Why We Have the Leaders We Deserve: Diagnosing the Muslim Psychosis

We are still, after eight months, stuck in a nightmare that will not cease and that we cannot wake up from. Somehow, it has become acceptable and legitimate in the eyes of most of the world that the people who suffered the Holocaust of six million dead—or at least the state of Israel that claims to represent those people, because I do not buy into the myth that the state of Israel represents all Jews in the world—can exterminate some two million people. It is as if the tragedy is somehow acceptable if you do not reach that magic number of six million. The logic is so obscene that even the staunchest defenders of Israel would never dare say it aloud, even if in their hearts and souls that is, indeed, what they think. "Maybe we are killing two million Palestinians on top of the millions of Palestinians whom we have already killed since 1948, but so long as we do not reach the magic six million number, it is digestible and acceptable." It is a logic so absurd, so obscene, so repulsive that it needs no rebuttal. It is repulsive on its face.


The United States continues to supply Israel with whatever weapons Israel wants, without questions, and the onslaught in Rafah continues unabated. Just yesterday, Israeli forces again laid siege to hospitals and arrested doctors and medical personnel. God only knows what they have done with the wounded. Mass graves have been already discovered in Gaza, filled with the bodies of those whom Israel has executed after laying siege to other hospitals. We know, then, what is going to happen to the hospitals that Israel is laying siege to as we speak.


Human rights organizations and non-governmental organizations are considered the heroes and defenders of human rights when it comes to, for instance, the sexual or gender rights of people. We consider these NGOs to be at the forefront of the human rights movement on all types of topics. Suddenly, when it comes to documenting mass executions committed by Israel, these same NGOs are not appreciated, not believed, and may even be accused of antisemitism. This is despite the fact that many of the authors of the reports that come out of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are themselves Jewish.


As we speak, the world is abuzz with the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Israel to halt its siege of Rafah. The decision came down 14 to one. In other words, it is one of the rare decisions of the ICJ in which there is only one dissenting voice. With near unanimity, the ICJ is telling Israel to cease its siege on Rafah because of grave concerns that Israel is committing atrocities and serious violations of the laws of war, humanitarian law, and human rights law.


I have to pause. If you turn on Al Jazeera, that is all they are talking about. If you turn on Egyptian media, that is what they are talking about. If you turn on Moroccan media, that is what they are talking about. It is the same with Syrian and Iraqi Media. Interestingly, the Emirati and Saudi-controlled media are not talking about it. They are mentioning it as a mere footnote. But my mind goes elsewhere, because the state of Muslims in the modern age needs a very different type of pause. 


I know this will be a bit eclectic, but bear with me. I ask a simple question. We all know that the ICJ, of course, is very prestigious. All over the Muslim world, if you are a legal practitioner and your career takes you to the point of being a judge on the ICJ, it is a mark of great honor. We all know that the ICJ is limiting its decision to Rafah because they dare not take the political risks involved in telling Israel, "Cease your attack on Gaza in whole," so they made the highly political decision to limit their decision to Rafah.


The decision itself, frankly, is bizarrely incoherent. It cites all types of evidence that all types of atrocities have been committed, but it never conclusively says that atrocities have, indeed, been committed. It tells Israel, "You have pushed the entire population of two million people to a very limited area in Rafah, and these two million people are perishing. They are dying of starvation every day, so please stop exterminating these two million people." One imagines the language of the ICJ would have been very different if the party involved was other than Israel. Compare this to when the ICJ spoke about the Rwandan genocide or other massacres that occurred in parts of the world like Kosovo.


So, yes, Muslims are making a big to-do that 14 judges have joined the majority opinion. They are citing it as a victory. But I come back to a simple question: so what? We all know the ICJ will issue its decision, and Israel will completely ignore the decision. Israel has already made that clear. The U.S. has made it clear that, regardless of the decision, its support for Israel is unwavering and unconditional. Yes, some countries in Europe, like Ireland and Spain, have said they will recognize the Palestinian state. But the European Ummah in whole is loyal to the American Ummah, and the European and American Ummahs are bonded in their ummatics. They are truly a single Ummah against all else. Most importantly, when all is said and done, we know that the ICJ is a part and parcel of the European-American Ummah. We know the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been silent throughout this genocide because he continues to get his marching orders from the American and European Ummahs, which tell him to keep his mouth shut, although he himself is Muslim. 


