Conspiracies and Reforms in the Muslim World
We must not blame enemies only, we will have to introspect and see where have we failed, writes Dr. Wasim Ahmed.
In the aftermath of discussions on Muslim stereotyping, two important points need to be understood. Firstly that the western world with all its prejudice against Islam can never be expected to lend credible voice to Muslims to present Islam in the right way. Secondly we need to understand that when we talk of reforms in the Muslim world these are not the outcome of such debates to appease the Western but the actual need of the hour. The need of Ijtihad was stressed upon by Muslim intellectuals more than a century ago and they didn’t do it out of advice from CNN, BBC or NDTV. The very title of Allama Iqbal’s (R.A) book “Reconstruction of Religious thought in Islam” speaks of a review in outlook towards religion and philosophy rather than continuing with the dogmatic views. Iqbal’s Jawab-e-Shikwa was the outcome of serious soul searching of a right thinking Muslim who realized that the decline of Muslim glory was more because of our own faults that need to be redressed to regain our rightful place in the world. However, unfortunate as it is, our contemporary scholars and religious preachers, rather than solving our problems, created unnecessary controversies over the reforms and Ijtihad so that instead of working for the interests of the Muslim world the only thing they do is to fight for their personal dogmatic ideologies. And their internal bickering only encourages the prejudiced corporate world to eulogize their silver-screen sympathizers as the face of “Modern Islam”.
It is common sense that one cannot find a solution when he cannot understand the problem. Hence the first step towards undoing the harm inflicted upon the Muslim world is to understand the genesis of this harm. The war that has been waged against Islam has covert and overt dimensions. The covert dimensions refer to the conspiracies to rot the pillars of Muslim world while the overt dimensions include the direct assaults of technology, economy and media. So in a nutshell the panacea to the present problems of the Muslim world lies in understanding the conspiracies against Islam and striving to fulfill the literary, technological and economic vacuum with a strong media that presents the Muslim culture in the right perspective.
When we talk of conspiracies against Islam we have developed a tendency in associating a clean shaved person talking about modern education as a stooge of the west while every bearded person wielding a gun and crying for Jihad against America is regarded as a “savior” of Islam. While discussing the American occupation of Afghanistan one of the Pakistani intellectuals in an interview on ARY channel revealed that the attack on Taliban is not the actual conspiracy but the creation of Taliban and mentoring them in madrassas funded by CIA and British agencies during the “Cold War” was the actual conspiracy. The CIA had mentored them in such a way that their “Practice of Islam” could serve the purpose of the West in three ways. Firstly to present Islam as an “intolerant and violent religion” to curb the spread of Islam in the West that at that time, and still is, the fastest growing religion in the world. Secondly to brandish Palestinian freedom fighters as “Islamic terrorists” so that people change their sympathy from Palestinians to Israeli occupiers. Third reason was to hype their “violent ways” as a “threat to the world peace” and give an excuse to Jewish controlled America to capture strategic and resource rich locations for world hegemony. Every Muslim is supposed to be an ambassador of Islam and has to conduct himself in a dignified manner lest our inappropriate conduct may be a source of criticism towards Islam and the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.). This applies more to those who are at the centre-stage of a prejudiced world calling themselves as the “true representatives” of Islam. The Taliban may have been “ferocious fighters” but their conduct demanded wisdom and farsightedness rather than mindless ferocity. Islam teaches us that we should respect the religious sentiments of other faiths and grant them protection and respect. Islam teaches us that we should not criticize their deities lest they may criticize Allah in retaliation. In our own state ask any Muslim from Ladakh how many mosques were damaged, the texts of Holy Qur'an desecrated and Muslims tortured after the destruction of statues of Buddha by Taliban. They conducted themselves exactly the same way as the Americans wanted them to defame the Islam. And their destructive legacy continues in Pakistan that today is struggling for existence thanks to these hot-headed “moulvis”. These “moulvis” criticize India for Hindu communalism in the wake of demolition of Babri Masjid and Gujarat massacres but do they have any count of the number of mosques and Imam Bara’s they have bombed in Pakistan along with the worshippers? As against the Taliban and their ideologues let us see the approach of Dr. Zakir Naik and Ahmed Deedat. In the Holy Quran a Muslim is advised to preach Islam in the most decent and dignified manner which is exactly how Dr. Naik and Deedat have done. While Taliban with all their power, might and loss of lives could not impress even their fellow Muslims, people like Dr. Naik and Ahmed Deedat have converted millions to Islam through rightful preaching. Hence the first step in undoing the negative image of Islam is to emulate Dr. Zakir Naik rather than Moulana Lakhvi.
