Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Prophecy on Mass Killings in our times

[47:19]They wait not but for the Hour that it should come upon them suddenly. The signs thereof have already come…” 

Several verses in the Qur’an and the sacred traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) indicate, in subtle language and in different ways, the signs of the Later Days. Among these Signs, is the unmistakeable sign of mass killings that are to take place in the world. This sign has been mentioned in almost all authentic Ahadith collections, including Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih al Muslim, and one can thus read: 

Abdullah said, “The Prophet said,

‘Just before the Hour, there will be days in which knowledge will disappear and ignorance will appear, and there will be much killing.’”

-                                   - [Ibn Majah; also narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim, from the Hadith of al-A’mash]

According to the Qur’an, unity and peace in society are among the Divine blessings, whereas dissension, discord, internal strife and civil war are among the ways in which nations come under a trial. The Holy Prophet of Islam (a) described many of these signs of the Later Days in a context indicating the times of a Massih raised by Allah.

Warnings by Divine Messengers

In the previous era, the Promised Massih Hadhrat Ahmad (as) through his writings, including in Tajalliyat-e-Illahiya (Divine Manifestations), repeatedly warned the world about the horrendous events waiting to unfold on the human condition as a consequence of its lack of appreciation for the Divine guidance for ethical and sustainable living. In our own times, the Muhyi-ud-Din Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius repeatedly warns us that humanity is on the brink of disaster.

Reflecting on the ongoing situation in Central African Republic and also in Myanmar and elsehwere, where the Muslim minorities are living under severe threats to their fundamental rights and freedoms of life and libaerty, in a recent series of Friday Sermons, Hadhrat Sahib (atba) had called the attention of the world to pure Islamic teachings that recognize the diversity of races, religions and languages and the need to respect and accord these rights to all groups in every humane society. In a world driven by the powerful vested interests of the developed world, principles of absolute justice and equal application of the laws in all circumstances that protect the integrity of the international system and human rights cannot be ensured. The Divine Messenger of our times has clearly identified the faultlines of diverging interests and the consequent absence of strong enforcement mechansims at the inter-State level as the apparent weaknesses of the existing world system, leading to the present crisis in world governance. 

It is not unknown to the Muslims that natural and man-made disasters strike the world when Divine sayings are ignored and reformers are insulted and humiliated, rather than respected and listened to. Instead of showing attention and concern for what the Divine message contain, the ungrateful and the rebellious seek to shoot the Messenger, leading invariably to various modes of Divine wrath and punishment. Believers who reflect would invariably be struck by the remarkable similarity of the Divinely-inspired sermons and sayings with the course of events in our times. Those who free themselves from the sins of hubris and prejudice can easily discern the proliferation of a series of events that point to the fulfilment of the grand Divine prophecies in the world affairs.

Natural and Man-made Disasters

By the close of the Fourteenth century of Islamic calendar, the world became increasingly concerned with what is happening to the ecology as the capitalist mode of development virtually began to consume the very environment that makes life possible in our small world. As a direct consequence of the imperial onslaught on natural resources or the human intervention in the natural order and the unsustainable exploitation practices, great damage and loss has been caused to the global environment, leading to the phenomena of global warming and climate change and severe disastersin our times. As a corollary to all these corruption of the humans, a situation has indeed arose, like the Qur'an says: 

[30:42] Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of what men’s hands have wrought, that He may make them taste the fruit of some of their doings, so that they may turn back from evil.

The Muslim world entered a new era in the year 1980, starting the Fifteenth Century of the Islamic Calendar. The events in Iraq and Iran (1980-1988); the invasion and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent economic sanctions on, and the destruction of, Iraq (1990-2003), the US imperial control over much of the Arab world and the Jewish occupation of Palestine and domination over the Arab lands of Lebanon and Jordan, Syria and Egypt; the containment of Libya and Iran, the radicalization of the Muslim youth in Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent decades, the despotic administrations in the Arab world- all these point to the dismal fortunes of the Muslims, civil war in the Ummah with the brothers killing brothers in Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Egypt, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives all over the Muslim world.

Even outside the Muslim world, mass killings in countless ‘civil’ wars, crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansings and genocidal killings have created “rivers of blood” in nation after nation in our times. The brutal atrocities in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Burma, Kashmir, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Congo, etc. have permanently scarred and bruised the memories of generations of people. According to the UN estimates, the ongoing civil war in Syria has already killed over 1, 50,000 while hundreds of thousands have become refugees in neighbouring lands.

Genocide in Rwanda (1994)

April 7th marks the twentieth anniversary of the horrendous Rwandan genocide of 1994, which consumed in its wake about 800,000 people within a period of three months. It is an occasion to remember the dead, to reflect on the state of our world that facilitated the killing spree to continue unabated for months altogether and to introspect on what progress we could make as a global community to protect and sustain our shared humanity.   

