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Identify Causes of Decline, Scholar Tells Muslims
P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News —
The Middle East's Leading English Language Daily


Tuesday 20 May 2008 (14 Jumada al-Ula 1429)


JEDDAH, 20 May 2008 — Dr. M. Umer Chapra, an eminent economist, social scientist and the winner of the King Faisal International Prize, has urged Muslims to identify the reasons for their decline. After making vitally important contributions to civilization for several centuries, the Muslim world went into decline and Chapra would like for the lost glory to become a reality once again.

Addressing a ceremony held at the Jeddah Hilton Sunday night to launch his latest book “Muslim Civilization: The Causes of Decline and the Need for Reform,” Chapra urged Muslim governments and societies to give top priority to establish justice and equality. “No society can progress without justice,” he added.

On behalf of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Prince Mishaal ibn Majed, governor of Jeddah, launched the book by handing a copy to Pakistani Ambassador Shahid Karimullah.

In the 200-page book, Chapra discusses the factors that led to Muslim decline and gives valuable insights into the kind of reform the Muslim world needs in order to reverse the decline.

Chapra emphasized the need for material as well as spiritual progress for a balanced development of humanity. He said only Islam can present such an equation.

“We Muslims have to change ourselves and change our institutions in order to become a blessing for mankind,” the author said. Although Muslims represent 22 percent of world population, they contribute only eight percent of the global GDP, he pointed out.

In his speech, Chapra also spoke about the negative impact of moral degradation and family disintegration upon society. “The unwanted US attack on Iraq as well as the corporate scandals were the results of moral decline,” he pointed out. The disintegration of the family had negative effects on children, he added.

Ambassador Karimullah emphasized the need for a single leadership for the Muslim world. “I am really confused as to whether I should support the Ummah or the country. We Muslims should have a single leadership and everybody should respect him.”

In praising the deep-rooted Saudi-Pak relations, he said: “The Pakistanis have great respect for the Saudi leadership.”

The ceremony at the Hilton was organized by the Engineers Welfare Forum Jeddah (EWFJ) in association with the Institution of Engineers Pakistan (IEP). Abdul Aleem Khan, president of both organizations, praised Chapra for writing a book that addresses the core issues of the Ummah. “Muslims can bring about a social and economic revolution by practicing the principles of Islam,” he added.

EWFJ Secretary-General Masrur Elahi Khan introduced the author and his book. He praised Chapra’s in-depth knowledge of history and multidimensional view of the world and the tremendous effort he put into in producing this important book. He stressed the need for a stable socio-political and economic environment for the advancement of Muslim countries.

Nearly 300 selected guests, including foreign diplomats, Saudi and Pakistani intellectuals and members of EWFJ and IEP attended the event, which was opened by Hassan Jaleel, president of IEP Saudi Arabia.

M.A. Rauf Siddiqui, minister of industries and commerce in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, commended Chapra for his scholarly work and urged Muslims to practice Islam in its true form. “I have great respect for his personality and scholarship,” he said.

Zaigham Uddin Azam, consul general of Pakistan in Jeddah, was also full of praise for Chapra and said his book would contribute to a renaissance in the Islamic world. 

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