For fifty years Aurangzeb held the reins of an empire unequalled in size, population and wealth among the polities of the contemporary world. In the discharge of his extremely onerous duties he had shown a devotion, assiduity, courage and calmness which mark him out as a unique ruler of men. In personal life he was the model of a good man. He was free from the vices so common among Asian potentates and princes. He lived simply, nay, austerely. He was abstemious in food and drink, in dress and all the amenities of life. While engaged in the heavy work of imperial administration, he found time to earn money to provide for his needs by copying the Quran and sewing caps. In his last will, his instructions concerning his funeral expenses were, “four rupees and two annas, out of the price of caps sewn by me, are with Aia Beg, the Mahaldar. Take the amount and spend it on the shroud of this helpless creature. Three hundred and five rupees, from the wages of copying the Quran, are in my purse for personal expenses. Distribute them to the faqirs on the day of my death. His daily routine was exacting, and he gave only three hours of sleep out of the twenty-four. He was a stern taskmaster, equally of his own self and of others. He supervised every detail of his vast administration and he directed personally every military expedition. He had inexhaustible energy and indomitable will. ( Chapter One: History of Freedom Movement In India, Volume One. By : Tara Chand) Aurangzeb died in 1707.
Lord Thomas Babington Macauly came to India in 1834, about 127 years after the death of Aurangzeb, and travelled the length and breadth of India for four years. On February 2nd 1835 he addressed the British parliament and had the following to say about what he saw:
“I have travelled across the length and breath of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self -esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
Please keep in mind that at the time of Aurangzeb the estimated population of Muslims in India was probably around 5-10%. This means that an over whelming majority of people he was ruling over did not share his religious belief. But the state took care of all in a manner that even 127 years after Auranzeb’s death the system that he had established was such that an imperialist man, like Macauly, was forced into saying “I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief”. The question is what was that system? That system was the Sharia, which he enforced through out his kingdom. It was the sharia based economic system that Macauly had to say “Such wealth I have seen in this country”. The wealth was not concentrated in few hands as is the case with modern day capitalism but was so much dispersed that “I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief”. Compare this to the situation of U.S.A the “lone superpower” and undisputed champion of capitalism. “In 2009, the top fifth of households held 87.2% of all wealth in U.S.A” while “the bottom fifth actually had negative net worth” which means that not only they own nothing but instead they owe money to banks etc. http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cwed/wp/wealth_in_the_us.pdf
But if we look at our current situation with rampant corruption, illiteracy, poverty etc it is hard to believe that we are the same nation which was making our would be colonizer so worried that he had to say “I do not think we would ever conquer this country”. The question is how did we reach this situation? A simple answer is Macaulay and his countrymen succeeded in “replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self -esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
Here I present a piece of evidence which will be very unsettling for many amongst us so please read with an open mind and let me know if it is incorrect. “Without flattering the English, I can truly say that the natives of India, high and low, merchants and petty shopkeepers, educated and illiterate, when contrasted with the English in education, manners and uprightness, are like them as dirty animal to an able and handsome man. The English have reason for believing us in India to be imbecile brutes.” Excerpt from a letter written by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to the Secretary of the Scientific Society at Aligarh in October 1869.
After reading the above excerpt is there any doubt that Macauly has indeed succeeded in his plan. We have lost our self-esteem and have become a truly dominated nation. We pray five times, fast, go to Hajj etc and often pay lip service to how good Islam is, but the fact of the matter is that we really do not believe in our ideology, in fact we are embarrassed of it. We do not think that sharia is implementable in the times we are living in, which means that intellectually we are unsure about Allah’s guidance; we think it was ok for old/simpler times but not now. Modern day Shaitans in the form of Macaulay and his disciples have sown the seeds of doubt in our hearts through secular education. This doubt has corroded our belief in “Tauheed” because when we look towards others than Allah for guidance, in any part of our lives, (economics being the most significant ) then in reality we are affirming that there are others whose guidance is equally ( if not more ) relevant than that of Allah. We might deny it all we want but our daily lives and the system we are supporting is a proof of who we are following. This confused belief allows Shaitan to make inroads in our belief in Tauheed. If we contemplate changing the system, he threatens us with poverty. We start to believe that if we do not follow Macaulay and his disciples we will perish. Intellectuals/economists and pragmatists will tell us that this world does not run on emotions, it runs on mighty Dollars and if we don’t have enough of them then we are doomed. So we have no choice but to leave aside the utopian ideas of a by gone era and try to improve our lot within the existing system. Once Shaitan has scared us into this trap then he orders us to commit Fahsha. “Shaitân (Satan) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha;” (Al-Baqara-268). This is exactly what is happening, we are scared of poverty and as a result commit Fahsha. Fahsha does not mean that one goes out nude in public, it encompasses all sinful acts. Look around, which sin is absent in our society?
So how do we get out of this situation? A comparison might be helpful at this point. I think our situation is very similar to that of bani-Israel when Allah freed them from the oppression of pharaoh. They had very weak belief in Tauheed which made them such cowards that they refused to fight when Musa ( pbuh ) told them that Allah had ordered them to do so. We are a nuclear power, but afraid, why? because we are more afraid of non-Allah than of Allah Himself.
So who can help us rebuild our belief in Tauheed? Bani-Israel had prophet Musa ( pbuh ) and his disciples, who do we have? religious organizations/parties? My observation is that most of them are more interested in superficial aspects of Islam and/or grabbing political power. They want to replicate the ideas of mass production in religion and want to mass produce Islam of their brand. Our prophet Mohammad ( PBUH) produced less than 100 Muslims in 13 years of preaching in Mecca. But the belief in Tauheed of those early Muslims was such that 313 of them, poorly armed, defeated more than a 1000 well armed well fed non-believers. It was the belief in Tauheed of each individual Muslim which translated in the collective belief the group. Similarly we have to build our individual belief first of all before we can move forward. To do that each individual has to work on him/her self. We all know when we are afraid of or motivated by non-Allah in our daily lives. We can start our journey towards Tauheed by discontinuing doing that.