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Educate, In Hope of Revival

Nov 30, 2008

Charity begins at home. And Muslims today are in much need of charity. They need to give and receive within their own circles. The current state of affairs in the world will reveal how miserable Muslims, as a nation, are today. They are not united, they are not progressing well, and they are attracting bad impressions from others. As a result, not many people are willing to acknowledge Islam as a religion that promotes peace, prosperity, development, advancement or a plausible means of governance and economic activity. The on-lookers purport that following the Shari'ah amounts to stagnation, and strict adherence to faith results in either fatalism or fanaticism. The Ummah is in need of changing these views – not to prove a point, but to help themselves, because, indeed, the Muslim world is stagnating and the common man is in ignorance.

 

In addition to the Muslim intelligentsia, the average Muslim too has his work cut out for him. To toil in that direction requires us to determine ways in which we can go about achieving our aims and objectives as members of the Islamic world. We have to analyze the causes behind the contemporary circumstances engulfing the Muslims.

 

When our dear Prophet Rasulullah Sallallhu Alayhi Wa Sallam, established an Islamic state in Medina, it was a miracle of sorts. Here was a man, simple and straight, with no ulterior motives than to please his Lord, in power and yet, bowed in humbleness. He was an example for all around him – in matters of faith as well as in matters of everyday significance. His companions took plenty notes from his book and undoubtedly followed suit. Once light had been shown to them, they had the eagerness to learn. Indeed, in the words of the Qur'an, they found in Rasulullah SAW, ‘the best example'. He was the symbol of piety, love, righteousness and everything good.

 

They put aside their biases to learn, and they brought in their arguments to debate and to arrive at the most sensible and honorable conclusion. They were not easily riddled by strategic incitements instigated by circles hostile to Islam. Rather, they were insightful regarding all that they were confronted with. In short, there was confidence in the leader, because he was exemplary, honest and truthful. He shared their integrity, and they themselves were united and dependable, sharing a common concern. Indeed, their true strength was not to be found in numbers, but in the intensity of faith in Allah as well as in each other, coupled with sincerity in commitment. On the other hand, the Muslim world today is heading towards disaster.

 

Imam Al-Ghazali's offering in the 6th century came forward and appealed to the Muslims. It placed emphasis on the “spirituality” of man. His philosophy was widely accepted in the Muslim world. On the contrary, our people, while gaining much recognition in the Western world, rejected Ibn Rushd's invitation to rationality. So as Muslims abandoned the rational model in acceptance of the spiritual, the Christians began ascending as per the call to rationality, after abandoning the world for so long. The Muslim world felt more and more need for reform. A need that inspired secularization of Islam, as Muslims became more and more embarrassed of their spiritual tradition, say, for example, of their belief in the miracles of saints, etc.

More evolution followed. A French writer, Roy Olivier suggested how more radical secularization set into the Muslim elite. In an attempt to deal with the rise of colonialism, Muslims began to gain impressions from socialism and communism, reconciling them with religiosity.

 

Traditions were re-interpreted to suggest that the prophet himself was communist. This helped settle the Muslims' unsettled psyche, for it was easier to be “oppressed for the sake of God” than to be oppressed otherwise.

 

Hence, education becomes vital to strike the balance between the two extremes. Spirituality and Secularization together may help us progress and achieve our aims and objectives as members of the Islamic world.

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