Thus Colonization ushers in an era of darkness and cruelty during which the colonizers pillage and plunder the lands, resources, wealth and treasures of the colonized people and ship them off to their “mother countries.” Furthermore, the colonizers set themselves, right there in the heart of their colonized lands and cultures, as a privileged and exclusive club of people, a superior class or race as it were, in whose midst there is barely any room for the natives or their ways, manners or cultures.
Natives are thus reduced to serfdom or to a status of second-class citizenship. The story of pervasive domination and exploitation that follows is world changing in most fundamental ways.
Here is one of history’s greatest and starkest contrasts: Muslims instituted the concept and culture of Hijrat in the world while Europe gave the world the dubious gift of Colonization.
Colonization thus changed the world forever.
It did so by destroying the native populations of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand and replacing them with the European colonizers and their descendents. Colonization transferred wealth, resources and raw materials of mammoth proportions from the colonized lands to the colonizing lands in Europe.
This fundamentally transformed both European mother countries and their colonies, enriching the former beyond their wildest dreams, while at the same time robbing and impoverishing the latter beyond their darkest fears and nightmares.
This wealth and these resources and raw materials that went to Europe from the colonies then ushered in the age of industrialization in Europe and further consolidated the power, reach and domination of the European colonizers around the world.
Colonization Ravaged Muslim Homeland
Colonization also weakened, impoverished, splintered and reshaped the Muslim world in equally fundamental ways. It conquered and subjugated the Muslim world through persistent onslaught. It changed the culture of the Muslim world and turned Muslim societies into vassal states.
Often the colonizers replaced the Muslim world’s ruling elites with colonial quislings, vassals and agents who placed a chokehold around the necks of the Muslim people everywhere. Corrupt tyrants and inept rulers foisted on Muslims everywhere by the colonizers set about with gay abandon plundering and squandering Muslim wealth and resources, often at the bidding and in the service of their colonial masters.
Whenever the Muslim people organized and took steps to free themselves from the clutches of their traitorous leaders and rulers, their colonial masters rushed in to save and protect them and thwart any attempt on the part of the native Muslim populations to dislodge them.
Thus, Colonization totally ravaged Muslim lands everywhere and forever changed them in ways that were detrimental to them and favorable to the colonizers.
Bad by Any Name
I am not interested here in the technical differences between such names and titles as colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism that some people may insist upon to describe the scenario I have sketched above. To me, in the context of the central point I am trying to make, these technicalities of nomenclature are the hobgoblins of minds and souls enfeebled by prolonged colonial domination.
They are functional equivalents, all of them, and they all seek, albeit maybe in different ways, the same common goals of forcible colonization, domination and continued exploitation of other peoples and places for their own benefit, advancement and continued prosperity.
Colonialism and its conceptual, philosophical and methodological cousins that share its moral, intellectual and spiritual lineage and bankruptcy (e.g. imperialism and the rest) robbed and denuded the lands and peoples of Africa of solid chunks of the finest flowering of its youth, male as well as female, and of some of its greatest and most bountiful treasures and resources. Europe and America got rich by robbing Africa of its sons and daughters and selling and using them as slaves.
So, these are just some of the distinctions that separate the glorious, divine and Islamic notion of Hijrah from the devilish and morally and spiritually corrupt and evil philosophy and worldview in which the notion of Colonization and its equally wicked and evil relatives such as imperialism have their home and origins.
But sadly, the movers and shakers of early Islam in America – 1960-1985 – forgot that the nature of this Deen was Hijrat or immigration and not colonization.
Hijrat Builds a Better World
As I said earlier, there is a clear difference between the two. Immigrants/Emigrants – call them what you will, but these are the folks who leave their native homes and lands to go and settle and build a life elsewhere – pack their bags, kiss their people and their land goodbye, load everything on their mules, camel carts, trucks, lorries and airplanes and leave.
They don’t look back and they don’t have an umbilical chord tied to their native land.
We invented this game of Hijrat (Immigration/Emigration) and the resulting integration and transformation of the world and its peoples. We hold the patent on it. And through it we changed the world for the better. Using it we built a better world.
If you don’t believe me, look at five-times Namaz in any city in America and see how a perfectly integrated cross-section of humanity with all the colors and races of the rainbow blends into a beautiful bouquet of divine blessings on earth: young and old; black and white; and rich and poor.
See how they all jostle each other in the same Saff or line without the distinctions of race, color or status.
Aiyk hi saff mai khaday hogaye Mahmoud-o-Ayaaz.
Na ko-ee banda rahaa, no ko-ee banda nawaaz.
All too often Muslims don’t give themselves credit for all the things they do right. And this is one of them.
Compare Muslim Jum’ah in any part of the world with Sunday services in churches, for example, in a place like America. See for yourself how church services are racially sorted and segregated to this day and also see how a Jum’ah congregation looks like a whole bunch of races and ages had been thrown in a blender and stirred.
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How the World Died a Thousand Deaths!
Right Before Our Eyes!
And Other Disadvantaged People of the World –
Including the “Poor Muslim Kids” of India!