We know that regardless of what the ICJ says, the ICC will never prosecute those responsible for the genocide in Gaza, including Biden and members of the Biden administration. Per international law, those who should be indicted for genocide in Gaza are not just Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir, but also President Biden, the vice president of the U.S., and other various members who have played a direct role in the genocide. But we know that we are living in the shadows of the European Ummah, so none of that is going to happen. The ICC will never indict any individuals among the founding fathers of the Ummah that created it, i.e., the Americans and Europeans.


The ICJ will never do anything other than, in highly convoluted diplomatic language, call upon Israel, "Please, stop committing another Holocaust.” Not “give Palestinian their rights.” Not “stop stealing Palestinian lands.” Not “stop oppressing Palestinians.” The ICJ will plead that Israel lets the refugees be at Rafah, and does not slaughter them in their last vestige of safety. We all know, despite this theatrical game, what the results will be. We all know that Muslims will talk and pontificate and go on and on. But when all is said and done, we all know that Muslims will continue to die. 


You have to pause and reconsider. If you notice that you are always a loser in life, you may well develop some type of pathology in which you are addicted to suffering, addicted to lamenting, addicted to complaining. Or you may develop some type of paranoia or some type of alternative reality, a reality in which you imagine yourself a hero, but a hero over things and situations that do not matter. Or you may become psychotic in dealing with the suffering. You may develop a psychosis and, in your psychosis, imagine a reality in which you are not oppressed and not suffering; an alternative reality in which you play the heroic role. 


You may own an Islamic center, for example, and you may imagine that this center makes a difference in the world. You may imagine that this center actually has any value, weight, power, or importance in the universe. In reality, any objective assessment will readily tell you that your center has no value, no weight, and no power. There is no possibility of the darkness, suffering, and misery ending so long as your response is an addiction to suffering or an alternative psychotic reality.


As a Muslim, you know that Saudi Arabia has not lifted a finger to help the Palestinians. You know that Palestinians are being massacred, and that Saudi Arabia jails everyone it can who helps the Palestinian resistance. If you are part of the Palestinian resistance, being in Saudi Arabia or the UAE is as dangerous as being in the West Bank or Gaza. In fact, you may even have a greater chance of eluding capture in the West Bank or Gaza. Think about this. If you are in any way connected to the Palestinian resistance, you would not dare step foot in these lands because you know fully well what will happen to you.


If you are a psychotic Muslim, then you will be chattering on and on about the judgment of the ICJ while entirely ignoring the fact that not a single Arab or Muslim country has severed their ties with Israel, including Morocco, Sudan, and Egypt. You will pretend that this is irrelevant when it comes to your relationship to the Holy Sites, or when it comes to a decision whether to travel to Dubai or do any type of business with Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This is part of the Muslim psychosis.


It is astounding that the country that played the most prominent role in the ICJ was South Africa, while Muslim countries played an entirely marginal role or no role at all. It is astounding that we have the U.S. begging the Egyptian Army, behind the scenes, "Please, stop profiteering from the aid entering into Gaza." For the Egyptian army refuses to let aid go through to Gaza unless Egyptian officers are paid. So the U.S., in a recent meeting with Sisi, was begging Sisi to let the aid through. Biden came out and said, "We made progress with the Egyptians. Sisi promised me that he will give his best efforts to let the aid go through."


I am not here to lament. I only want us to develop an accurate picture of the realities that we live in so we can diagnose. A cure is only possible if we have a precise diagnosis for this Ummah, because the European Ummah has thrived, the Chinese Ummah has thrived, the American Ummah has thrived, but the Muslim Ummah has not.


Recently, the Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, died. This was a man whom the Palestinian resistance was forced to do business with and rely on because their Muslim and Arab brethren have abandoned them. They cannot rely on the Egyptians or the Emiratis, nor the Saudis or the Jordanians, so they have to deal with someone like Ebrahim Raisi. You then pause. Raisi’s hands are covered in the blood of those whom he sentenced to death when he was appointed a revolutionary judge. Ebrahim Raisi now is with his Lord, but think of the number of people he sentenced to death.


This is part of our Muslim reality. Even our “heroes” are bloody, tyrannical, and ugly. My mind then quickly goes back to an incident that took place a long time ago, before Palestine fell and around the time Jerusalem was reconquered by the European Ummah. There is an incident that I have been reflecting on as I reflect on the state of the Muslim Ummah. I finally had the opportunity to read a book called, The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. The book is written by a former classmate of mine at Princeton, Beth Baron, an excellent scholar. The fact she is Jewish is neither here nor there, because this all connects to how we must assess our situation, understand our diseases, and understand how to cure ourselves from our diseases.


