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Why Muslims are backward? 

Jumuah Khutbah given by Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed

At the Islamic Center of Louisville, Louisville, KY

On August 13, 1999.

63: 8 Munafiqoon 



Why Izzat or Honor is not there for the believers (Momineen?)

3: 110, Ali Imran

Allah says that Muslims are the best people or nation? Are we now? 

Muslims are backward educationally, socially, and economically and in world power politically. Need to make a self-critical study: Nobel Prize winners, Olympic Gold Medal winners. Number of Books published, number of Articles published. Number of scientists per 100,000 population. 

The Qur'an and Hadith exhort the Muslims to read and excel in education- both men and women. In this Masjid people leave free literature. How many of the worshippers pick them and read them and take action? 

Look at the literacy rate in the Muslim Ummah. Muslim countries like, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, etc. Now Afghanistan is in a hopeless situation with civil wars. Sisters who constitute 50% of the population are not allowed to go pursue education.  

Rabbi Zidni Ilma, 20: 114 (Ta Ha) Oh Lord enrich me with knowledge. 

Pakistan's average literacy rate is 26% for all the population-male and female. Contrast this with India's which has an average literacy rate of 52 %. Pakistan is the most advanced country in Science and Technology. It is the only Muslim Nuclear Power country. What is the GDP for Education and for Defense? How much is wasted through corruption. 

The average literary rate of the whole Muslim Ummah is around 35 %. For our sisters it is about one half. In rural areas only it is only about 2 to 5 %. In United States a woman gets 12.4 years of school education. In Bangladesh she gets only 0.9 year of school education and in Yemen she gets only 0.2 years of school education. 

Knowledge is power. The U.S. is the only Super Power. Why? Because it has knowledge in every field of human endeavor. Most of the Immigrant Muslims came here for higher education. Go to any developing country and ask a student where do you want to go for higher education. The answer invariably will be United States. US is a super power and power corrupts and absolutely corrupts absolutely. No doubt the US Foreign Policy is not even handed and commits wrong to some Muslim countries because of the lobbyists. Then how do Muslims correct the situation? Most of us are Immigrants and many are US Citizens. Our children and grand children are growing here. With violence we cannot correct the situation which is not Islamic when it is targeted towards the innocent civilians. I have seen many brothers call the Westerners as "Kuffar", but what I know is they are called the Ahl-e-Kitab- people of the Book. We can change the situation thro' Ilm and Aml plus Sabr. We need to be organized. First we need to be united. We can learn many lessons from other communities how they correct their situations and shortcomings. 

Thousand years ago, our ancestors were masters in Astronomy, like Al-Biruni, Battani, etc. Today our knowledge of Astronomy is weak. The built astronomical observatories created calendars, astrolabes, etc. Day before yesterday (Wednesday) was the new moon. The solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the sun and the earth and when they are all in conjunction or in a straight line. It happens on the new moon day. On a new moon day the Hilal is not visible anywhere in the world. It is visible the next day. The Hilal was seen yesterday (Thursday) and hence today is the first day of Jumada ul Awwal. Some Muslim countries declared yesterday was the first day of Jumada ul Awwal. No wonder why Muslims celebrate Ids on three different days in the same town. It happened here in the United States. It is just ignorance. We do not have sound Deeni Talim nor of the Duniya.  

30 years ago man landed on the moon. Many Muslims consider moon as a sacred celestial clock. The devout Muslims refused to believe that man had landed on the moon. 


1,000 years ago Muslims were in the forefront in every field of knowledge. The students from the West came to Muslim Spain, Sicily, Cairo, and Baghdad to study the sciences.

Take the example of Abu Rayhan al-Biruni. He was 26 years old, 1,000 years ago today. Sultan Mahmood of Ghazna in Afghanistan conquered his native place Khev and brought him to his capitol. Sultan Mahmood was not only a conqueror but also a scholar who gathered eminent scholars like Firdousi who is famous for Shah Nama and Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni. Sultan Mahood took Al-Biruni with him to India. In India al-Biruni stayed for 20 years studying from Pandits their sciences, mathematics, philosophy, etc. He learnt Sanskrit and translated Snakhya and Patanjali into Arabic. He measured the radius and diameter of the earth to within + or _ 20 km and 200 km respectively. He showed the earth rotates on its axis. He explained how the solar and lunar eclipses occur. He saved the life of a traveler who told the Sultan that in a land the Sun never sets. The land of the midnight sun. The Sultan decreed a death sentence to the traveler for blasphemy. However al-Biruni explained that the tilt of the earth towards the sun in the summer causes the phenomenon of the midnight sun. 

Like our ancestors Muslims should take the lead in scientific study, exploration and knowledge. INTELLECTUAL REVIVAL OF MUSLIMS is the need of the hour. 

The greatest pleasure for a father or mother is when their son or daughter achieves or rather excels in education, profession, power, wealth, etc. The most important is education. If I am a middle school graduate, then it is my responsibility to make my children high-school graduates or college graduates. If I am a high school graduate, then I should make my children college graduates or postgraduates. If I am a college graduate, then I should make my children obtain doctoral degrees. May Allah (SWT) give us the Tawfeek to understand His Deen and follow His Guidance.


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