Nisar A. Memon
27-April- 2020 – Pakistan Observer
Muslim Ummah is engaged; for the last 3 months in a battle against tiny yet powerful enemy with its under cover force with global reach and capability to move with tremendous speed causing unprecedented casualties and breaking its economic back. Ummah’s strategic planners tried all weapons in its armory but to no avail. It even looked around to seek weapons from technologically developed nations to fight, but non available!
In this hour of trial and tribulation arrives the blessed holy month of Ramadan 1441 A.H which can be a vaccine for faithfuls to fight the enemy Covid-19 which hides deep inside our body. Ummah is battle fatigued and requires to unleash its tried and tested weapon of ‘fast’ to fight back. It is time for our leadership to call upon its Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to stand resolutely together to fight against common enemy to save the Ummah, this fight will also benefit the humanity at large.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an international Organisation was founded half a century back in 1969, subsequent to fire in Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Currently it has 57 member states with a total population of over 1.9 billion – about a quarter of world population, with 21% habitable area of the world it is the second-largest intergovernmental organisation in the world after the United Nations. The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony”.
So here we are, with mighty OIC and its leadership which includes Khadim al-Haramayn al-Sharifayn the Custodian of the two Holy cities – the King of Saudi Arabia; and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who succeeded Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran and other leaders of Ummah should put their weight behind the OIC to implement the 25 point communique of Executive Committee which met and issued it on 22 April, 2020. The communique is commendable in putting a united front against Covid-19. The Rapid Response Initiative of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to launch a US$ 2.2 billion Strategic Preparedness and Response Program to counter the pandemic and OIC-ISF Urgent Initiative to assist Member States and the ISF’s donation of US$ 1 million to the contingency account.
This would strengthen the organisation of faithfuls to serve their people without fear and favor. What better times than Ramadan to pray for forgiveness from Allah of our past omissions and commissions and seeking the righteous path. Not only will leadership earn the respect of their masses but also of the Creator. The leadership in each of the OIC country need to send Ummah’s message, not their personal or country messages, by their demonstrated capability to bring Ummatis on path ordained for them.
All faithful practice austerity, piety, selflessness and amongst them the leaders must convert themselves to protectors and not exploiters of their people. All this practice of Ramadan and COVID-19 period needs to be continued in future so that this pandemic challenge is converted into opportunity. Prayers during this period made with faith will result in service to inhabitants on earth which will be returned with unimaginable dividends.
It is the same OIC which gathered in garden city of Lahore in 1974, where historic Lahore Summit was held attended by leaders like King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
As a result, Pakistan recognized the former Eastern Pakistan as the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Pakistan PM embraced Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman . In the atmosphere of Islamic fraternity generated by this 2nd Islamic Summit, an Islamic Solidarity Fund was established for ‘the enhancement of Islamic culture, solidarity and education’, additionally support was assured to Jordon, Syria, Egypt and Palestinian people for their legitimate struggle for recovering of their lands from Israel occupation. The current OIC leadership at this juncture of history has its back to the wall and by unity amongst its rank can prove itself to lead and save the lives of Muslims. If not, the revolt within some member countries witnessed earlier may be repeated elsewhere in their communities with prevalent fast communication of social and electronic media causing damage to OIC which has been nurtured by bold and creative leadership of yesteryears, the memories and images of which still live in the minds and hearts of Ummatis. Will Pakistan as a sovereign nation take the lead to invite OIC leadership and be counted!
Nisar A. Memon, former federal minister and senator