EIGHT DEVELOPING MUSLIM COUNTRIES (D-8): WHAT’S THE HARM?
ABDUL HADI AWANG
Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS)
The D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation was established in 1997 consisting of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Bangladesh.
The combined population of these countries is 1 billion, representing 14 % of the world’s total population. Each country is equipped with its own economic resources, manpower, expertise, and strategic positions on the world map.
The formation of the D-8 is an initiative to bring several Muslim countries together. It was formed after the fall of the Islamic superpower in the last century owing to the failure in practicing the Islamic teaching and the inhumane colonialism practices in the Crusades which were lost in history.
The move to restore Islam to its former glory should not become a problem since the Islamic civilization, admittedly, is the sole civilization with the most contribution to this current civilization.
The advent of Islam is for the greater good, and thus, must be accepted positively by every party. The era of colonial monopoly is over, and the colonies had long been granted independence and sovereignty.
The world has previously seen another G8 group formation that consists of eight developed countries, namely the United States, Italy, Japan, Canada, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. This group was known only as G7 prior to the participation of Canada. Among Western European countries, there is also the formation of the European Union (EU) economic alliance.
Countries in the Western bloc form their own military alliance known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), while for the Eastern bloc, it is known as the Warsaw Pact. At the same time, an alliance is also formed between the Soviet Bloc and China. The existence of these alliances is a threat to one another as well as to world peace.
What’s the problem in establishing an alliance among Muslim countries seeing that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) turns out to have limited functionality?
The D-8 cooperation is mostly aimed at improving humanitarian, economic, and peace cooperation. Its member countries had initially displayed several initiatives in the aspects of economic and technological cooperation. Despite adhering to different political ideologies, resulting from the period of colonialism in their respective countries at a national and international level, cooperation among them is possible.
A bond of brotherhood based on Islam can be manifested out of the spirit of religious brotherhood that exists and beats within the hearts of the Muslims despite differing ideologies and approaches which result from oppressive colonialism conducted towards the Muslim world. From then on, there is a radical shift that calls for changes and reforms in the cooperation among Muslim countries.
There have also been several calls to introduce the Dinar currency for the Muslim world with the intent to remove the dependency on the American dollar and Euro currency that have been manipulating those poor and developing countries.
The D-8 establishment aims to take advantage of the Muslim countries’ strong economic resources which are significantly stronger relative to other countries. This is essential in ensuring that it will benefit the Muslims themselves, first and foremost, without denying the significance of all parties that have friendly relations with Muslim countries.
At the same time, this political cooperation has also been hinting towards helping their fellow believers who are still colonized in some parts of the world today, particularly Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Rohingya, and several others. It is an agenda, brought about to fulfil human rights and rights that should be accompanied with the gift of independence, all of which had been generally accepted by the entire international community, most of whom are apologetic and just.
It is an objective and qualified cooperation; hence the reason it should be permitted to the Muslims which constitute a major part of the world’s population. It operates without disturbing any individual or sovereign country and works hand in hand towards achieving world peace in addition to promoting cooperation in the context of urban society that is wider and bigger in practice.
Nowadays, however, a feeling of hostility and envy has been brewing towards Islam and Muslims in particular. Thus, the attempts to thwart this cooperation effort are now becoming more obvious, for example, by marginalizing the role of OIC in an effort to weaken or shut it down.
Whether it is direct or indirect, obvious or subtle, all of them serve as examples of their bigoted ideology and vile double standards against Islam.
They colonized the Muslims’ homeland by robbing, enslaving the people, and seizing its natural resources for the sake of progress and monopoly of wealth to satiate their own desire. In truth, they are only destroying the world rather than developing it. They have forgotten the services and contribution of the Islamic civilization which provided the knowledge of science and technology to them and the world as a whole.
Does the homeland of the Muslims only deserve to be treated as a battleground for them to fight among themselves or a testing ground for weapons of mass destruction created by the West?
Do the abundant natural resources in Muslim countries belong to any of the Western countries that are vying with one another for them?
