Muslim Decline & Future Prospects
by Dr. Iqbal Ahmed
Today (1965) Muslims are living all over the globe. There are 220 million Arabs living in 22 countries, ruled by Arabs. 450 Million Muslims are living in 33 non Arab Muslim countries. The term Darul-Islam is applied to these independent Muslim countries. Muslims, who are living under the rule of non Muslims, such as in India, Europe, North America, Russia, and China, are about 330 Millions. This segment of Muslim population is known as Darul-Harb. Then there are Muslims who are refugees, roaming all over the world, numbering about 20 Million and they constitute 80 % of the world’s refugee population. This is called Darul-Muhajireen.
There was a time when Muslims were the masters of the earth, controller of the destiny, but today they are on a path of continuous decline. Their Condition is horrible, they face miserable poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, disease and sickness. There is a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and frustration among the Muslims. They are just living, for the sake of living, without any sense of direction. Neither the rulers, nor the intellectuals of this nation, have any plan, for this huge mass of suffering humanity. It is really painful to see them suffer, despite the best lands, resources, and vast number. It is very important for those, who are concerned about the future of the Ummah, to ponder about as to what is the cause of Muslim decline? What if anything can be done to end this misery?
Muslims had their own social, economic Judiciary and political system of Khilafat, that was established by Mohammed Rasoolullah and the system was further advanced by Kulfae Rashideen (rightly guided successor). After 40 years, the system of Khilafa was derailed, and changed into Kingship, though the rulers continued to call themselves Khalifas. In order to understand the causes of decline of Muslims, one has to know the fundamentals of Khilafa, as follows: -
1. The government is established according to the commandments of Quran, with Allah being the supreme and sovereign ruler of the state. Man cannot be the sovereign.
2. All power belongs to the system, not to the Ruler. Khalifa is merely an agency to conduct the affairs of the state, by the framework given in Quran. When people obey this system, they do not obey any person, they really obey Quran, the word of God.
3. The Khalifa is the central authority, on political as well as religious front. It is his responsibility to meet social, economic and political needs of the people. In Islam the religion and the state cannot be separated.
4. It is the responsibility of the Islamic system, to create the conditions within the state, where equal opportunity is provided for the Psychosocial development of every individual, on the Quranic line.
CAUSES OF DECLINE OF UMMAH:
A. Political Decentralization: -
Tauheed is the most essential element of Islam. It does not mean only the oneness of Allah. It also means one nation under one Allah. Mohammed Rasoolullah established the Islamic state according to Quran. He was the head of the state, performing the political and religious duties simultaneously. After his demise, it was the rightly guided Khalifah who followed the foot steps of the Rasool, with single central authority (markaziah). Subsequently the system was changed to the dictatorial system, where power belonged to the individual rulers, not to the system. Now these rulers were not interested in the religious affairs of people, they took control of the foreign affairs, treasury, defense and trade and left rituals of Salat, Saum, Hajj, Zakat, marriage, divorce etc. for the Ulema. So the single centralized authority was divided into political and religious wings. The rulers invented the laws to serve their aims and goals and distanced themselves from the guiding principals of Quran. They did not care for immediate and delayed deleterious effects of decentralization of the Ummah.