Beth Baron, may God reward her, undertook research that I have not seen a single Muslim in the entire history of the Muslim Brotherhood do. It is diligent and meticulous archival research. Not waxing rhetoric, not issuing armchair judgements, not talking about conspiracies, psychoses, and paranoia. Baron did what Muslims are supposed to do when God tells us to bear witness, even if against ourselves and our loved ones (Q 4:135). Baron tries to uncover the truth, whatever the truth is. She tells a most fascinating story, a story that speaks volumes about our plight. 


The 1920s and ’30s was a critical time when Britain decided to put Al Saud in charge of the Holy Sites. It was also the time when the European Ummah decided to support the Zionist movement and turn Palestine into Israel. While all of this was going on, something else was happening, as it had been happening since the 1800s. It is something that happened again after the United States occupied Iraq. It is something the European Ummah has been diligently doing to the Muslim Ummah. What is it? 


Christians and Jews do not spend their money to build buildings in which they pretend to be great leaders by appointing themselves the imam of this synagogue or that church. Christians and Jews actually put their money where it makes a difference. Since the 1800s, hundreds, if not thousands, of wealthy Christians have donated money to support aggressive missionary movements throughout the Muslim world. Whether these missionary movements are active in Africa, Asia, the Arab world, Iran, or Turkey, the purpose of these missionary movements is to convert Muslims to Christianity.


Let us take the example that Baron talks about in her book. In the 1920s, Britain officially gave Egypt independence, but Britain remained highly influential in all Egyptian affairs. The Egyptian government, officially independent, remained thoroughly dependent on the British for all types of issues and matters. It is exactly like how Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, and Morocco are dependent on the U.S. today. This was so much so that those in charge in Egypt did not dare tell missionaries, "Stop converting our people."


The missionaries noticed that Muslims were not taking care of the poor or orphans. They saw so many street children, so they built schools and hospitals to take care of those who are uncared for in an attempt to convert them to Christianity. It was extremely successful in Iran, Syria, Algeria, Africa, and in countries like the Philippines. I underscore that this was all donated money by devout Christians who wanted to spread the word of Christ. These devout Christians operated in Egypt and the Egyptian government, exactly like today, was so powerless that it did not dare tell the missionaries anything the missionaries did not want to hear. Not the prime minister in Egypt, not the Egyptian military, not the Egyptian police.


Sometimes, the most innocuous events in history can make all the difference. An orphan girl, called Turkiyya Hasan, was placed in a missionary school and expected to convert from Islam to Christianity. During a visit, Turkiyya Hasan refused to stand up and honor a visiting Christian dignitary. She basically said, "I am a Muslim. Why should I stand up to honor him?" When she did that, she was physically assaulted. She was beaten and caned as punishment. The amazing story that Baron tells is how Muslims everywhere were outraged when they learned that this poor Muslim orphan girl was physically punished for refusing to convert to Christianity. What then came out was the full extent to which orphans and street people were being pressured to convert to Christianity in these schools, and the extent to which the Egyptian government could not even punish or prosecute any European for assaulting a Muslim Egyptian girl in her home country.


The incident was so painful, so offensive that it was, in fact, the birth moment for the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Now, the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Ismailia, Egypt, but as Beth shows, it is this incident that made the Muslim Brotherhood stand up, take notice, and say, "Why is it that missionaries are building schools and hospitals to take care of the poor? We Muslims should do it." At that point, the entire objective of the Muslim Brotherhood was to help the poor so that they do not convert to Christianity. “Why is it that we Muslims are sitting and watching as Christian missionaries are converting people in our country? Why don't we train Muslim missionaries not to convert Christians, but simply to keep Muslims Muslim?" It was only the second goal of the Muslim Brotherhood to fight British colonialism, especially in the Suez Canal.


Now, Beth makes a big to-do of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood imitated missionaries in building schools and hospitals. If Beth only knew how deep was the tradition the Ikhwan pulled from, not from Christian sources, but from the awqaf tradition. She does not know about the awqaf tradition, and I do not blame her. It is not her topic. But the sense of insult and pain energized so many Egyptians and Muslims all over the Muslim world to say, "Yes, the Muslim Brotherhood is right. Why are we not helping our people? Why are we not doing anything about Christian missionaries who are so generously supported?"


