) As a nation Muslims are corrupt. Cheating, disregard of merit, and breaking of commitments are some of the crimes we are consistently committing. Exceptions apart, hypocrisy is the hallmark of the present-day Muslims.
ii) The present-day Muslims are extremely arrogant. Despite being morally corrupt, Muslims are dead sure that they will eventually succeed in the hereafter while all non-Muslims shall be doomed.
iii) The greatest evil in the present-day Muslims is that although they were expected to bring non-Muslims closer to Islam by their good acts and words, they have caused them to hate the religion of God by presenting a picture of it which cannot incline a decent human being to accept it as the religion of God. The Islam Muslims are presenting appears to be against every beautiful blessing God has created for humans in this life; it seems to suggest that the creator of this world is, God forbid, extremely unfair in that He will look at the religion of humans and not their intentions and deeds while deciding about their eternal fate; they have also caused great harm to the message of God by creating the impression that hating fellow humans to the extent of even killing them was a part of the expectation of God from his His devoted servants.

If these allegations against Muslims were correct, how can a sane non-Muslim come close to Islam? And if non-Muslims, who are equally God’s creation, have been drawn away from His religion by the misdeeds of Muslims, how can He be pleased with them? And if He is annoyed with Muslims, why should He not punish them?

If what I am claiming is correct, then the Jihadis are fighting a losing battle, because they are not fighting against the Americans, Israelis, or Indians; they are fighting against God’s decision. If they are really interested in bringing back the lost glory of Muslims, they should address the problems that are causing God to be displeased with them.


Dr Khalid Zaheer is the Director Education, Al-Mawrid, which is an NGO established to promote research and education on Islam. Prior to joining Al-Mawrid in September 2006, he was an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Ethics at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He has a teaching experience of more than 20 years. He can be reached @ www.khalidzaheer.com
  1. Dr. Khalid Zaheer’s point is well taken and i have in the past been taught by this great man at Lums when i was there 1996-99 for my BSC. Anyways, my only observation which i would like to point out is that in the case of some Jihadis, they were forced into fighting against Americans etc. This is the case with Iraq where the aggression and invasion by USA was done on flimsy excuses and grounds with capturing oil reserves being the major target to achieve.

    Similarly afghanistan was atatcked to capture OBL and no definitive proof is there that september 11 was indeed done by muslims. Anyways, regardless of this debate the point i am trying to put forward is that what is teh fault of the innocent citizens of afghanistan and iraq.. they have committed no crime… then their Jihad is correct ebcause being Muslim does not the Holy Quran say to fight if there is aggression against you

    my observation is that the run of the mill jihadi may be wrong but those people who have not done any atatck on anyone but are now compelled to fight in order to save their honor, property and family, they are justified and they should be differentiated from the steretype jihadi.. in addition, if these people fall into the same mode of thinking against the jews americans etc then who can blame them.. if tomorrow pakistan is attacked and i take up arms against the invader, then i dont mind being called a jihadi becvause i would be right in my fight against aggression…

    therefore we need to differentiate and re- define the term jihadi itself in my opinion!!

  2. although i am not muslim, but i must commend the author of this piece for presenting his ideas with such clarity, even a hindu can relate. I have never met a muslim scholar who preaches tolerance and acceptance of other religions like this, frankly im amazed.

  3. @ tayyab : Mosharraf zaidi and Dr Khalid Zaheer tooo??? Dood u got some seriously awesome teachers.

    As far as the jihadi description is concerned if we are attacked in our homes and we defend we aren’t really jihadis in the sense that jihadis are these days are we? Today Jihad is all about aggression, annexation, torture. against ANYONE that opposes them.

    Its just not about Jews anymore.

  4. I was never taught by Khalid Zaheer, but he did interrogate me during a disciplinary committee meeting, and i wasn’t too impressed by his piety.

    however, i generally like his tv internet personality, and i really agree with his major contention – we need to reform ourselves before we get on anyone elses case.

    @ Tayyab

    I think you are the kind of muslim mr. zaheer is preaching against.

    “no definitive proof is there that september 11 was indeed done by muslims. ”

    how about the numerous al-qaeda videos claiming the same? how about OBL’s own admission and claims that his people did 9/11? how about you stop blaming someone else, and try and focus on what we as muslims have been up to

  5. karachikhatmal- all i am saying is all jihadis cannot be lumped together.. plus with all due respect what is credibility of all those videos.. secondly obl was a cia agent uptil lates 90s and u know how these intelligence agencies wortk… once an agent always an agent so i think sept 11 is a separate debate

    all i am trying to be is analytical and independently state that all jihadis shouldnt be lumped together

    other than that, i am sorry to say your comments about dr khalid preaching against muslims like me is misguided as i am just proposing a point of view for mere debate and analytical thinking.. doesnt mean my beliefs are in line with what the jihadis are thinking… pls dont jump to conclusions

    faisal- mosharraf was a colleage not a teacher 🙂

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