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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|The Way Out For The Muslim World.|
|03/10/02 at 14:15:28|
|View Point by Abid Ullah Jan|
The Way Out For The Muslim World.
The only blessing amid the horrors perpetrated by the most brutal post September 11 military coalition is the exposure of intellectual alliance behind it. This alliance is comprised mainly of the American political analysts, who profess devotion to "objectivity," but are self-deluded victims of a curiously inverted "subjectivity," indulging an intolerant zeal for "tolerance," a passionate attack on passion, and a bigoted denunciation of "bigotry." "Objectivity" is being confounded with ideological preference and the "objective" ideologues demand Muslims' conformity to their notion of reality - or what ought to be the state of Muslim societies. A quick review of the latest attempts on part of the leading American intellectuals would help identify the real problem and the needed response on part of the Muslim world.
Talking at Larry King show on February 15, Bill Maher, a veteran host at ABC, turned the conversation from Afghanistan and Iraq to Islam and aired the contemporary complaint about Islam that it is a religion "but it is also an ideology, the way Communism was an ideology... I do not separate Muslim fundamentalism from terrorism. They're two wings on the same bird..."
The New York Post ran an article, "A deadly error," on January 21st. The author pointed one "glaringly weak spot" of the war on terrorism and that is the Bush team refusal "to acknowledge that there is an ideology that inspires America's enemies, preferring to ascribe its motives to simple 'evil.' Evil it is, but it follows from the specific set of radical utopian ideas known as militant Islam." The Washington Post (Feb. 12) published text of an open letter on why the "war on terrorism" is necessary and just. The letter is signed by 60 leading intellectuals, most of whom are high-powered academics who study ethics, religion and public policy at American universities and think tanks.
Under the section "A Just War" the letter says: "Yet reason and careful moral reflection also teach us that there are times when the first and most important reply to evil is to stop it." The letter goes on to put the blame, as usual without any evidence, on the shoulders of Al Qaeda, which "in turn, constitutes but one arm of a larger radical Islamicist movement, growing for decades...openly professes its desire...to use murder to advance its objectives."
Then appears Samuel P. Huntington with his Newsweek (January) column: "The Age of Muslim Wars." The first sentence sums up the thought: "Contemporary global politics in the age of Muslim wars. Muslims fight each other and fight non-Muslims far more often than do peoples of other civilizations. Muslim wars have replaced the cold war as the principal form of international conflict."
The unfortunate reality is that despite the full-scale exposure of the systematic and malicious efforts on part of such analysts to demonise Islam and anything associated with it, some of the Muslims still believe that any analysis of these thoughts is akin to "childish bias upon bias" by the Muslims. Some of us endorse policies of our sell out leaders with the justification that this is what illiterate and weak countries need to do. Some of the Muslims argue that keeping in view India, Israel and American intentions to wipe out the Muslim power, the Muslims need to learn to safeguard and build upon our nuclear and conventional resources until the time when any country has to think twice before trying to dominate us. Yet others believe that 1 million PhDs in the Muslim world, 70% literacy and millions of degrees in medicine, arts, and science will help the Muslims rule the world.
The dream of subserviently taking orders until acquiring the position of imaginary strength will never materialise because the Muslims are not subjected to a one-pronged attack. There should be no doubt that the Muslim countries are not only ordered to act in specific ways but are also systematically targeted to keep them socially, economically, morally and militarily in an unstable position. Education definitely is the key. The question, nevertheless, is what kind of education? Are Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and the establishment in Islamabad illiterate? Is the military junta in Algeria or the dictatorial clique in Egypt and Turkey illiterate? Is Kofi Anan illiterate? If they are not, can't they think of a right approach to alleviate misery of the suffering masses rather than colluding with the managers of genocide, occupation and repression? What did they get from their education?
In fact, the Muslims are facing the confusion of priorities. Some say our priority is to educate ourselves; others say we need to make ourselves economic giants of the world and yet others believe we need to separate religion from politics and trust in the pleasure of world mastering demi-gods for our survival. We would remain confused as long as we don't clarify our top priority as Muslims. We are not Muslims to defend Islam or make our countries, as General Musharraf said, bastions of Islam. Islam doesn't need soldiers and bastions for its defence. Islam needs Muslims to live by Islam and their top priority should be to understand and reach Allah. That is the destination; Islam is the way towards it. Education certainly is the right tool provided it is used for the sake of knowing and understanding Allah. Roomi says knowledge for the sake of self-actualisation takes one to unusual heights, but knowledge for the sake of material well-being would not lead one to understand the universe and the objective behind its creation.
The problem is that unlike most of the westerns who strive to seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge, we seek knowledge for the sake of material well being alone. We consider it ridiculous to talk about Allah in our conferences on human development, etc. in five star hotels because we are at that lowest ebb of education that we consider environment to talk about Allah as different than the modern environment in Pearl Continental or Marriott Hotel. Our concept of the creator didn't grow beyond the middle ages of Islamic history. The reason is that being pragmatists our focus is more on practices like praying and fasting and less on understanding to reach and please Allah.
Considering the fall of Islam as a result of irregular prayers and fasting alone, efforts were made to organise religion through different organisations. However, in the last seventy years, we didn't observe any organisation that has educated Muslims any better than Ghazali, Ali bin Usman Hajweri or Abdul Qadir Jilani in comparatively far less time. The reason is that power has never been the objective of Islam - it is the by-product. The sole objective of Islam is to understand and reach Allah. Without this objective, Islam is reduced to a few rituals, which the seculars believe can be performed well within the ambit of a secular state.
