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Saturday, May 25, 2024

The historical grandeur of Islam, contemporary challenges of the Muslim Ummah and solutions

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Allowing in inglory Part 3

It is not my intention to suggest that the retreat of Muslim society should be attributed entirely to a ruthless stratagem by the West.  Political and social analysts point to an unequal contest between an industrial and capitalist West against an agrarian and pastoral house of Islam.  Muslim scholars also admit that the decline was caused by the fragmentation of Islam in geo-political terms over the last two centuries as a result of the weakening of central authority, the absence of an institutional framework for Muslim states, the decline in moral and ethical values of the ruling classes and the growth of autocratic and corrupt regimes. The emergence and consolidation of reactionary thought in Muslim society was a significant factor in the rejection of science and the acquisition of modern technology.

When we survey the state of today’s world of Islam, the picture which comes before our eyes is gloomy. The world of Islam, in political, economic, and social terms, is in disarray. A disproportionately high per centage of violent conflicts globally (estimated at 60%) currently takes place in the world of Islam. The world of Islam has been reduced to a playground for political proxy wars. Some countries in the world of Islam have placed themselves entirely in the hands of Western powers to the detriment of their financial and economic independence. And indeed, their defence and foreign policy!

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A verse of the poet, Habib Jalib depicts this as giving selfishness priority over safeguarding the house of God.

The consequences from these serious internal tensions and conflicts in the world of Islam are immeasurable. The development process is stalled by the destruction of key infrastructures and by the increasing burden of foreign debts, multiplying populations, foreign exchange shortages and inefficient bureaucracies.

The cascading nature of these violent conflicts has played into the hands of the unscrupulous who seek to link international terrorism and Islam. This is evident from the harrowing events of September 11, 2001, relied upon in some quarters to strengthen the theory of a Clash of Civilisations: A theory which relegates Islam to the abyss and sought to put a poisoned wedge between the West and Islam. Al-Qaeda and the many terrorist organisations linked to it did not represent Islam and the World of Islam roundly condemned their inhumane actions. 

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The Muslim communities in the West are also not immune from the impact of convulsions in the countries of their origin. This has been compounded by the increased traction associating Islam and Muslims with terrorism. The image of the Muslim is so seriously tarnished by unfair stereo types that Muslim communities in some parts of the West are often associated with violence, poverty, and extremism. This has spurred on the rise of the Far Right against Muslim communities in France, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and India. There is often more intrusive surveillance by law enforcement authorities (in the guise of anti-terrorism legislations) in these Muslim communities in breach of their right to privacy. 

Muslim communities in China and Myanmar continue to bear the brunt of State organised inhumane and degrading treatment.

The near apocalyptic outbreak of Covid 19 in 2020 has exposed how the world of Islam is so bereft of advance scientific development (in Pharmacology and Clinical science). The world of Islam was totally depended on vaccines developed and produced under highly confidential laboratory experiments in the West. There was limited information about the vaccine products. Were they Halal? The answer probably is no. Muslim Councils across the world endorsed taking the vaccines as a necessity based on Islamic jurisprudence regarding the sanctity and safety of human life. In some parts of the Muslim world communities were divided whether to take the vaccine or not.

The faith of every Muslim is severely tested as they watch the present state of Islam and wonder whether it can ever recover its past splendour. 

In the introduction to his illustrious brothers’ monumental work, In The Shade of The Quran, Professor Muhammad Qutb, one of the most distinguished contemporary writers on Islam gave a vivid description of the present day sorry state of the world of Islam (compare to its earlier generation) and rang the alarm bell against insidious insular Western ideologies that could undermine our society. The consequences are seen in the high levels of psychological illnesses, suicides, alcoholism, drug addiction and crime in the West. What is worse is that deviant philosophical, social, political, and economic doctrines from the west disguised as “modern human civilisation” now dominate the lives of contemporary Muslims.

Stemming the tide of decline and revival

How can the disarray in the world of Islam be arrested? The simple answer is by being more itself. The remedies of the present ills must be found in the Holy Quran.  As Professor Abdus Salaam points out, one eighth of the text of the Holy Quran exhorts believers to study nature and pursue knowledge.

The Quranic rejoinder to Muslims to practise Taqwa or righteousness, calls for the virtues of love and unity. (Quran 3:103-104). The code of conduct of this community is based on justice and equity. (Quran 5:2-3). Within these are: tolerance and forbearance, freedom of conscience, and basic human rights. For the world of Islam, this is a rejection of the Machiavellian concepts of “Might is right” and “The end justifies the means.”

The world of Islam can effectively end all international rivalries that constitute so dangerous a threat to world security. The war in Ukraine comes to mind because its main cause is the tension between NATO members and Russia. And caught in between are Ukrainians over 2 million of whom are Muslims and Russians 15 million of whom are also Muslims. The plight of Palestine must attract the same vigour and urgency as that shown by the international community to Ukraine. We express solidarity with the victims all over. Muslim countries can, by closing ranks, very easily form a power bloc of their own.  Because of its excellent geographical positions such a power bloc of Muslim nations would hold the key to the balance of power in the world. Therefore, the work of the OIC must be strengthened because we have seen how (through its support to The Gambia) this small nation in Africa won the legal and moral victory for the Rohingya’s in the International Court of Justice!

What ought we to do for the realization of the ideal Islam sets forth before us? Beside sharing ideas on sustainable development, investments in human capital growth, in science and technology and good governance, the answer is: FAITH.

Faith is the central point of Islamic education and its practical code. Faith is the pivot around which all life turns: the conscience, the intellect, and the practical sense. The Quran provides the practical code which regulates the various aspects of life and establishes the best nation ever raised for humankind.

The Quran describes at length how faith leaves its mark on all human actions. Accepting faith means submission to the Divine Law. It was this very faith that helped the early Muslims; it remains the only force that can help our present generation. 

And Allah (SWT) knows best.

And we thank you all for your kind attention.

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