The Muslim Ummah is lagging behind and this is not a hypothesis by an outsider looking from the periphery; but that of a Muslim who is troubled by this very real but sad fact. It’s there for all to see; ranging from the extremism of certain factions to the neo- colonization of Muslim lands by the corporate and financial powers that be.
This is an Ummah that once ruled one-third of the world. Produced one of the most enduring and enlightened civilizations that mankind has ever witnessed. From legal luminaries, theologians to scientists, this empire of faith was the vanguard and forerunner to what the western powers pride themselves with, viz: technology and the liberal sciences. However, there was a discontinuity that is very apparent from the current state of global Islam. The fall from grace drastically in a time when Islam is challenged from all angles, from theology to science
Here I try to list down a rather quick rundown of ten causes to this decadence. This is by no means an exhaustive list but an attempt at diagnosing the ills that pervade this prophetic nation.
1. Problematic interpretations of major Islamic concepts. One of the first examples that come to mind is the concept of Bid’ah (Innovation). Whereas this concept is fundamentally opposed to the preservation of the sacred law, it doesn’t mean there mustn’t be continuity, as in good innovation.
2. The eroding of the ethics in the difference of opinions. Islam has always made room for differences in jurisprudential matters and even matters relating to theology and creed. However today we cannot differ respectfully and resort to very insulting behaviors which leads to Islam being viewed with disdain, sometimes by ordinary Muslims themselves.
3. The scholars have not stood up to the challenge of the ideological and psychological warfare that’s being inflicted on the Muslim psyche. In the past, Islamic scholars stood up against deviant interpretations of the canonical works of the religion and developed a creedal formula that preserved the core tenets. Today Islam faces the challenges of atheism, evolution etc. but little has been done so far.
4. The lack of scholars that are grounded in both the secular and sacred laws and paradigms.
5. Sacred art of Islam –from architecture to calligraphy- which led many people to Islam in the past because of the beauty that they perceived, Islamic art is now dying at a rapid rate, because certain factions and groups are overtly against it.
6. The sharp decline in morals and manners among Muslim communities. What most of us don’t realize is that we have properly laid down rules of conduct and behavior present in the Quran, and when we don’t follow them, we leave our societies open to corruption.
7. Spirituality, the soul of Islam is not so viable.
8. Excessive literal-ism.
9. The extreme esoteric ideology of certain groups.
10. And lastly the biggest and saddest, that of sectarianism. This is perhaps the biggest reason we are lagging behind. In a time when Muslims have to work together cohesively to avert the war we are facing on all frontiers, we instead choose to fight among ourselves.
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