These days, they are all experts: on Islam and Muslims I mean. And in as many cases as not, instant experts, I must point out.
Drive-by Experts is what I call this crop of instant cognoscenti that flood the market — and the airwaves — and the media in general — in these troubled times. Those in policy portals are somewhat different. Often, many of them know their stuff even though they may choose to twist truth to fit policy parameters and political agendas.
And the factors that breed this mushroom cloud of Drive-by Experts on Islam and Muslims are many. Not the least among them is the money that can be made by a claim to expertise on Islam, no matter how tenuous or precarious. And the perks and privileges that go with it.
There is name, fame and fortune to be made by saying you are an Islamic Expert and then letting loose on Islam and Muslims, left, right and center. Poor Muslims — barring the blackguards and charlatans among them — wouldn’t know what hit them or how to respond to this onslaught in a truly meaningful, effective, civilized, rational and peaceful way. And if they did make some noises of the legitimate and appropriate variety, no one will pay any attention to them anyway.
But it is good that fewer and fewer buses seem to suffer the wrath of angry and frustrated Muslim mobs in parts of Islamistan. The fury seems to be headed for the jugular now as evidently angry and frustrated agents of powerful money and politics — both domestic and foreign — have developed more of a penchant for blown up bodies than for burned buses.
“Agents” include Agents Provocateurs.
They are basically contractors, as we call them these days. They are hired hands that is, people who used to be called mercenaries at one time, in the pay of powerful money and politics, both domestic and foreign, both public and private. They work, mysteriously and in the shadows of darkness and doubt, to sow the seeds of discord and unleash the whirlwinds of chaos, confusion and violence in target areas of their choice and determination.
Their job is to work mayhem and create havoc where and how they can — often, the more spectacularly bloody and barbaric their handiwork the better — and to destabilize societies and nations, and implicate and neutralize individuals, groups and organizations seen as threat by this or that pocket of wealth, power or influence, again, both domestic or foreign.
And the target is Islam and Muslims. It has been forever; it is now; and it shall continue for as long as the present mindset among humans — individuals, groups, organizations, nations and societies — continues.
The larger and more serious casualty, however, is truth.
Truth is the sunshine, stake-to-the-heart, Draculas of falsehood, tyranny and exploitation fear most and work aggressively to pervert, destroy and cover up. Islam came to wean humans away from their addiction to lies, and to brute power and naked greed, and to put them in touch with truth and reality — both in this world as well as in the next world.
Hence, there is always a market, often a flourishing one, for knowingly and willfully mixing truth with falsehood, and for covering up facts, and for misleading the world about Islam itself.
Islam, however, knew and called this sordid game ab initio — from Day One. The Qur’an says: … Lima talbisoonal haqqa bil baatil wa taktumoonal haqqa wa antum ta’alamoon. Paraphrase: previous paragraph.
Demonizing an entire faith, culture and way of life, delegitimizing an entire history, and demoralizing all peoples, nations and societies that owe allegiance to them are acts of perversity and premeditation that merchants of mendacity and instigators of mayhem and mischief practice as a living. From there, it is a short step to mass lynching, pogroms and genocide.
Thus, Allah’s Deen — Islam that is — is a gateway to Paradise after death for the Believers in God and his Prophets and Messengers (God Bless Them All!). And for those who believe in the Day of Judgment and in full and unremitting accountability therein for their deeds and misdeeds in this worldly life.
At the same time, right here in this world, for those who do not believe in God and Prophets — and in accountability on the Day of Judgment — and those, that is, whose sole motivation in life is to make a buck or two, or to serve a political purpose, Allah’s Deen Islam could still be a camel that provides a giant-size heap of gold. It could be a cow with deep udders.
That is why, given all the mercenary and political axes that many of these putative experts have to grind, this rash of drive-by expertise on Islam and Muslims is truly a child of mixed parentage and dubious credibility. It is a bonanza for merchants of mendacity and make-believe.
A Quick Ticket to Name, Fame and Fortune
In this way, Islam has — and, frankly, Muslims have — become a quick and easy ticket to name, fame and fortune to countless adventurers and carpetbaggers in the dim alleys of radio, television and newspapers.
As for the media themselves, they have literally discovered Ali Baba’s Legendary Cave of treasures in Islam and Muslims, if not the Holy Grail itself. With Islam and Muslims as their staple, their readership, ratings and incomes are secure and soaring for a long time to come. For as long as God Almighty would want things to be that way, as Muslims would say.
This world is after all HIS world — God’s world that is — and he runs it as he pleases. That is what makes him God. And belief in that fact is what makes Muslims, Muslims.
So Allah’s Deen, and the followers of Allah’s Deen, Muslims that is, flawed and warted as many of them are, continue to provide a generous dole of livelihood to untold millions throughout the world. It is not for nothing that Allah sent his last prophet and messenger, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, as a blessing and mercy to everyone and everything — after death for some as well as right here in this world while they are living for some others.