IN DEFENCE OF SAUDI ARABIA*

The Pen December, 1990

Since I came to know Saudi Arabia, have I come to realize that there is indeed a peaceful country in the world. And it deserves a space in the Guinness Book of Record as the most peaceful nation on earth. We are constantly reminded of Saudi’s gesture, scholarship for Muslim students too numerous to mention, financial assistance to other Muslim nations, which include Nigeria, Niger, Sudan, Uganda, just to mention a few from Africa, and even Palestinians, whose support Saddam is buying with missile attacks on Israel. Economic stability in Saudi Arabia is the envy of many nations. Travelling to the holy land (Mecca) would convince anyone in doubt.

Peace has always been their priority. Rarely do we hear about her citizens complaining against certain government policies. Unlike in other countries where citizens are victims of the massacre from their own rulers, where the bloodshed has become normal vision to eyes and where tribal conflicts and political intolerance have become a daily scene which in turn result in retrogression of economies, and where frequent student demonstration, personality clashes, hunger and starvation have been the order of the day, Saudi Arabia, for the past centuries, experienced none of such an ugly scenario.

If a country could avoid and protect herself from the above political cankerworm, it is worth being loved over any other thing in the world. This is indeed a government to emulate due to its successful system. Social critics call one system a monarchy, and another democracy. The names do not matter, what matters is service to the people, good shelter, satisfaction, comfort and above all, security of lives and property. How many so-called democratic countries witness frequent changes of government which set them back? We have seen many democratic leaders trying to assert themselves by force without the people’s mandate. What is then the essence of calling such a system a democracy?

Saudi Arabia, before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, had no faith in keeping too many soldiers as it believes in having no conflict with anybody and in any case, when they occur, would be solved amicably and diplomatically. But when Saddam threatened it, NOBODY, I say it boldly, no nation, can protect Saudi Arabia from the hand of a country which had just finished eight-years old war with another Muslim nation for no reason, (may the soul of Ayatollah rest in peace), and which had used deadly and most sophisticated dangerous weapons on earth on its own people and innocent neighbours, than a superpower with equipment to neutralize and intervene to protect Saudi.

If not for the quick intervention of the U.S. and her allied forces who are all under the umbrella of the United Nations Organization, which Nigeria and Saudi are also members, nobody could predict what would have been the fate of the peace-loving Saudis by now. We are all living witnesses of the Islamic republic of Iran’s bombardment and chemical weapons deployed to exterminate its people. We learnt about the earthquake which occurred recently and claiming thousands of lives in Iran. The causes were as a result of the bombardment carried out on it by Iraq some years ago.

Black-painting Saudi Arabia as done by some writers and journalists is an act of injustice and an attempt to blackmail a country Muslims are so proud of. When a country with a good government and administration is faced with such cynicism, it makes one sad and angry. I cannot but analyze the facts so that good, innocent people are not misled by misconceptions and misinterpretations. If those writers expected to be praised for their write-ups, they are indeed in for a surprise. Critics, many some times talk about the Gulf crisis having to do with religion. To say it as it is, the crisis in the Gulf has nothing to do with religion. If it had to do with religion, a Muslim country could not invade another Muslim country. We easily forget Saddam’s claim that the invasion of Kuwait had to do with illegal oil siphoned by Kuwait and possession of oil fields and access to secure waterways. How could it have anything to do with religion when the Prophet Muhammed had said that “to abuse a Muslim is transgression and to fight him is unbelief?” Unfortunately, it is precisely this attitude of writers whose articles are not truthfully based on contemporary reality that is downgrading the Saudi government, giving it a bad image before its friends. No wonder sometimes that these are the tactics of people of guilty consciences who begrudge others rich fortune and peacefulness.

On the issue of allied forces in Saudi territory, there is nothing wrong in inviting powerful members of your organization to protect you. It happened during the first period of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) when people of Quresh were intimidating new converts and followers with words of malice. What the prophet told his followers was to migrate to Abyssinia (a Christian state then) for refuge. As we all know, Allah will not come down to protect us but only by sending something or someone miraculously. Allah said in the holy Qur’an; “He is the irresistible, (watching) from the above over His worshipers, and He sets guardians over you “Qur’an 6:61.

It occurred before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) when a ruler of Abyssinia in the name of Abraham Asham, came to destroy Ka’aba (Muslim’s holy house) in Mecca. His intention was foiled and he was killed by “the miracle consisted in birds coming in large flinging stones at the army which caused a great pestilence to arise and destroy the whole Abraha’s army” commented Yusuf Ali.

The belief that the Saudi rulers are committing some great offence contrary to Quranic injunctions is the only thing I can agree upon of all the accusations. But we should also realize that there has never been a “Mr. Perfect” who is hundred percent right. We have seen some of our so-called leaders, preachers, radicals, and critics committing different offences covertly which they overtly condemn. Nobody is above mistakes, indeed but the warning is good and Saudi should observe it.

It’s my call to the Saudi ruling family and its people to look at the accusations instantly and find out how they can make up for them as they are the mirror of Muslim nations. They should repent of their sins and settle brothers at loggerheads. This is their major role, to sustain peace throughout the Muslim world. And for us Muslim brothers and sisters, I appeal to us to find a way to stop the carnage instead of backing one side and condemning the other.

* Please see a response in page 168