I know that this is not a happy day and many of us are down about the inauguration of the newest pharaoh-in-chief. But consider this silver lining.
Worldly power has an effect on people’s hearts. People look up to the powerful. And, people’s hearts incline towards the values and beliefs of those in power, sometimes subconsciously and unwittingly, simply because power is attractive and compelling in and of itself.
This is why when Muslims were in a position of political and military power throughout history, Islam spread far and wide. If Islam could bring its adherents worldly power, then that must be a sign of its truth and its endorsement from God. In that sense, might made right so to speak. And the ulama in our tradition were keenly aware of this.
But what happens when the most powerful in the land is manifestly disgusting, despicable, and ugly? Whenever those in power are kuffar, that is a blessing. People are repulsed and, in that way, are saved from coming under the influence of the values and beliefs of the powerful.
What made Obama so dangerous and so destructive for Muslims was that he was (superficially) attractive. He captured people’s hearts and that had a significant negative impact on Muslim faith in America, whether the community is willing to recognize it or not. His power was acceptable and the many unambiguously anti-Islamic values and beliefs he represented were adopted and eventually endorsed, sometimes enthusiastically, by our community.
But now that Obama, the pied piper, is gone and this new orange-hued monstrosity has taken his place, the community will flip inshaAllah. The hedonistic, materialistic, opportunistic, pragmatist political status quo will be shunned by Muslims or at least perceived with utmost suspicion if not contempt. That will have a positive spiritual impact and I’m optimistic about that.
More than ever, we need to look at world events in spiritual terms. Our tendency to reduce every issue to a matter of materialistic, dunyawi considerations of disenfranchisement, access, rights, discrimination, etc., is self-defeating and myopic, which is not to say that such dunyawi considerations are irrelevant. But as Muslims, we have to recognize that the spiritual plane is of far greater significance, meaning, and consequence. If we can draw our attention to that, then maybe we can remain positive and proactive while having husn al-dhann about Allah and His plan.