In dictatorship, whosoever gets the power, does not want to give it up and likes to pass it on to his descendants. The end result of this phenomenon is struggle for power among the successors, and fragmentation of the elite group. This fragmentation does not stop at the upper-level but trickles down to the commoners, who start supporting one leader against the other. In this way the united power of the people, required for the defense of the country, gets misdirected against each other. When Ummayya became weak in this way, they were easily eliminated by Abbassids who in turn were decimated by Tatarees. This is the punishment, Muslims received, for sacrificing the Quranic principal of Tauheed. Allama Iqbal expressed it well: -
There is death for the nations, in detachment from the center,
There is life for the nations, in attachment with the center,
B. Religious Sectarianism:
The vacuum left by rulers on religious front was filled by Mullah. Majority of them were also insincere to the cause of Islam. Most were interested in strengthening their power and position. Their power grew parallel to the power of the rulers and they gradually evolved into institutions. The heads of these institutions became so powerful, that their ruling became the last word. They created followers and supporters, slowly personality worship started. As they say, two of a trade seldom agree; Interpersonal jealousy and struggle for power among the Mullahs, divided one nation into numerous sects. Through these so called Ulema, non Islamic, Greek Philosophy of Tassawwuff and Mysticism was introduced in Islam, that had reduced Muslims next to nothing. Today every Muslim proudly identifies himself with the titles of Sunni, Shia, Ahle-Hadith, Ahle- Fiqah, Ahle-Quran, Hanfi, Shafi, Malki, Hanbli, Dewbandi Brailwi so on and so forth. Sufis have not lagged behind, they too have hundreds of Silsilas. The rulers and Mullah have fragmented one Ummah into so many sects that there is hardly any hope of reunion in the near future.
Further ruler and Mullah have developed a reciprocal symbiotic relationship. Ruler gives a special status to the clergy, tax exempt status, to collect tax free money from people. The clergy on the other hand pays it back to the ruler, by justifying the illegitimate actions of the rulers with their fatwas. They brainwash the people not to react against the rulers, and ask them to accept the status quo. Poor is pacified and put to sleep with the statements like; “will of Allah, destiny fate, reward in life after death, hate for this world of materialism, person who suffers here is the dearest to Allah etc.” The purpose of this is to eliminate the spirit of struggle (Jihad) among the Muslims, so that the field can be left wide open to the infidels. To give a sample, look at the verses of Mirza Qadyyani, and pay attention to what he is preaching: -
Now, forget my friends, the thought of Jihad
In our time, for the sake of deen, haram is Jihad,
Now the Masseeh has come, the Imam of Deen
This is the end for all the battles for the Deen,
Now the revelation has come down to say
The fatwa of battle, war and Jihad is nay,
He who calls for jihad, is the enemy of God, now
Believer of jihad, is denier of my prophethood, now.
C. Psychological Change in Ummah:
Under the Islamic Khilafah, there is a complete freedom for people to express themselves. As a matter of fact, Islam gives the ultimate freedom because Quran forbids enslaving of the people, even the Rasool does not have the authority to subjugate people. Public is encouraged to surrender to the system not to the Khalifah. In dictatorial system, people do not have freedom to think and speak against the state. If anyone does dare to speak, he just disappears, never to be found. So people become fearful and unconcerned with affairs of state. As a result of this, people learn hypocrisy, and suffer from fear complex. This is why the nation of 1.2 billion people is facing the crisis of altruistic leadership. Muslims are suffering from sickness of hypocrisy for the same reason. They address each other as brother, but act contrary. For the same reason, Muslim states do not trust each other and are plagued with conflict after conflict, purposely created by outsiders, to keep them tangled in their internal disputes. Both rulers and Mullahs are unconcerned with the future of the nation, as long as they can maintain their respective seats of power. Majority of us do not even react with our tongues, leave alone the constructive action. Is this the practice of Islam? Is this the Muslim brotherhood? According to Quran internal conflicts are the AZABUN-ALEEM (severe punishment). Today Ummah is caught in a vicious cycle of internal division, conflict, and weakness. This cycle must be broken by following measures.
1. REESTABLISHMENT OF CENTRAL AUTHORITY: -
As I have discussed that the cause of Muslim fragmentation is because of the loss of a sacred central authority of Khalifah, we must make a sincere effort to re establish the Khilafah. It must be according to Quranic principals. Otherwise, it will be a failure. To achieve this goal is a Herculean task, but can be done, not impossible. Peaceful approach should be taken, through diplomacy, disciplined dialogue and tolerance. In order to succeed step number two must be taken.
2. CREATE UNITY: -
Open the Quran, understand the final revelation, and propagate it to the masses and win their hearts and minds to the ultimate truth of Quranic Nizam. People must be mobilized to the stage of janoon. Unity can only be created through the message of Quran. If one descends below the level of Quran, where human thoughts come into play, the gap widens. No point in discussing the past, look forward, towards ultimate goal. Past is past, can not be reversed. People in the past made their decisions depending on their circumstances and we have to make decisions based on our circumstances, and the circumstances demand unity. Highlight our similarities, rather than be fixed on our differences. Further unity can be created by step number three.