Now let us come to the overt issues of technology, economy and media. The heart of all these issues is EDUCATION and it is my personal opinion that Muslims can never achieve anything credible by dissociating from learning. When Muslims won the Battle of Badr and captured the pagans and Jews who were the bitterest enemies of Islam and Muslims, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) forgave them on the condition that they would EDUCATE Muslims and this education was learning of science, literature, art and culture rather than religious or moral teaching. The holy Qur'an advises us that in the creation of world there are signs that reveal the magnanimity of Allah to the world and a Muslim is advised to study the world to understand his basis, his religion and his relation to God. No other religious text gives such emphasis on such scientific temperament and it was because of this that the earliest Muslims within a short span of time scaled exemplary heights in science and learning. At one time the Muslim world was an epicenter of learning and today it has become synonymous with Jahaalat. Perhaps the most appropriate way to present the harsh reality was by Pakistan’s cricketer turned politician Imran Khan when he said that the total number of universities and educational institutions in the whole Arab world is LESS than what a mosquito sized Israel has. The Arabs have built world’s most luxurious hotels and tallest buildings. They have converted deserts into water resorts and golf courses but who prevented them from building colleges and universities? Why do they need technical manpower from third world countries to run their hospitals and business establishments? Rather than criticizing others for our illiteracy let us do a bit of soul searching. Throughout my childhood I remember the Moulvi Sahib in the mosque criticizing science and “worldy education” just because for him the present education is all about Darwinism. Darwinism flourished at the cost of Muslim illiteracy because our religious preachers kept us away from science thinking it may harm their “faith”. To be honest my faith in God was never stronger than after critically studying the theory of evolution and I am willing to prove to any of its supporters that it is nothing but a bundle of carefully crafted lies. Here also we find EDUCATED SCIENTISTS like Dr. Naik and Harun Yahya countering Darwinism while our religious preachers boggling our minds with unnecessary controversies.
Decades ago it were the same preachers who threw shoes at Sir Syed Ahmed Khan when he intended to build a University for educating Muslims. Today the wisdom of Sir Syed and the contributions of Aligarh Muslim University speak for itself. Shouldn’t it break ones heart to see children from India winning prizes at NASA for their scientific projects while children of Kashmir prevented from learning due to Hartals and strikes because we are “fighting for a greater cause”?
Just as education, acquiring technological independence has been made “Haram” on Muslims by our preachers. Why? Because Moomin hai to ladta hai be teg sipahi. In 6 day war a tiny country like Israel opened 6 battle fronts and defeated the combined might of the Arab world and is still in possession of Arab lands. The Palestinians can only answer their snipers with stones while the Arab Sheikhs invest their billions of petrodollars in purchasing second hand weapons from America thereby strengthening its weapons industry which indirectly strengthens the Israeli occupation. Today India has reached to the moon but look at the state of affairs in Pakistan, all because of these faulty preachers. When it is time to invest in education and research these preachers oppose it because Moomin hai to ladta hai be teg sipahi. But when the reality dawns upon their leaders they are forced to mortgage the whole country to IMF and World Bank for the sake of few F-16s and Drone Missiles. And even when these people fight they don’t fight be-Teg but use the most sophisticated assault rifles with hi-tech GPS on the costliest Blackberry phones from America. Today if Pakistan is surviving it is because of its EDUCATED SCIENTISTS who gave it missiles and nuclear deterrence rather than due to its “moulvis” who almost brought it to the verge of extinction by their “Jihad” philosophy most of which emanated from CIA sponsored madrassas. Jihad has its own Rules of Engagement as per Quranic laws and under no circumstance Islam allows targeting unarmed civilians from the enemy camp.
No matter how much oppression and cruelty is unleashed by the enemy Muslims are bound to uphold tenets of Islam under all circumstances rather than breaking its principles. What an irony that those who justify bomb-blasts killing innocent civilians do so by giving the examples of Bhagat Singh while claiming to fight “on the principles of Islam”!!!! Unable to defeat the enemy soldiers due to technological and economic superiority they resort to such activities that can never be justified on the basis of Islam but only bring shame and disrespect to the Muslim world. And when CNN, BBC and other media tycoons highlight their actions and extrapolate them to the whole of Muslim world brandishing us as terrorists the only thing they can do is to hurl grenades at cable TV operators to “stop” the propaganda!!!!! The negative image of Muslims can never be countered by such mindless tactics but strengthening our own means of mass communication. We need more of Al-Jazeera and Press TV as well as more of Peace TV, Q-TV etc to promote Islam and Muslims in the right perspective. This can be achieved only if our journalists demonstrate exemplary professionalism to feed truth to the people rather than cashing on sensationalism and chauvinism.
All the problems of the Muslim world cannot be solved by ascribing everything to the prejudice of corporate world but we need a serious self-introspection and right the wrongs. We need to understand the real dimension of conspiracies rather than playing ostriches due to chauvinism. We need to understand that it is the duty of every Muslim to present Islam to the Non-Muslims but in a dignified manner so that they get a good impression about Islam. We need to understand that our persecution is dependent on our enemies’ literary, economic and technological superiority for which we need serious investment in education and research to achieve technological independence and economic freedom. We should not expect the corporate media to kill the stereotypes but need our own media to be strong enough to carry the message that Islam is the religion of peace and not just Khan but no TRUE Muslim is a terrorist.
(Dr. Wasim Ahmed is Senior Resident Cardiology, SKIMS. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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