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What Is Wrong With The Muslim World?


The history of the Muslim world has been bright enough to enlighten the whole of the globe. The golden period of Muslim history ranged from 8th to 11th centuries when Muslims dominated the world scenes. An epoch, when there used to be brothels in the western world, the Muslim world used to have libraries, street lights, macadamized roads and scientific laboratories. However, the truth of the current era is that whole of the Muslim world is confused about the situation that has befallen on them. There are 57 countries that have accepted the membership of “Organisation of Islamic Cooperation” (OIC) and thereby have declared themselves as the Muslim nations. But the situation of everyone among them is not good.

It doesn’t need proof to explain if really there is a crisis in the Muslim world. Since 1901 there have been more or less 881 noble prizes in different subjects of world academia and Muslim world has bagged not more than 13, and most of them are in peacemaking and not science technology and medicine. The figure speaks about the intellectual crisis of the Muslim world. The ethnic genocide of Rohingya Muslims, the stories of Afghan destruction, the death of a million Iraqis , day to day killings in Palestine and Syria, the blinding of the Kashmiris  are the self-speaking facts of this crisis that we as an ummah are going through.

Arnold Toynbee after studying the history of different world civilizations makes an important comment on the reasons that make the civilizations rise to excellence or go down the hill into oblivion. To him, civilizations don’t die because of murder but because of suicide. To him, it’s about challenges and making a timely response to challenges that make civilization go to heights. Talking about the response to challenges, he argues that there are two types of responses that the civilizations make while coming out of those challenges, one being “heredities response” wherein the civilization tries to search for methods of revival in the past and the other being “zealots response” wherein the civilization understands the opponents secrets and strengths and their own weaknesses and then works upon those to come over successfully. Therefore there is a need to revisit the traits that had once led to our rise and also to search out for the secrets that make the current western world to stand with a beating stick around the Muslim globe.

It’s really important to make it here that there can be no rise of Muslim nations unless there is no Islam. It’s not a traditional orientalist thinking here. The fact of the matter is that the success of the Muslim world lies in being faithful to the lord and his apostle. To understand this in a lucid way the case of Umar ibn Khattab can be taken as a case study. When the caliph Umar succeeded Abu Baker as the caliph of Islamic state centuries ago, he called the citizens of the Meccan state into the masjid and made an interesting announcement. Umar spoke out about the days of his life when he used to tame the camels of his aunt in the warm deserts of Arabia for few dry dates that he used to earn the evening as the reward of taming the animals. Umar lamented being so ignorant. The companions asked for the puerile reason of calling people to the masjid for such trivial announcement. Umar made a thought-provoking point and said that he was an unwitting guy and was elevated as the ruler of half of the globe by Islam only. The Quran had polished his personality that he was chosen as the ruler of half of the globe then.

Quran had the power to elevate the ummah then, why can’t it make our rise now?

Japan is the biggest example that can be taken as another case study to comprehend what the traditions of the prophet can do to make this ummah emerge great. After the world war II, Japan was destroyed because of the use of nuclear weapons on its two important cities­­­ Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These were the economic hub of Japan then. Japan, concerned about its downfall, called out a meet of intellectuals to discuss the remedy for coming out of the crisis. Two points of those various suggestions put forward are worth mentioning here. The first “Japan tomorrow should be far greater in success than today,” and secondly “the mistake once should not be repeated again.” Within a few years after the destruction of Japan, a group of thousands of islands emerged as a successful nation on the world scene. Currently, Japan is the largest growing economy after China. It would be much interesting to mention it here that both of the above-mentioned suggestions are the prophetic tradition’s (hadiths) mentioned in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. These were meant for the people of faith. And when we left the way to others, they succeeded to earn those gains that were meant for us.

To move forward in the race of a nation’s education is the most important tool. History of Muslim world bears witness to the fact that “Qurtaba” city had eighty thousand shops and among those twenty thousand were specifically meant for selling handwritten books, as this was the most purchased stuff then in the Muslim world. Perhaps this was the reason that we had dominated the world scene then. Caliph Haroon Rashid used to give gold of the same weight for a new book that was sent to his library. The reality of today is that during world war II, there was a pact between Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler that they would not attack the educational institutions during the war. They seem to deserving to rule the world because of their respect for education. Current epoch bears witness that total amount of research articles by 57 Muslim nations equals to research articles of Spain alone. It’s a self-speaking fact of Muslim backwardness that 57 Muslim nations have 500 universities in total and the United States of America has 5700 universities alone. None of the Muslim universities figures in “Time magazine’s” top 100 universities. It would be interesting to make it here that Jammu and Kashmir being a dominant Muslim region and an important part of this global Muslim world has nothing better to offer as well. The NCERT report published a year ago makes Jammu and Kashmir stand at the bottom of educational excellence among 34 Indian states (including union territories). Jammu and Kashmir stand at the 32nd position. According to report, only 17% students from Jammu and Kashmir schools could answer questions based on science and technology, which forms the bedrock of national development in a modern day. Among various reasons, the most formidable one perhaps is that from 2016 to 2018 schools and colleges remained closed for about 60% of working days. ”Sachar committee report” of the government of India is an eye-opening report about the Muslims of India. The report states that not more than 2.5 percent Muslims receive higher education in India.

if the Muslim world wants to compete in the better way and emerge dominant on the global level, better education, well-developed research centers, investment of educational infrastructure are the need of the hour.

Muslims need to be much outspoken in the affairs of the world if they want to rise in the ladder of world leadership. Why can’t we raise the question that between 9/11 attack and the death of Osama Bin Laden one million Muslims were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would it not be pertinent to ask who would be answerable to the world about those innocent deaths, if we take Osama to be guilty single headedly for the attack on twin towers, which is yet to be proved? Can’t we question why Rohingya Muslims are killed a day in and out by those who wear the saffron, which symbolizes peace in Burma? Can’t we ask that in last 25 years in India, of total 41000 deaths due to terrorist attacks only 1400 died of terrorist attacks carried by someone with a Muslim tag? Who is to be made responsible for the remaining 39000? Why can’t we make the world see that ISIS is the mirror image of Egypt’s undemocratic Fattah Al SISI? (Junaid Ashraf, Orcaleopinions.com). Can’t we make a point that what about the democratic government of Taliban in Afghanistan and brotherhood in Egypt which went unrecognized? What about the elections of Kashmir in 1987. Let the world hear the truth.

The most important thing for the development of Muslim world should be to make revivalism (Tajdeed-e-nau) about their strategies. Why can’t a Muslim country prepare for the permanent membership of the United Nations? Why 57 Muslim nations fail to get a permanent membership for one single country. The Palestine issue is lingering there since 1948. So is Kashmir issue. UNO makes one so powerful that despite 166 countries supporting the cause of Palestine in 1967 a single American veto could make the world to succumb. So has been to Kashmir when formerly USSR made Kashmir continues to live in slavery after the Sino Indian war of the sixties. Isn’t it the part of Islamic history that when the unbelievers kept an award of 100 camels for a person who could have killed the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) after the death of his uncle and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was forced to migrate to Medina. The fact of the matter is that it was Abdullah Ibn Hakim who acted as the guide of prophet pbuh to the medina. Abdullah ibn Hakim was a non-believer. When a prophet could trust a non-believer in times of crisis why can’t we?

It would be better if the Muslim nations re-frame their policies and think globally to make their turn come and lead the world.