Food for Thought


Muslims should rectify their ways and stop blaming others for their failure and backwardness. That is the only way that will help them reach once again the culmination of success.

By Muddassir Ahmad Qasmi

Today Muslims are facing humiliation and are unjustly treated everywhere. The sensible people are going to the whole nine yards to find out the main reasons for this dilemma. Some of them, according to their deep observation, conclude that the main reason behind their backwardness and miserable condition lies in the downfall of Islamic rule.

On the other hand, some assert that we cannot call certain behaviour to be the only reason behind abasement of the Muslim community. There are many reasons that led them to their present situation. That’s true; anyone trying to analyze the present Muslim society would conclude the same, but the degeneration of Muslims will be the most crucial factor in this regard. This is the reason why we see quarrels and differences erupting in Muslim societies. They have forgotten the values to be upheld in an ideal society and their self-esteem is about to be mingled with dust.

It should be born in mind that decline of Muslims does not mean decline of Islam. It is only that they got into trouble when they put the Islamic teachings aside. They are trampled underfoot by tyrant regimes and coercive powers due to their ill actions.

Accordingly, three important causes of the Muslims’ decline are outlined below.

1-The family life

Islam is a comprehensive religion. It has the most practical teachings for the guidance of entire humanity in every aspect of life. For instance, answers on how to bring up a child, how to provide them with a good environment where they can learn Islamic morals avoiding all evils widespread in our society can be found for all such questions in Islam.

The Islamic scholars even explained how a pregnant mother should spend her day and night, because it has a great impact on the upcoming life of the child. Likewise Islam also clearly directed when a child becomes mature. Good upbringing is highly emphasized in Islam. For Instance, Prophet Muhammad (saws) is reported to have said, "There is no gift that a father gives his son more virtuous than good manners." (Mishkat)

Unfortunately today most of us are completely neglectful of the Islamic way of nurturing our children. We are so busy in a cut-throat competition to amass pelf that we fail to realise how we have actually steeped in its mire and worthless intoxication. Money is what we chant day and night.

We blindly send our children to such schools, colleges and universities that would provide them with good jobs and occupations, closing our eyes to their correct upbringing in accordance with the Islamic teachings. We aspire to ameliorate the short-lived worldly life but forget the eternal life to come in our blind materialistic pursuits.

Let me tell you an example in this regard which surely will open the eyes of those who are neglectful about their children’s Islamic upbringing.

Muhammad Al-Khidr Hussain a prominent Islamic scholar who had also served as Shaikh Al-Azhar narrates: “While I was living in Damascus, once an army official visited me with his child in the madrasa of Damascus, namely Al-Tahdhib Al-Islami. He said that he had sent his child to a Christian school.  But unfortunately, now he is fully inspired with Christian thought and culture. It got worse when he started to invite us to Christianity.  With teary eyes and a broken heart, the man implored earnestly that his son be taken into the madrasa. ‘Please, help me in saving my gullible child from the bad impact and tentacles of Christianity.  Please, present the beautiful teachings of Islam before him in a subtle manner that may help him get rid of the fathomless chasm of Christian culture and so that he may be imbued with Islamic teachings.’ This is what he said.

To know what intellectual bankruptcy means, one can obviously guess the gist of it from above incident. In addition to other shortcomings of our society, a majority of the new generation is severely afflicted with the ethos and beliefs of other religions. As such, who can save Muslims from the ill effects of destruction?

2. Common life

The second cause of their decline lies in their obnoxious acts and wrong transactions in common lives. Islam has imparted clear directives in this regard. For instance, we should always be perfect in our transactions while doing any business. We should not resort to lies in order to grab what is not in our hand. We should always strive to earn money through lawful means. The following injunction of the prophet Muhammad (saws) should be our motto in this regard: “Beware of taking oaths a great deal when selling, for it may help you to make a sale but it will eliminate the blessing."(Muslim)

It will not be an exaggeration to say that today some people show their intellectual and spiritual poverty in this regard. They think money can be earned by manipulating and telling lies. In such circumstances, who can save Muslims from fall and disgrace in life?

Good morality and treating others well regardless of their caste, creed and colour is an important part of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, "The best of you is the best among you in conduct."

It is a bitter truth that Muslims have forgotten the good morals and manners they should adopt. Jasim Munir, a great analyser puts his observation as follows. “Thanks to the position I held, I got so many chances to visit various companies where I had faced a lot of people belonging to different castes, creeds and colors with various languages, thoughts and mentalities. But the thing which I have observed about Muslims is that, they misbehave with each other. Every individual tries to stab others in the back and bring them to heel. Rarely have I seen a Muslim behaving with others in a good way.”

This extract undoubtedly specifies that Muslims themselves have written the story of their destruction, and therefore blaming others for their plight would be unjustifiable.

History recorded their incredible and magnificent endeavors and crucial roles in golden letters so long as they had maintained good morals, propriety, and Islamic thoughts. Abu Ishaq Istakhri, a well-known traveler and geographer writes in his famous work Masalik Al-Mamalik, “The Arabs started to arrive in south India just after the demise of the Prophet (saws). They left noble and good influence on the southern sea shores, especially in Malabar by their beautiful manners and the noble sense of brotherhood”.

3. The principles of good governance

The third reason for the Muslim predicament is that they quite often turn away from the Islamic governing methods. As per the Islamic point of view, a Muslim leader should be honest, selfless and far away from corruption and all kinds of iniquity.

A person, who fears that he could not act in accordance with the Islamic principles, should not step into this field in the first place only to satisfy his desire to be a leader. Abu Dharr (ra) reported: I said to the Messenger of Allah (saws): "Why do you not appoint me to an (official) position?" He (saws) patted me on the shoulder with his hand and said, "O Abu Dharr, you are a weak man and it is a trust and it will be a cause of disgrace and remorse on the Day of Resurrection except for the one who takes it up with a full sense of responsibility and fulfills what is entrusted to him (discharges its obligations efficiently)”. (Muslim)

It is very unfortunate that the Muslims leaders themselves turn a blind eye to the Islamic rules of justice. How can one expect them to create an environment based on love and justice or how the public can be satisfied with their leadership when they themselves violate the rules?

History bears witness that the past Muslim leaders always upheld the Islamic values and culture with great perseverance in every critical situation. Each citizen under their rule, irrespective of their religion, used to respect them and take advantage from them. Let’s cite an example:

Imam Awza’i (rh) says that I participated in the funeral prayer of Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (rh). On my journey back to home, a Christian hermit asked me.”Were you present at the time of the death of Umar ibn Abdul Aziz?” I replied, “Yes! I happened to be in Damascus at that time”. After listening to my answer he broke into tears. I asked him: “Why you are crying for his demise, although he did not belong to your religion?” He answered “I am not crying because he passed away, but I am grieving on the light of the earth which has now blown out forever”. (Ibn al-Jawzi)

To sum it up, Muslims should rectify their ways and stop blaming others for their failure and backwardness. That is the only way that will help them reach once again the culmination of success, as the Qur’an clearly enjoins:

And be not sluggish and neither be grieved, (as) you are the very same (ones) who shall overcome if you have faith. (Surah Al-i’Imran: Verse No-139)

The writer is Assistant Editor of Eastern Crescent and Daily Columnist of the Inquilab, Mumbai.