What Ails Muslims Today?

Indian demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a rally in New Delhi on July 18, 2017, in protest over a spate of assaults against Muslims and low-caste Dalits by Hindu vigilantes in India. © 2017 Sajjad Hussain/Getty Images

Going back to their roots and rediscovering their strengths can help contemporary Muslims to change their destiny

OMER ASAD l Caravan Daily

Killing civilians in any military strike is both a horrible and despicable crime. It can never be justified under any circumstances. The recent strike at a madrassa in Afghanistan, killing more than hundred innocent students, attending their graduation ceremony, needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. What makes no sense and is hard to believe that the United States with such advanced technology at its disposal couldn’t identify the target before the strike. Also, this wasn’t the first time that civilians have been killed when the target supposedly were either the military or armed rebels.

The graduation ceremony was a public event; hence there should have been no confusion. A thorough, impartial investigation needs to be conducted. The findings must be made public to restore public confidence. Relatives of those killed and injured need to be given proper compensation and those who ordered this strike should be tried in an international court of justice.

Afghanistan has lost too many civilians in recent years. It’s been 17 bloody years since the US-led Western coalition entered Afghanistan officially, to punish the perpetrators of 9/11 and the investigation is yet to get over. Interestingly, in these 17 years, America hasn’t really succeeded in making the world any safer.

The world today is witnessing big players or world powers using smaller countries as their pawns. Be it Palestine or Afghanistan, or Syria or North Korea, the world is on the cusp of plunging into another global conflict. In our neighbourhood, Kashmir remains a major source of conflict between India and Pakistan. Sadly, the leadership across the globe is not mature enough to avert this looming crisis. The world today lacks a true statesman. The UN has become a circus, where different nations perform in accordance with their audience.

Sadly, world leaders today act more like tribal chieftains. Post World War II and thawing of Cold War, the world is no longer divided in two camps. China is flexing its muscles; the leader in Oval Office is less of a President and more of a bully.

India, though not as influential as the US, Russia or China in the global scenario is still among the major players. In fact, it’s big enough to play a positive role. However, the BJP government with its right-wing Hindu supremacist ideology has seriously damaged India’s global standing and identity as a respectable non-aligned nation which championed peace and developing world.  Today, it has aligned itself with the Apartheid forces of Israel. Under present circumstances, Indians must realize and restore India’s global identity of the past.

The Muslim world, on the other hand, is at its worst situation since World War II. Despite having got rid of three dictators, tyranny, lawlessness, corruption, extremism and unemployment have increased. Isn’t the Muslim world responsible for what is happening in Syria, Yemen and other countries?

Today, Muslims are at the receiving end everywhere. They are being denied justice with the global powers interfering in their affairs. Their leadership has failed them. Today, despite having all the money, resources and infrastructure, the Muslim world lags behind in science and technology, good governance, transparency, accountability, justice, equality, unity, hard-work and team spirit. And we naively expect a miracle will solve our issues and will unite us.

Despite Muslims being kind-hearted, selfless and pious individuals they lack leadership qualities. Nor do they have leaders to guide them towards progress. Muslims today are happy playing the role of victims and blaming destiny for their misery. Most (Muslims) are unaware of their glorious past and the few who know, read it for “Baraka or Thawab” (reward) without learning critical lessons from it.

Another important aspect, which is hindering the Muslim growth, is their static approach to dynamic problems. Muslims must realise that Islam defines what is allowed and what is not, what is preferable and permissible. It also set the boundaries and provides divine guidelines to search for solutions to their problems.

For dynamic problems the solutions too must be dynamic. We tend to fall back on rulings given by scholars over thousands of years ago; these very scholars had used the guiding principles of Quran and Hadith to provide solutions.

Today, we Muslims must deploy the same methodology to arrive at a solution that meets the divine principles of justice. Static approach to today’s problems is why we are failing ourselves or the Ummah. However, it doesn’t  mean that we have to do away with Islamic principles of jurisprudence and start finding solutions outside Quran and teachings of the Prophet, peace be upon him. It simply means that Islam gave right to people from the first generation to think, explore, find solutions from Quran and Sunna, the same right must be extended to scholars of today.

Precautions need to be taken and individuals entrusted with the task of finding solutions, should be of high integrity like before.

Indian Muslims are going through a very difficult phase in their history, despite their contribution in freedom struggle. Muslims ruled the Indian sub-continent for over 800 years and under their rule, India was the richest country in the world with its GDP constituting 27% of the global economy. Muslims united the nation into one entity and gave some of the most beautiful architectural wonders. They have fought bravely to protect India from the savage invasion by the Mongols. Indian Muslims need not be ashamed of their history and but be proud that they are the makers of modern India.

Muslims must start owning their destiny and work tirelessly with wisdom and courage to find solutions, own their failures and be accountable to their actions at every stage. Islam is not limited to certain rituals. Justice is the central theme of Islam and Quran. Islam demands its followers to stand for justice. The response to hate even from Hindutva forces is not hate, but compassion.

Once we start taking these small steps in the right direction and present the true picture of Islam as a ‘religion of peace’, we would be able to bring about a positive change in the perception of our countrymen. This is a tough task and a long-drawn struggle and there is no shortcut.

Omer Asad is an engineer by profession and a commentator with interests in faith, history and politics. He can be reached at [email protected]




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