Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari related that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “This nation of mine is one upon which there is mercy; there is no punishment upon it in the Hereafter; its punishment is in this world – with trials, earthquakes, and killings.” [Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah]
Ten million Muslims are suffering in the Horn of Africa amidst the worst drought seen in 60 years. Poverty has become extreme: children are dying of starvation, pregnancies are resulting in miscarriages and farmers’ livelihoods are being destroyed.
Many mothers along with their children say they have walked for a month on bare and bloodied feet to refugee camps in Kenya. Journeys of more than 300 miles are common. In their search for food and water, they have slept for weeks on burning sand under open skies.
Water is now so scarce that the governor of the Middle Shabelle region, Abdullahi Moalim Hussain, recently said: ‘Water is so expensive in the area that people are being buried without being washed, which is compulsory in Islam.’
Aid as a weapon of war
The international community has generously pledged hundreds of millions of dollars, but aid distribution is being hampered because America is using food as a weapon in its war against Al-Shabab who opposes the US backed government in Mogadishu.
America claims Al-Shabab fighters are making the crisis worse by restricting some UN aid agencies from operating independently in areas under their control. However only last year UN officials intensified their criticism of the American government saying that Washington was imposing ”impossible” conditions on aid deliveries for Somalia and holding up tens of millions of dollars of desperately needed food based on unfounded accusations that it would be diverted to terrorists.
Mistrust of UN Aid Agencies
In 1992 Somalia was also struck by a famine and America used it to launch an invasion under the pretext of humanitarian assistance. This ‘humanitarian aid’ was delivered to Somalia under the authority of the United Nations peacekeeping force (UNOSOM). The real goal of the operation however was revealed by Colin Powell who stated at the time that pulling US troops out of Somalia would be “devastating to our hopes for the New World Order …”
Americans considered Somalis less than human, calling them “skinnies” or “sammies.” Lieutenant-General William G Boykin, an Evangelical Christian was head of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force in Somalia. In one speech, he recalled a Muslim fighter in Somalia who said he had the protection of Allah against US forces.
“Well you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his,” said Lt Gen Boykin. “I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol.”
U.S. troops often flew their powerful Black Hawk helicopters low over markets, streets and neighborhoods at any hour of the day or night. The intense downdraft from the helicopter blades damaged and destroyed entire neighborhoods, blowing down homes, mosques, market stalls and walls. It would terrify cattle. Women would have clothes torn off their bodies and infants torn out of their arms.
On one raid, the U.S. troops handcuffed a woman who would not stop screaming. Finally, a half hour later, a translator arrived and discovered that her baby had been blown down the street by the downdraft from the Black Hawk just before the U.S. troops handcuffed her. On September 19, 1993, helicopters from the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division shot missiles into a crowd, killing 100 unarmed people.
UN atrocities in Somalia were not only confined to Americans.
Belgian UN troops forced a young Somali to eat pork, drink salt water, and then eat his own vomit! Others were photographed “roasting” a Somali boy over a flaming fire and urinating on a murdered Somali!
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ
أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَٰكِنْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
“When they are told, ‘Do not cause corruption on the earth,’ they say, ‘We are only putting things right.’ No indeed! They are the corrupters, but they are not aware of it.”
Understandably, Muslims fear these UN aid agencies will be misused by America as a cover for intelligence gathering in its dirty war against Islam. The US already operates and funds a secret prison in Mogadishu in which it interrogates Al-Shabab prisoners. Last month, the US launched its first drone attack on Somalia and more are to follow. We know from these attacks in Pakistan that innocent civilians bear the brunt of the casualties.
A future Caliphate’s response to famine
The Muslim ummah is one and its suffering is one.
مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كَمَثَلِ الْجَسَدِ إِذَا أَلِمَ بَعْضُهُ تَدَاعَى سَائِرُهُ
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The example of the believers is like the body, if part of it hurts the rest of it is summoned.” [Ahmed]
The wealth in the Muslim world with its abundant natural resources is immense. There should be no need to rely on America, the UN and other western powers for aid. Rather the Caliphate should be the leading nation that is giving aid not receiving it.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The upper hand is better than the lower hand (i.e. he who gives in charity is better than him who takes it). One should start giving first to his dependents. And the best object of charity is that which is given by a wealthy person (from the money which is left after his expenses). And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient.” [Bukhari, Narrated by Hakim bin Hizam]
In 1845, the onset of the Great Irish Famine resulted in over a million deaths. Ottoman Sultan Caliph Abdul-Majid I declared his intention to send 10,000 sterling to Irish farmers but Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only 1,000 sterling, because she had sent only 2,000 sterling herself. The Sultan sent the 1,000 sterling but also secretly sent 3 ships full of food. The English courts tried to block the ships, but the food arrived in Drogheda harbor and was left there by Ottoman Sailors. Due to this the Irish people, especially those in Drogheda, are friendly to the Turks.
The Caliphate is not a union of independent states like the EU or an empire where wealth is taken from the regions and concentrated in the capital. It is one state with a central government, divided up administratively in to provinces (wiliayaat). If any province of the Caliphate suffers a disaster such as a famine then funds will be collected from all other provinces to alleviate the problem. The Charities Department (Diwan as-Sadaqat) and the Public Properties department of the Treasury (Bait ul-Mal) will allocate funds to the famine. Natural resources like oil cannot be owned by individual royal families to misuse as they please, buying super cars, foreign football clubs and propping up western interest-based banks. They are public resources owned by the citizens of the Caliphate.
Distribution of the aid and resolving the crisis will require pooling resources from many government agencies and the armed forces. The Caliph can personally take charge of this or send an Assistant Caliph (Mu’awin Tafweed) who has the same powers as the Caliph in his capacity as a deputy. The Assistant Caliph can then take control of all government agencies and armed forces involved in the disaster relief operation, cutting bureaucracy which could delay aid distribution.
Alternatively the governor (wali) of the affected province could be assigned full authority over his wiliyah to manage the disaster. This would only be temporary since governors in the Caliphate have a restricted (khass) mandate to prevent independent, autonomous regions appearing.
In the year 18AH during the Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab the Arabian Peninsula was struck by a severe famine and drought, and hunger grew so severe that the wild animals started coming in to the towns, and if a man slaughtered a sheep he would not be able to eat it because it was so scrawny, and the flocks died of hunger. This year was called the year of ar-Ramadah because the wind blew the dust around like ashes (ar-ramad). [Dr Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi, “Umar ibn al-Khattab his life and times,” Vol. 1, p. 409]
Umar was the Caliph and took personal control of resolving the famine. He made an oath that he would not taste any meat or ghee until the famine was over and the people went back to normal.
He established refugee camps in the desert for the thousands of Arabs who converged on Medina. Umar set up an institution to help the refugees and appointed workers at these camps. He divided the work up so every worker knew exactly what he was supposed to be doing, and did not duplicate the work assigned to someone else. He appointed people in different parts of Medina to supervise the distribution of food. When evening came, they would meet with him and tell him about what they had done, and he would give them further instructions. Umar also worked in the refugee camps.
Umar had already established an institution called Dar ad-Daqeeq with the purpose of distributing food to those who came to Medina. It distributed flour, saweeq, dates and raisins from its stores before supplies arrived from the other regions of the state.
Umar also wrote to all his governors in Egypt, Iraq, Persia and Syria requesting they send aid. All responded and sent huge quantities of aid to the capital.
Finally, Umar organised prayer for rain (al-istisqa) in Medina and through the regions of the Caliphate. Allah accepted this dua and it began to rain.
In the absence of the Caliphate Muslims must strive to re-establish it and give as much assistance and money as they can to those sincere, trustworthy Muslim charities working in Somalia to alleviate some of the suffering of our brothers and sisters.
‘Iddi b. Haatim narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Protect yourselves from the Fire, even if by giving half a date (in charity).” [Bukhari]