Islam highly regards international relations based on peace, as Allah SWT had said:
﴿وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ٦١ وَإِنْ يُرِيدُوا أَنْ يَخْدَعُوكَ فَإِنَّ حَسْبَكَ اللَّهُ هُوَ الَّذِي أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصْرِهِ وَبِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ٦٢﴾
“But if they incline towards peace, you (Prophet) must also incline towards it, and put your trust in God: He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (61); And should they seek to deceive you, Allah is sufficient for you. He is Who strengthened you with His succour and the believers. (62).” (Surah al-Anfal: 61-62)
This verse talks about the lasting policy and approach according to the guidance of the Quran, either when the Muslims are in their weakest or strongest state. On the other hand, Islamophobic slogans accusing Islam without any evidence and semblance of common sense, continue to haunt a country that claims to be civilized and a champion of human rights, freedom, and democracy, yet all of them are merely lip services. Any agenda with Islam in the brand must be opposed at all costs.
Regrettably, some Muslim countries have been seeing the D-8 group in a negative light.
The problem of Muslims these days is rooted in abandoning the guidance of the Quran. As a result, some of them can be easily manipulated by the enemies to carry out their scheme of bringing down and overthrowing one another.
The enemies only have to draw attention to minor internal differences between the Muslims before they lose their patience and put the fragility of their brotherhood on display. Some of them even normalize the most violent enemy of the Muslims.
Even more unfortunate, some of them are willing to be a tool to impede the D-8’s goal which has been arranged in such a way for their own good and progress. They sought to thwart any attempt to activate the D-8 through the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) by four country members, reduced as to facilitate the movements and efforts in reactivating the D-8.
As for those negative people, they can only provide superficial excuses and trivial problems. If one takes the time to read the media statements released by some of these countries, it is clear as day how similar they are to mindless robots that can be programmed to do everything intended by their creator including self-destruction.
This proves the truth of the hadith of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, in which he said:
"يُوشِكُ الْأُمَمُ أَنْ تَدَاعَى عَلَيْكُمْ كَمَا تَدَاعَى الْأَكَلَةُ إِلَى قَصْعَتِهَا"، فَقَالَ قَائِلٌ: وَمِنْ قِلَّةٍ نَحْنُ يَوْمَئِذٍ؟ قَالَ: "بَلْ أَنْتُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ كَثِيرٌ، وَلَكِنَّكُمْ غُثَاءٌ كَغُثَاءِ السَّيْلِ، وَلَيَنْزَعَنَّ اللَّهُ مِنْ صُدُورِ عَدُوِّكُمُ الْمَهَابَةَ مِنْكُمْ، وَلَيَقْذِفَنَّ اللَّهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمُ الْوَهْنَ"، فَقَالَ قَائِلٌ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَمَا الْوَهْنُ؟ قَالَ: "حُبُّ الدُّنْيَا، وَكَرَاهِيَةُ الْمَوْتِ."
“The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish. A companion then asked: “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” Prophet Muhammad PBUH replied: “No, you will be numerous at that time but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent, and Allah will take fear of you from the breasts of your enemy and last enervation into your hearts.” Then, a companion asked: “What is wahn (enervation)?” The Messenger of Allah PBUH replied: “Love of the world and dislike of death.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud 4297 and Ahmad 22397)
Indeed, the fear of Muslim countries that are rich in wealth and filled with mischief is long removed.
As a matter of fact, the Quran had taught Prophet Muhammad PBUH how to understand political ruses in consideration of international, religious, and race relations. This serves as lessons for the Prophet’s followers. Regarding this matter, Allah SWT had said:
﴿الم١ غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ٢ فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ٣ فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ لِلَّهِ الْأَمْرُ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَمِنْ بَعْدُ وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ٤﴾
“Alif, Laam, Miim. (1); The Romans have been defeated. (2); in the nearer land; and they, after their defeat, will triumph. (3); within a few years. To Allah belong the matter before and (to Him it belongs) thereafter. And on that day the believers will rejoice. (4).” (Surah al-Rum: 1-4)
These Quranic verses revealed the international political ruse that happened in the time of the Prophet PBUH between two superpowers, both of whom were hostile towards Islam. The difference is that Rome was the follower of the Book and previous Prophets of Allah, while Persia embraced the religion of Zoroastrianism. The Persians were not even bestowed with scripture, and as a result, were more astray compared to Rome.