Same is the problem with our education. Useless is all the education that despite all research, knowledge and awareness, doesn't bring one closer to Allah: which should be the crux of all intellectual curiosity. If despite all the PhDs and educated Muslims among ourselves we have failed to convince the non-Muslims of the righteousness and harmlessness of our ideology with our deeds, it means we have deviated somewhere from our right course. Why shall we be apologetic and murmuring that Islam has nothing to do with ideology and politics etc? Of course Islam is an ideology but we have to rightly live by it to show that it is not an ism like communism for the west to be afraid of.
The education and PhDs that we talk about either stop at Bertrand Russell, or Willgenstien, Quantum theory, Gestalt school or behaviourism. What else is the modern education? This knowledge is very limited. Years ago, Einstein gave us the concept of E=mc2. So far, however, his other theories are still neither proved nor widely accepted. For instance the new research into "Dark Energy" is challenging all the previous concepts. "Dark energy is something we have no clue as to what is causing it, and it doesn't fit into current physics theories, and they have to develop new approaches to explain it," said Perlmutter, an astrophysicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (<http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/generalscience/darkenergy_folo_01041 0.html>). In 1917, Albert Einstein first imagined a repulsive force pervading space, which later came to be called the "cosmological constant." Like a 20th-century version of the mythological Atlas, Einstein sought to shore up the universe by keeping stars from falling together under gravity. Einstein fudged his relativity equations to add a repulsive force under certain conditions in space. This would keep the universe eternally balanced at a "steady state." It means the pace of this knowledge and education is so slow that whatever Einstein put forward years ago, is coming before us in the form of Fusion. Allama Iqbal pointed to the inferiority complex in the Muslim thought which has resulted in two extremes groups: one is the blind followers of the secular thought and the other is the rejectionist rejecting all things western.
The American analysts in particular are bent upon proving parts of the Islamic teachings and Quran as redundant due to the reason that they give birth to terrorism and fundamentalism -- "two wings of the same bird." The non-believers are lecturing us on the Holy Quran. Our education would be education if we could prove that no portion of the Quran is redundant. It still has limitless knowledge and wisdom. For a long time the modern science believed that some of the heavenly bodies are static. When astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe wasn't static but expanding, Einstein abandoned his cosmological constant and called it his biggest blunder. Astronomers kept Einstein's "fudge factor" locked away as a closet skeleton for decades. Whereas the Quran stated 1400 years ago: "It is not permitted to the sun to catch up the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; each just swims along its own orbit," (36.40). It was only Einstein who confirmed that the galaxies and space are expanding. According to the Quran it is only Allah who expands the vastness of space (51.47). Quran referred to the recent Big Bang theory in verse 21:30 fourteen hundred years ago. Today the science estimates that the distance of nearest star, which is the binary system of Alpha Centauri, is 23 trillion miles (or 4 light years) and it is beyond human capacity to get out of our galaxy. Whereas the Quran says: "...If you are able to pass through the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass through; you cannot pass through but with the help of Allah," (55.33).
Quran is neither decadent nor a source of extremism. If we consider it far behind the modern world, its so because its interpreters are not aware of the myths and realities. The west is only ahead in technological skill. Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan shattered the myth that we lag 150 years behind the west. Distances and times are irrelevant for Islam. Education, undoubtedly, is a must. However, writing Principia Mathematica or putting forward theory of relativity shall not be its objectives. Minus the top priority, millions of the PhDs would be useless. In the words of Quran: "And those who disbelieve, their deeds are like the mirage in a desert, which the thirsty man deems to be water; until when he comes to it he finds it to be naught, and there he finds Allah..." (24.39).
The duty of the learned Muslims is to make the rest of Muslims aware of the fact that Islam doesn't require sympathies or interpretation of a specific people or time. We need to make ourselves aware of the present realities and struggle to reach Allah in the light of all available knowledge, the way he showed in the Holy Quran and through the life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Education needs to polish the initial sensitisation, awareness and willing to strive for Allah.
As far terrorism and fundamentalism is concerned, they are the misnomered sources of our survival as Muslims. These are, in fact, Da'wa and Jihad, which are being demonised as fundamentalism and terrorism. The life and death struggle in many parts around the world demands Jihad. Jihad it becomes when it is waged with the true belief in and understanding of Allah. Jihad is not waged for victory alone. Jihad in many parts of the Muslim world is as much morally necessary as the 60 scholars from the US consider a war permitted after September 11. Don't the calamitous acts of occupation, violence, hatred and injustice in Palestine demand as much "war to defeat evil" as much the occupation of Kuwait or an attack of WTC demanded.
Authors of the American fatwa by the 60 scholars declare that the "primary moral justification for war is to protect the innocent from certain harm. If one has compelling evidence that innocent people who are in no position to protect themselves will be grievously harmed unless coercive force is used to stop an aggressor, then the moral principle of love of neighbour calls us to the use of force." Why do the authors think that this principle doesn't apply to Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya? Mr. Huntington must understand that the Muslims do not fight. Fighting is imposed on them. How long, for instance, should the Palestinians wait for justice when the US itself could wait more than 26 days in the case of WTC and more than five months in the case of Gulf War to retaliate with all the force at its disposal?
Authors of the letter from America tells the Muslims: "Your human dignity, no less than ours - your rights and opportunities for a good life, no less than ours - are what we believe we're fighting for." May we then ask: Did you fight for the rights of the millions of oppressed Palestinians as vigorously in the last 30 years as you fought for the rights of 2,800 dead in the last five months. Do you intend to kill thousands upon thousands Israelis for Israel's thirty five years occupation as you are doing to Iraq for its few months occupation of Kuwait? Certainly not. Why then this double speak? The only answer to such hypocrisy is not mere education, but education with the mass awareness and mobilisation of the Muslims to struggle for themselves, in all possible ways, for their rights as equal citizens on this planet.
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