We know that our governments are entirely ineffective because they are run by the likes of Ebrahim Raisi. These governments oppress their own people. They are not interested in helping the poor and downtrodden. The poor and the downtrodden in these countries are a ticking bomb because they are exploited and ignored. Dictators, tyrants, and oppressors in the Muslim world are disconnected from their own people.


The other part of the story that Beth tells, and which speaks volumes about our plight as Muslims, is how al-Azhar was entirely ineffective and useless in dealing with the plight of Christian missionaries. Al-Azhar cared only about the optics. Exactly like Muslims today, al-Azhar cared only about a feud between the former rector of Al-Azhar, al-Maraghi, and the then-rector of Al-Azhar, al-Mahrasawi. Al-Maraghi and al-Mahrasawi did things not for the sake of this poor Egyptian orphan, Turkiyya Hasan, nor because they really cared about the orphans converting to Christianity. They cared about their own petty feud. They were competing for reputation, for power, for whatever else. The feud went on and on, and each did things to tick the other off, not to help Muslims.


Pause and you reflect. Why did it take a non-Muslim to do this type of research? Muslims, whenever it comes to any topic, are all about knee-jerk dogma. You either like the Ikhwan or you are anti-Ikhwan. You either like Hamas or you are anti-Hamas. You either like the Shi'a or you are anti-Shi'a. You either like the Mu'tazila or you are anti-Mu'tazila. You either like Hezbollah or you're anti-Hezbollah. You are either pro-Sufi or you are anti-Sufi.


This is exactly how a losing people, a broken Ummah thinks and acts. So, when it comes to directing our resources, all our resources go into inter-factional fighting and competing, not into dealing with the actual dangers that come to us, as an Ummah, from the outside. If you create an organization to bolster the idea of a Muslim Ummah, for example, then you only deal with your friends, those who pump up your ego, not those who engage your intellect.


Since colonialism, we have accepted tyrannical, corrupt, and ineffective rulers as natural, and we have imported the very same institutions from our homelands to Islam in the West. That is why in every Muslim organization there is inner-fighting, exactly like al-Mahrasawi and al-Maraghi. That is why it is so easy to forget the real danger, including an entire genocide. Look what we did, as Muslims, during the Bosnian genocide. Or what we are doing, as Muslims, about the Kashmiri or Rohingya genocides. Let us not even get into the genocide of Muslims in China, and how Muslims change nothing in the way we think of resources, nothing in how we build institutions, nothing in terms of even who we listen to.


A rational human being, if they see that they are a loser in life, will say, "Well, let me go back and see what I have done wrong and try new routes and new things." If we were rational, we would say, "For the past 20 years, we have been dealing with the same institutions, listening to the same people, hearing the same rhetoric, the same dogma, so maybe it is time to start exploring new things." But we are not a rational people. We are a traumatized people who have become plagued with psychosis and socio-psychological ailments. 


The Prophet told us, "As you are, so your leaders will be." It is God’s Sunna in the universe. The sad, crushing reality is that the Iranian people deserve an Ebrahim Raisi, the Egyptian people deserve a Sisi, and the Muslim people deserve Al Saud controlling their holy sites. These are the rulers we deserve. Are we going to wake up? Are we ever going to have that moment like the early founders of the Muslim Brotherhood who said, "What we are doing is not working. Our institutions are not working"? We must rethink our methods, our frameworks, our moral references, the way we deal with our money, and the way we handle and process resources.


Why does God allow genocides? The victims of the genocide are rewarded by God in ways that will make us, on the Final Day, envious of them. We will stand there on the Final Day and say, "Your suffering earned you such favor, but your suffering has condemned us in ways that we will truly plead with God to forgive us because it could be our damnation." But aside from this, has the genocide taught Muslims anything? Has it woken up Muslims? Has it woken up the Muslim millionaires who write checks to the same institutions that have been around since the 1970s, to institutions that are entirely ineffective, useless, and a waste of money? How many Muslim millionaires have decided, "Wait, we have been donating since the 1980s to such and such organization, and nothing has changed"?


Maybe, just maybe, we should start exploring those who these same institutions have been telling us, "Do not go near them, be scared of them. They have bidʿa, astaghfirullah.” Maybe it is time to go to the innovators. Maybe it is time to find the revolutionary thinkers and the paradigm shifters. Maybe it is time to treat your social psychosis, for the consequences speak for themselves, testifying against us, as Muslims, time and time again. Maybe it is time.


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