For this reason, Prophet Muhammad PBUH and his companions hoped that the victory would go to Rome, causing them to be ridiculed by the Disbelievers of Mecca. Allah SWT later validated their stance and promised that Rome will prevail once again. In the Quran, Allah SWT had said:
﴿لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَى ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ٨٢ وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَى أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ٨٣ وَمَا لَنَا لَا نُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا جَاءَنَا مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَنَطْمَعُ أَنْ يُدْخِلَنَا رَبُّنَا مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الصَّالِحِينَ٨٤ فَأَثَابَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِمَا قَالُوا جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ٨٥﴾
“And you will certainly find that the people most hostile against the believers are the Jews and the ones who ascribe partners to Allah. You will certainly find that the closest of them in friendship with the believers are those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them there are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. (82); And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger you see that their eyes overflow with tears because of the Truth that they recognize and they say: 'Our Lord! We do believe; write us down, therefore, with those who bear witness (to the Truth).’ (83); ‘And why should we not believe in Allah and the Truth which has come down to us when we do fervently desire that our Lord include us among the righteous?’ (84); So, Allah rewarded them for these words with Gardens beneath which rivers flow so that they would abide there forever. Such is the reward of the people who do good. (85).” (Surah al-Ma’idah: 82-85)
Prophet Muhammad PBUH also took the approach of conducting ‘tahaluf’ (cooperation or alliance) with non-extreme Jews who were members of the plural society in Medina, as well as non-extreme disbelievers such as the Khuza’ah tribe and several others. This also holds true for the peaceful Christians from the Ethiopia and Najran provinces, as well as the King of Egypt who had a good relationship with the Muslims.
As for the two superpowers - Eastern Rome (Byzantine) and Persia, they were dealt with by the Prophet PBUH with military strategies. As the Persian representatives came to Yemen, they were warmly received and ended up willingly embraced Islam. In the later days of the caliphate, Islam continued to establish peace with the great country of China, and as a result, Islam was permitted to enter China from the time of the Prophet PBUH.
The influence of Islam penetrated Europe to the extent of being able to establish civilized states in Southern Europe and Central Asia and reach Southeast Asia through trade and peaceful methods. As for the wars, they were not done out of the Muslims’ volition but had to be waged in an effort to prevent transgression and tyranny. In retrospect, they were a form of defence against the sieges carried out by the Persians and Romans in ancient times, the Crusades, and colonization in modern times.
The hostile attitude that can be witnessed first-hand in this day and age is simply rooted in their phobia of Islam, a true and just religion, in which its innocent followers are victimized as a result. Phobia is a symptom that is not based on common sense and is unethical in international and national relations.
As for the division among Muslim countries, that can be largely attributed to the fatwas issued by the enemies of Islam against the dangers of the ‘Ottoman Turks’. They equated the Turks with the disbelievers from the Quraysh and the Shia of Iran with the Zoroastrians who had long lost in history. On the other hand, Islam has succeeded in converting the Turks and Persians into a nation with the most contribution towards Islam.
Unfortunately, they only learn knowledge from pages of the book without proper understanding of the jurisdiction behind it, relative to the authors who adhered to the guidance of the Qur'an and the wisdom behind the Prophet’s hadith. Eventually, it begins to drag religious figures who have little understanding of the jurisdiction and the Qur’an into division and proxy wars, as intended by the enemies of Islam and its adherents.
In the end, the event that had been warned by the Prophet PBUH through his words occurred:
لَا تَرْجِعُوا بَعْدِي كُفَّارًا يَضْرِبُ بَعْضُكُمْ رِقَابَ بَعْضٍ.
“May Allah be merciful to you! Do not become infidels after me (i.e., my death) by cutting the necks (throats) of one another.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari 4403)
ABDUL HADI AWANG
Date: 3rd Ramadhan 1442 / 15th April 2021