They say that one day the great ancient City of Rome caught fire, and flames leaped from everywhere. It is said that the Roman Emperor at the time, a fellow named Nero, did not care about the fire or the devastation it was causing to the city, but went on playing his fiddle.
So, Nero played the fiddle as Rome burned. Not a very good thing for an emperor to do, you would say, right?
I did not make any special effort to learn the history of this. But I see a modern parallel that I find to be compelling. The way most Muslims in the world, including the majority of the so-called Good and Pious Muslims, act and carry on while the world of God all around them crumbles to ashes in the fire of mendacity, injustice, cruelty, greed, corruption, blind ambition and poverty.
As the fire consumed Rome, Nero is said to have reached for his fiddle. And as these deadly fires consume the world, Muslims dive into their mosques or run to Makkah to perform an extra Umrah. to rake up some “Extra” Thawaab.
Muslims are supposed to be the guardian angels of this world. Allah entrusted the world to their care and command and personal responsibility. As a result, Muslims are supposed to protect and serve the best interests of everybody — Muslim and non-Muslim; human and non-human — in this world.
That is the Unchanging Muslim Mission on Earth.
But looking at Muslim priorities and preoccupations today, and looking at the way today’s Muslims go about their lives, and looking at Muslim reaction to happenings and conditions in the world, that is not what a Visitor from Mars would conclude: That Muslims really are the caretakers and custodians of this world, appointed to that task by Almighty Allah himself.
And that they did not really take a leaf out of the pages of Nero’s book to use it as their Deen.