Written by Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin
Translation by Umm Hajar (ummhajar@gmail.com)

It is so disheartening to talk about the political commotion currently occurring in our country. Even though I am now located so far away in Lampeter, I can still feel the heat that is radiated by Malaysia’s political turmoil. Of late, at times, I get emotionally weary of reading the news from our country. All are about nothing but political confusion.

On the other hand, comforting news such as the successful academic achievement of Nik Nur Madihah Nik Mohd Kamal despite coming from a poor family does not become the hot topic being discussed by our community. Probably the media would publish reports on it for just one or two days. However, it is probably not tasty enough to be indulged in with friends as a feast to the ears, not as juicy as listening to political gossips.

Education and knowledge is essential for everyone while rapacious politics and ‘power mania’ are only for those who are stupefied by the Devil. I even read in one news source that some stuffs purportedly related to witchcraft were found under the Prime Minister’s desk. Lately, political news sounds more and more peculiar. Matters that should be kept confidential are revealed for all to know. Matters that should be disclosed to the public are being kept secret.

Because of that, the people start asking, “Whose hands are responsible for that?” For someone who is currently living far away in Lampeter, United Kingdom a place regarded as remote but is tranquil, surrounded by greenery, with fresh air and a relatively friendly community, I can still feel sickened and nauseated by the political news coming from our country. As for the people who cares and are living in the country, the news certainly sound even more revolting to them.

Or, it can be that the people in our country have come to a point where the stories about the politicians’ deceitfulness and scandals are regarded as a form entertainment similar to the gossips about artistes whereas there is a clear distinction between the two groups. Artistes’ gossips do not yield as bad of an impact as the deception committed by the politicians involving graft, abuse of power, fracturing the society in their effort to guard their interest, wasting the time of the rakyat and waging the rakyat’s future.

Reading the news about politicians stabbing each other, hating each other in their pursuit for power, pouring out money and wealth to gain position, revealing each other’s shame and many more, instigates angst and uneasiness in one’s heart. Because of power, their talks are full with curses and animosity.

Among the friends of the politicians, there are more hypocrites than the honest ones. The praises given to the politicians consist of more lies than earnestness. Just as stated in a song: This is life’s drama, on this worldly stage one pretends. Lies and deceptions accomplish the goal, goodwill and wealth encapsulate sin.

We can’t help but to feel puzzled by the politicians. What kind of narcotic have they consumed that generates the willingness in them to occupy such unpleasant world? What are they after that drives them to unhesitatingly brazen out such violent storm of spiritual and emotional pain? Are they chasing after power that is without happiness? Or probably power with suffering? Or, is pain acceptable as long as power is attained? Or, do they actually fail to find the true pleasure in life? Or, probably they are like the ones as described by Allah in al-Quran (translated as):

“So let not their wealth or their children amaze you (O Muhammad ); In reality Allâh’s plan is to punish them with these things in the life of the this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers.” (Surah al-Taubah: verse 55)

Throughout the world’s history, there are countless records of political accounts that are brimming with painful and torturing chapters. One who is possessed with greed for power is actually brainsick and may behave abnormally. He may lie, betray others, involve in graft, oppress others and even commit a murder driven by the uncontrollable madness. He does not think twice to sacrifice anything for the sake of obtaining power.

One thing for sure is that if we look closely, we’ll see that they have actually lost their common sense, happiness and tranquility. They have a barren soul. The fearful silhouette of their sins and fear of losing power haunt them at all time and in every corner. They become nervous when they are alone without having followers around. It can also be that the nervousness is stemmed from the nightmare they are having worrying about losing their influence. That is how a person will be when Allah and the thought of the Afterlife are missing from his soul.

The advocators of truth who fight for the sake of Allah are probably suffering and tortured too. They are also probably being tested with physical suffering and emotional burden. However, their faith, sincerity and their hope for Allah’s reward acts as a constant reliever for the torment. More than that, the agony can even transform into pleasure when they sense that the test and misfortune is actually a cause for gaining rewards as well as for the expiation of their sins.

They have a big soul because they have the most majestic being to rely upon. It is as always stated by fighters of Islam, “If I am jailed then it is a time-out for me. If I am expelled from my country then it is a retreat for me. If I am killed then it means that I have achieved syahid.” The fighters of truth are always calm because the path they’re heading to is obvious to them. Allah says in Surah al-Nisa’ verse 104 (translated as):

“And don’t be weak in the pursuit of the enemy; if you are suffering (hardships) then surely, they (too) are suffering (hardships) as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allâh (for the Reward, i.e. Paradise) that for which they hope not, and Allâh is ever All­Knowing, All­Wise.”

Threats, intimidation, vilification, oppression and all forms of pain are felt by politicians as well as non-politicians. However, the difference between those who strive to uphold the truth for the sake of Allah and those who strive for the sake of their belly is that tranquility and the fineness of an enchanted heart is owned by the first group.

The first group comprises of the advocators of the truth for the sake of Allah no matter on what stage they perform; da’wah, politics, economy, education or whatever. In their struggle, they will brazen out all obstacles by drawing themselves closer to Allah, hoping for his rewards and forgiveness as well as submitting themselves fully to Him. Victory or defeat will be regarded as a pleasurable sacrifice that a servant makes for the Lord.

Allah says in Surah Ali ‘Imran verse 173 (translated as):

“Those (i.e. believers) unto whom the people (hypocrites) said, “Verily, the people (pagans) have gathered against you (a great army), therefore, fear them.” But it (only) increased them in faith, and they said: “Allâh (alone) is sufficient for us, and He is the best Disposer of affairs (for us).”

Because of that, it is revealed in history that political power was incapable to destroy sincere fighters regardless of how prevailing the political power was. Even though the fighters’ bodies were tortured and their wealth was confiscated but it was the soul of the rulers that ended up suffering. Nevertheless, the perpetual existence of the two groups is always recorded in history even though they have to face many difficulties.

In every era, there will always be advocators of the truth who strive for the sake of Allah and have to face all kinds of tribulation in their pursuit for Allah’s blessing and the promised Paradise. Similarly, in every era, there will always be a cluster that is hungry for power, a syndrome caused by the madness disease that infiltrates their inner beings. In their minds, power is the source for happiness and joy. They forget that so many people who are in power have actually lost the pleasure of having a blissful soul. The Prophet s.a.w said,

“”You people will be keen to have the authority of ruling which will be a thing of regret for you on the Day of Resurrection. What an excellent wet nurse it is, yet what a bad weaning one it is!” (Reported by al-Bukhari)

Yes, not all about politics is bad. In fact, it is an Islamic duty to politick to uphold the truth guided by the disciplines taught by Allah and His Messenger. We need politicians who execute their leadership duty based on the divine revelation. However, if the politics is full with stories of greed and voracity just as we commonly heard of, it is actually a mere drama about people who have lost their happiness, whose souls are sick and disturbed.

As a final point, we would like to ask this question to these people who are competing fiercely everyday, “Are these all worth the effort?”