For the benefit of our readers, we reproduce below an Op-Ed written by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to mark the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda:

Today in the Central African Republic, government and community leaders are struggling to help the country find the path of peace. 

On Monday in Kigali, I will join the people of Rwanda in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the genocide, the reverberations of which are still being felt across an arc of uncertainty in Africa’s Great Lakes region — and in the collective conscience of the international community.

Each situation has its own dynamics. So does the Syrian conflict, which each day claims new victims. But each has posed a complex life-and-death challenge: what can the international community do when innocent populations are being slaughtered in large numbers and the government is unable or unwilling to protect its people — or is among the very agents of the violence? And what can we do to prevent these atrocities from occurring in the first place?

The genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica were emblematic failures of the international community. The scale of the brutality in Rwanda still shocks: an average of 10,000 deaths per day, day after day, for three months, with hateful radio broadcasts inflaming and inciting Rwandans to kill Rwandans.

The international community has since made important strides in acting on the lessons of these awful events. We are now united against impunity, epitomised by the establishment of the International Criminal Court. International and UN-assisted tribunals, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, are pursuing accountability and having a discernible deterrent effect on would-be violators of basic international norms. In a landmark judgement, a former head of state has been convicted of war crimes.

The international community has endorsed the “responsibility to protect”; States can no longer claim that atrocity crimes are a domestic matter beyond the realm of international concern. Growing numbers of governments and regional organisations are creating mechanisms dedicated to genocide prevention. The United Nations and its partners are more frequently deploying human rights monitors to trouble-spots — “eyes and ears” that show governments and non-state actors alike the world is watching. And since such crimes take planning, we are targeting the key risk factors, from the lack of institutions to grievances left unaddressed.

We are also acting more robustly to protect civilians, including from rampant sexual violence. Assertive peacekeeping approaches have defeated one of the most brutal militias in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Nations opened the gates of its peacekeeping installations in South Sudan to shelter tens of thousands of people from deadly threats. Twenty years ago, such steps would have been unthinkable. Today, this is deliberate policy, an example of our new “Rights Up Front” initiative in action — a lesson of Rwanda made real. These situations remain fragile, but the thrust is clear: more protection, not less.


However, this work has faced regular setbacks. The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009 led to tens of thousands of deaths and a systemic failure by the United Nations to speak up and act. For more than three years, the international community has remained divided over the response to the situation in Syria, providing only a fraction of the necessary humanitarian funding while fuelling the fire with arms to both sides in the mistaken belief in a military solution.

The world needs to overcome these moral blind spots. Member States may have rival definitions of national interest, or be unwilling to take on new financial or military commitments. They may be daunted by complexity and risk, or concerned that discussions about an imminent crisis in other countries might one day focus on their own situations. But the results of this indifference and indecisiveness are clear: the bloodshed of innocents, shattered societies, and leaders left to utter the words “never again,” again and again — in itself, a sign of continuing failure.

Over the past decade, the Central African Republic has struggled for global awareness of its plight, and over the past year has suffered the collapse of the state, a descent into lawlessness, and gruesome mass killing that has instilled widespread terror and sparked an exodus. People are exploiting religious identity in the fight for political objectives, threatening a longstanding tradition of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.

I appeal to the international community to provide the military support urgently needed to save lives, get police back on the streets and enable people to return to their communities. The African Union and France have deployed troops, but efforts by the European Union to launch a force have so far come to naught. There is an equally pressing need to start a political process in which reconciliation figures prominently. Any further spread of violence may engulf the wider region.

Healing after violence

When the collapse of a country is this profound, the challenge may seem insurmountable. Yet history proves otherwise. The sustained support of the international community has helped Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste make dramatic transformations. Rwanda has registered notable gains in development, and other countries have healed after unspeakable violence. The Central African Republic can walk the same path. I will continue to stand with the government in charting a course that can build the stable and prosperous country its resources and traditions can make possible.

In Rwanda, I will visit the genocide memorial and pay tribute to the victims — as I have for other tragedies that have challenged the world, from Auschwitz and Cambodia decades ago, to others in our time. The international community cannot claim to care about atrocity crimes and then shrink from the commitment of resources and will be required to actually prevent them. Global leaders should do more to prevent the preventable, and to counter the cruelty taking place before our eyes. People everywhere should place themselves in the shoes of the vulnerable, from Syria to the Central African Republic, and ask themselves what more they can do to build a world of human rights and dignity for all. Let us show people facing dire threats that they are not alone or abandoned — and that the lifeline they need is on its way.

 © The Hindu, April 8, 2014