By Quayyum Raja

The future of Islam and Muslims

November 26, 2019 - 10:55

KASHMIR - Islam is a universal faith. Anyone from anywhere at any time can embrace Islam and has been doing so ever since the dawn of Islam. Therefore, the future of Islam is bright, but the future of the current Muslim states looks very bleak.

Therefore, the future of Islam is bright, but the future of the current Muslim states looks very bleak.

Why?  Because most of the Muslim states are either fighting their own people or against each other. There is no independent foreign policy due to external interference.

  Any Muslim state which tries to have its own foreign and economic policy is targeted by the imperialists and the other fellow Muslims watch it idle by. Iran is a prime example, which has been facing unjustified economic sanctions for decades.

 How Iran has managed to survive is a miracle. Iran’s ability to survive in the face of harsh economic sanctions provides a source of strength and hope. It raises the question as to what is the power behind the survival of Iran, whose living standard and infrastructure is still better than most of the well-off Muslim states.

I have recently spent three months in Iran during which I have very closely observed the social, cultural, political and economic conditions of Iran.  The Iranians are a dignified people with a remarkable history and civilization.  They have supported their government, because they know the external powers see their civilization as a competing force.

America wants a political hegemony and Iran is seen as a power but why? Iran was certainly not seen as a threat for America during the Shah era. So, what is the difference?  The main difference is that Shah had allowed America to change its culture and control resources and foreign policy.

 In comparison, the post-revolution Iran has maintained its independence in the face of all difficulties and proved clear difference between “Oral Islam” that existed during the Shah era and practicing Islam brought about by Ayatollah Khomeini.  The practicing Islam emerged out of firm belief in Allah (SWT) and life after death. 

Over a century ago, Dr. Allama Iqbal, the poet and philosopher, who is a Kashmiri by background, but known in Iran as Iqbal Lahori, wrote extensively in Farsi despite being in Persia. His poetry showed to what extent he adored the Persian language and culture.

 Iqbal lamented the “Oral Islam”, where Muslims had reduced Islam to rituals and customs and lacked belief. It is unfortunately still the case today, where most of the Muslim rulers are happy with “Oral Islam.”  People follow Islam out of a habit rather than an understanding of the concept of Islam. 

 Pakistan was formed in the name of Islam, but it has become more un-Islamic than it was before its formation in 1947. The educational curriculum of Pakistan comes from Britain and the language of instruction right from the primary school is now English in Pakistan. 

 This is how the Pakistani children are being brainwashed, losing the knowledge of their own history, culture and heritage. The Arab countries have Arabic as their language of instruction but the level of research is very limited and creativity hardly encouraged. This is why the Arab world has not been able to contribute to the world for centuries in terms of scientific knowledge despite large resources.

Up until the 12th century, the Islamic world produced scientists, scholars, and poets like Omer Khayyam, Abu Sinna, Ibn Khaldun, Abu al Qasim Ferdowsi, Sheikh Saddi Shirazi and Syed Ali Shah Hamdani and many others within a short span of time, but not half the figure in the last ten centuries. So, what is the reason? It is simply because the most Muslim countries do not have their own curriculum in their own languages.  

The imperialistic world has discovered a new weapon to defeat and rule the people through a remote control. This is the imposition of their education system in their own language. 

The solution lies in the re-introduction of our own curriculum in our own language. Iran is a good precedent for the Muslim world.  Iran does not only have a good education system, but also “Public Diplomacy” through which the Persian Language and culture is promoted as well as the public to public relations.

 The Muslim countries must follow the example of Iran’s Public Diplomacy to bring about mutual understanding between the Muslims necessary for harmony and peace between them. Otherwise, the Muslims will remain a community in competition with itself rather than other competing forces, who have already reduced it into a subordinate exploited world. 

Dr. Iqbal has envisioned “the Mard-e-Momin”, a true Islamic character by following Allah and the Prophet through self-discipline and patience for removal of all the ills in the Muslim society. Let us try to create and develop such a character in each of us. Iqbal’s “Mard-e-Momin” is not confined to a particular territory or belong to a particular race. It is a human being who has followed the sunnah of the Prophet to gain complete independence from the evil forces and has acquired inner satisfaction rather than material success in the eyes of the materialistic world. 

The Western Union has removed visa restrictions for economic benefits, while we Muslims believe in one God and one Prophet, but have hardest visa conditions. This is why, the Muslims know more about non-Muslim countries and little about each other. Let us start here and today to bring the Muslims closer and stronger.

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