3. LEARN ARABIC LANGUAGE: -
Bulk of the Muslims today are non Arabs, living outside the Arab lands, who neither speak nor understand the language of Quran and Prophet Mohammed. All Muslims must learn to read write and speak Arabic language for effective communication. If we can master English, French, Spanish and German, there is no excuse not to learn Arabic. This should be in addition to their other regional languages.
4. EDUCATION: -
Present system of education is given to us by colonial powers, secular system of education, which orientates us towards Capitalistic mentality. It teaches us, myself first, while Islam wants us to meet the needs of others first. This system of education transplants Western mind on the Eastern shoulder. It must be replaced by Islamic system of education. Allama Iqbal’s philosophy of Khudi must be reassessed and practically implemented in the new system of education. This will infuse the ruh of Islam among the younger generation, which will be more community orientated.
5. ELIMINATION OF PRIESTHOOD: -
In Quranic Islam, there is no place for priesthood or Mullaism. The word Maulvi, Mulla, and Maulana is not used with the names of companions of prophet. This means These titles are the invention of Ajmi Islam. Priesthood is strong arm of Zoroastrianism, Iranians of that time brought with them Mullaism and introduced into the Quranic Islam, during Abbasi period. At present, If one carefully looks around, the newer sects are produced by these Maulvis, through the process of personality worship. Therefore, those madarsas that produce Mullas should be curtailed and gradually abolished, so that further divisions in the nation can be eliminated.
6. DEVELOP ISLAMIC ECONOMY: -
Muslim Economists and scholars should develop models of LARIBA (interest free) economy.
Central Islamic bank and regional Islamic banks should be developed to finance these projects. Banking should be part of LARIBA Islamic economy.
7. MEDIA: -
In order to present Muslim point of view, entry into the media is of utmost importance. Through this vehicle all negativism against Islam should be challenged. TV, Radio, Magazine and Newspapers must be established. Movies have a very powerful impact on people. So far Muslims have neglected this powerful mean of impacting the public. This should be persued.
8. HAJJ: -
The word Hajj is from Hujjat, which means to discuss and find the solution to the problems. At this annual event, must discuss the problems and find the solutions for the problems facing the Ummah. Annual program must be spelled out in front of the Ummah and and in the subsequent year the goals achieved throughout the year should be presented at the next Hajj. This is the place where unified policy of the Muslim world must be charted out. It should become United Nations of Islam. This should be in addition to present rituals of Hajj.
9. PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF MUSLIMS MINORITY: -
Muslims, living in Darul-Harb, are facing severe discrimination in education, jobs, physical insecurity; they are denied religious and political rights. An effective policy should be charted out to deal with the Governments of the offender countries. Our resources, our trade should be shared with those countries, only if they are willing to change their policy towards their Muslim subjects.
10. DIALOGUE WITH NON MUSLIMS: -
Since the collapse of Communism, all the cold war is shifted toward Islam. West is suffering from fever of Islamophobia. Christians are made to believe that green menace is coming after the red menace is dead. This prejudice is the result of the hate literature, produced by enemies of Islam. Christians must understand Muslim point of view. Through interfaith dialogue and through positive literature about Islam, their fears must be conquered, and sincere friendship must be established with Christian world. Fair minded, Justice believing Christian scholars should be encouraged to present real Islam and promote the understanding between the two communities.
In the end I will say to the Muslims, if such a plan can be developed, and dedicated efforts are made, the abysmal fall of ummah will stop and rise will not be too far away. To rest of the world I will say, After all, Muslims are a significant number of one human family, progress of Muslims, will be the progress of the whole human family. At this time when globe is progressing toward one world government, The dream of world peace will remain a dream, unless the world policy is based on justice, freedom and equality, which Muslims are denied so far.
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