Having no blood affiliation with the Scots whatsoever, and having never set foot in Scotland, I’m not exactly sure why I was so intensely fascinated with the Scottish referendum and the possibility of an independent Scotland. For the past 2-3 years I have read every article on Scottish independence on BBC News and more elsewhere. It might be that in a world where one has to toe the line of the powers that be or shut up, that a cause re-emerging after 3 centuries would hold an appeal to this rebel at heart.
I believe that an independent Scotland would have been much friendlier to Islām, than the blood-thirsty British Empire. Yet we also believe that not a leaf may blow in the wind, except with the permission of its Creator. The King of kings did not will an independent Scotland, and this must be accepted, whatever good we might have seen in it. Nevertheless, the referendum brought some issues to light which we as Muslims might reflect on.
Facts must precede emotion
Whether true or not, the impression was created that the Independence Movement had no answers and based their cause solely on emotional appeal. The Imperialists supposedly had solid facts to back their assertions. I was extremely disappointed with a Scottish Muslim journalist, who mostly touted emotional slogans, and hardly ever touched on concrete reasons why independence should be supported or challenged the Imperialist camp’s arguments. Thus the journalist contributed to the impression of an emotional movement devoid of reason.
What we should reflect on is how often we as Muslims react with raw emotion instead of looking at the facts. I have touched upon this issue previously when discussing our reaction to the video, Innocence of Muslims.
At times attention must be paid to what impression is created
When ‘Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) wished to slay the hypocrites, Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم advised that the impression would be created that Muḥammad kills his own followers. Although not true, the wise leader صلى الله عليه وسلم had to pay attention to the impression created, not just the reality. With the media against them, the Scots got portrayed as brainless romantic fanatics and this was a factor against them.
Egos vs Issues
I am most impressed with the dignity and dedication of Mr Alexander Salmond, the leader of the Independence movement. Throughout the campaign, the supposedly rational Imperialists ceaselessly attacked the character and intentions of the supposedly emotional Mr Salmond. The dignity of Mr Salmond in not stooping to their level and remaining focussed on his cause and its issues, is an example our Muslim leaders could do well to emulate. I believe that promoting what you believe to be right is closer to the Sunnah than hammering at each other’s character flaws, real or imagined. It is regrettable that a man of such intelligence has not seen the light of Islām as yet. May Allāh bless him with the gift of Islām.
Listening to a speech here and there from George Galloway on Palestine never made me realise what a titanic ego the man possesses. This only became apparent to me during the referendum campaign. As the man is not a Muslim, it might be wrong of me to impose Islāmic ethics on him, but as a matter of reflection, Muslims should always be careful as to whether they are promoting Islām or themselves. Riyā’ or ostentation is a most dangerous spiritual malady which can destroy one’s good deeds.
Promises of the enemy
The Imperialists promised the Scots greater autonomy if they voted against independence. They fell for the ruse and got a rude awakening the very next day when the falsehood of the promises was exposed. It would have been comforting if we were in a position to warn them not to be so naïve, but the reality is that Muslims will gladly slit their own throats if the enemy promises them that there is benefit in that. For how many more decades will certain Palestinians continue to believe that Zionists are genuine peace partners when the facts on the ground show that the Zionists must be laughing themselves sick at such naïveté? They ignore the foretelling of the Ḥadīth and thus continue to humiliate themselves.
The promise of poverty
The threat of poverty which the Imperialists intimidated the Scots with, is the same which Satan promises the believers, as mentioned in the Qurān. Some Scots brushed the threat aside as scaremongering and some were willing to accept an economic price in exchange for their freedom and beliefs. The majority however caved in.
As a Muslim I should ask myself if I cave in to Satan’s threat of poverty in my daily life. Do I tell the truth in my business dealings even if it may lead to a lower profit? Do I falsify documents? Do I give false testimony? Do I hide defects in my product? Do I oppress my tenants? Do I consume interest? Am I willing to accept a lower paying job in which my religion is safe rather than a higher paying or more glamorous job in which I have to compromise my faith every day? Is Satan’s promise or Allāh’s promise greater to me?
Steadfastness during hardship
It appears that many Scots are already galvanising for round 2. A resounding defeat is not sufficient reason for a dedicated person to surrender his or her cause. As Muslims we are living through one of the most difficult periods of our history. If the Anti-Christ does emerge during this generation, which is possible, it will be THE MOST DIFFICULT period of history. If the Scots can remain steadfast to their ideal, why can we not be steadfast to the greatest ideal and the ultimate truth?