Suppleness of the Muslim State
In his 1972 book, Heroin politicsAlfred McCoy coined the phrase "state flexibility." He discussed the history of the discovery, production and existence of heroin until today. Among the many discoveries he made was that the CIA really had a heavy hand in the production and distribution of heroin throughout the world. Interestingly, he found that the CIA's complicity in the global cycle of drug trafficking actually contradicted many other US politicians and organizations. For example, 10% -15% of junior US military personnel working in Vietnam were victims of heroin use. This affected the morale and actually caused damage to the US military. In addition, organizations that sought to stop the spread of drugs worked in direct conflict with the CIA. This is what McCoy meant in his phrase “state flexibility”, there were so many different parts of the state that in many cases they worked in contradiction each other and not in benefit general condition.
In my experience, I discovered that there is a certain “state flexibility” in the Muslim community. We all have noble goals in our organizations, but due to unfortunate circumstances, we are competing with each other, not cooperating. For example, you can find two or three masajid (mosques) in a cohesive area, each of which is in debt and in need of resources. Instead of combining and benefiting from unified and financial stability Masjid, three masajid remain divided and broken. Not only is the community divided, but from a financial point of view it simply does not make sense. Regardless of the reasons, whether cultural, the result of a bad history between board members or anything else, we should not work against the common goals of our communities and ummah (global Muslim community).
Another example is with our Islamic schools and non-profit organizations. Many times there are similar organizations that are looking for the same goals, regardless of whether it is trying to build a community center, to da`wah (call for Islam), or to raise money for the reasons for liberation. This is not always a problem. If organizations are working to achieve similar goals, but are operational or different least working together then there is no problem. There was ikhtilaaf (difference of opinion) among sahaba (comrades Muhammad, peace be upon him), therefore, we should not expect or call for having one way to do something. The problem arises when organizations and individuals work against each other and harm each other.
As a community, we have limited resources, so when several organizations working on similar projects all request the same resources (money, volunteers, etc.), and pull them out in ten different directions, rather than a few, to make the same thing – we spend time, energy and money. For example, some of our large Muslim non-profit organizations have administrative fees and marketing fees in the millions! Imagine how much money will be saved if they work together. When we dilute our resources, they are never enough. However, when we combine these resources together, we can achieve much more. God knows better, but there seems to be excessive “flexibility of the Muslim state” that works against the overarching goals of our community that need to be addressed.