The privileged class called the Men of Letters wields tremendous influence in the society. To this class I address my concern today about the guidance they provides and the evils they spreads. First, from where do they operate? They are in the classroom as teachers, lecturers and professors teaching the younger generation. They are in the media as writers, journalists, producers, presenters and anchors setting public agenda. They stand on the pulpit and the mimbars as imams, sheikhs, bishops, pastors and general overseers preaching godliness with scriptural exhortations. They are part of the larger civil society campaigning for freedoms and the defence of human rights.
They are in government, as occupants of executive offices and as the representatives of the electorate in the city councils or sitting in the hallowed chambers of the legislative assemblies. They hold high cabinet offices or function as influential technocrats in the public service. They are members of the Bar and the Bench as interpreters of the law or dispensers of justice in the courts of law. They are the ideologues, philosophers and the intellectuals of our age who are held in very high esteem and whose words and views are held sacrosanct.
From this lot, we expect our world to be well-ordered because they are the rulers of the society and rulers of the minds of the rulers. Through them, we expect life to be enhanced for the less privileged. But somehow, our world gets more chaotic and problematic in spite of them. Today, many of them are vanguards of perversion and apostles of apostasy. They no longer provide guidance but would rather corrupt wisdom. They are failing and disappointing in their discharge of public and godly trust, often justifying godlessness and compromising the spirituality of man.
It is not uncommon to find members of this class sanctifying immorality, confusing the younger generation and misleading the older ones, dehumanizing man through their sayings, writings and conduct, and further increasing the hopelessness, misfortune and desperation of the less fortunate. Some of them are rather advocates of destabilization, deifying Iblis and its hosts. Instead of reforming the world to make it a better place for all, they are guilty of mortgaging its future. In the media, what spews forth from them is hate and follies. Their pens drip with blood. Their books, journals, newspapers and magazines are cancerous. Unfortunately, the lifestyles of many of them are unedifying yet they are taken as role models. Sadly too, they find recruits in the artists of all genres, illustrating and celebrating their perfidy in music and the cinema. So, what is glamorized as the culture of the Men of Letters, the modern culture, is the denigration of human worth.
I am not exactly looking for a Utopia or a replication of Al-jannah, for this would be too fool-hardy to have. But within the generally acceptable norms and codes of conduct, the rules and regulations we make, the preaching on the alters and the prescriptions we give ourselves through the constitution, the international conventions and declarations we observe, one expects the Men of Letters, this privileged class to show some faith and fidelity, not hypocrisy. Now, there is a disconnection between the ideals they mouth, their deeds in privacy and their conduct in the public. So, the less educated found justification in their indiscipline, corruption and civil disobedience.
The result is the state of insecurity in our world. There is disorientation. There is disillusionment. There is exploitation. There is anomie. Is this an affirmation of the wasting of our generation? Is this an actualization of the beginning of end-time? Does this trend not confirm the bestiality of Man? Does it not justify the call by some people for a bloody revolution or the Apocalypse? Is this not a situation warranting another deluge to wipe out a sinful generation as in the days of Prophet Nuh (Noah)?
One does not need to extend these questions further. But I believe our world can still be salvaged from this rot, not by the emergence of another messiah or prophet, but by the change in the attitude of the Men of Letters or the Men of Learning, the ulul albaab who the Furqaan describe as the successors of the prophets. They must appreciate their privileged position in the world. They must realize that they are custodians of a huge trust, the trust of God. The reform of the Men of Letters is the regeneration of a New World, the world of justice and peace, the world of fairness and love.
Borrowing the title of Professor Jeffrey Sachs seminal work, End of Poverty, the privileged class or the Men of Letters, Men of Understanding or the ulul albaab first need to retrieve themselves from the abyss they have sunk before the world can be reformed to bring an end to poverty and corruption. Not excluding myself as a writer, I think this class should be honorable enough to admit that we are failing the world and so, we need to change and do more to sustain the world for the future generation whose curse we must avoid when we are gone because there is still an infinite future we will live.