Islam versus Muslims
Sincere debate among Muslims
In the first part of this debate which I called “Do not blame the west, blame yourselves” I discussed the notion of sharing responsibility of our bad deeds and pain and suffering of Muslims today. And I concluded that we must not fully put the blame on the western powers or others. After acknowledging such responsibility then the process of positive change will begin. In this posting I will point out to the main cause of the major elements and reasons of the Muslim’s horrific present situation or any other nation, that is “oppression”.
It is no secret that Muslims have been oppressed through out history by their rulers and by the colonial powers, which have enabled those ruthless rulers to assume power over them. So I believe oppression is a major factor in shaping up the out come of society’s future. I must say that the Middle Eastern Muslims and other parts of the Muslim world (including myself) have been oppressed by various colonial powers or by social and economic factors. Oppression has a devastating effect on people’s character, behavior, and future. There are different kinds of oppression; political, economical, social, etc…. These are the most important types which really influence society’s future.
Having said this, the psychological effects of oppression is not an unbeatable force which it should be left unchallenged. Human beings are very complex creatures and history shows us that there were people, who were also oppressed like any other oppressed society member, were able to rise up against the cruel conditions of oppression and make a positive change in their society. These great leaders who have changed the course of history were subjected to the same oppression factors and horrible conditions. But they did not surrender to the effects of oppression, rather they were able to challenge those conditions of oppression and go forward. They were always conscious of what can they do to limit the effects of oppression on themselves and their people by identifying the major consequences of it and point out to its symptoms and then take the proper steps to deal with it accordingly.
Oppressed people should not use oppression as an excuse to justify their negative behavior and backwardness. People must initiate and make a sincere attempt toward a positive change. They should embrace the voices of change, for such voices will rejuvenate life at all levels, intellectual and physical. We must hear out the free voice of society and allow it to fully express itself, for it is a fundamental human principle for co-existence. It is the human desire to initiate change. We should not be afraid of such voices if we think that we posses a formidable philosophy and religious doctrine which represent the ultimate truth. In my opinion, allowing voices of change to be fully heard before shutting them out, would bring about awareness, and make us re-evaluate our perception of our beliefs and ideas. It would put our perception of ideologies to the test. Either we pass the test or don’t. So the overall results of allowing voices of change would be beneficial and every one will learn from it.
The holy Quran refer to this fact of change and makes it the principle factor of change in society and considers it to be the fundamental principle of progress and the prerequisite for the divine intervention to help the oppressed, and bring about a positive change in their plight. This is can be seen in the Holy Quran:
13:11 …. Verily, God does not change people’s condition unless they change their inner selves;
إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ
In the light of the above verse, how can we fulfill the recommendation of Allah in bringing about change? We have seen the reaction of Muslims against any genuine attempt for change throughout the Muslim world. The Muslim religious extremists will do whatever they can through their deviated perception of Islam to undermine and muzzle those voices of change through intimidation, threats, or even murder. Muslims extremists are not adhering to the essence of this verse. To them change means the end of their prestige, control over people and the end of their career. They will have no place in society and will not be able to manipulate truths, in order to implement their perverted philosophy, in achieving their goals and agendas. So it becomes the responsibility of the Muslim people to encourage any voice of change and they must send a clear message to those extremists and try to reduce their influence on our people.
These extremist are often the victims of the effects of oppression but they surrender to it. They fail to make an attempt in getting out of the clutches of the effects of oppression; instead they tend to exploit the pain and suffering of their people, due to oppression, and they intend to gain control over the destiny of their people. These people intend to keep the viscous cycle of abuse to go on forever. Sunnis oppresses Shi’as and Shi’as oppresses Sunnis, all are committed in the name of Islam; in the name of Ali and in the name of Omar. Both parties have exploited their sufferings and the effects of oppressions and put the blame entirely on each other or on the west. None of them made any genuine attempts to reconcile for the purpose of going forward. It is evident to say that the symptom of the effects of oppression, which is suffered by both, is clearly manifest through their behavior towards each other and the rest of the world. Majority of Muslims today are very angry and hateful of the rest of the world. They keep fantasizing about their ancient past and do not seem to wake up from this dream so that they could do their part to further advance the progress of our world.
Our great early Muslim leaders and scholars have done their best to serve the ultimate goals of Islam. They have left behind a great wealth of knowledge and wisdom which have contributed to the present progress and advancement of nations. Here I would like to point out to something very important that is, the true glory of our Muslim history, in my opinion, dose not really covers the whole history of Islam which begins from the advent of Islam until the Ottoman Empire. Rather it is limited to the early period of Islam which may begin from the time of the prophet Mohammad and going through the four Muslim rulers; the rightly guided rulers as they are called by Muslim historians and in addition to some short bright periods, such as the great Umayyad ruler Omar Bin Abdulaziz, in all fairness.
I believe this early period truly represent Islam. Its glory was mainly defined in reference to nobility, piety, honesty, justice, wisdom, and God fearing. But if we consider the later periods or dynasties, such as the Umayyad, Abbasid and down to the Ottoman Empire, we find that their glory is defined in reference to the different sciences, such as Mathematics, medicine and etc… But as far as nobility, piety, honest, justice, and God fearing is concerned, there are a lots concerns to be raised which require a second look. According to our history, those dynasties have behaved no different from the western powers of the past or the present, in their ambitions of colonizing and expanding their territories. In the process of expanding in the name of Islam, too many crimes had been committed such as enslavement of people, plundering of wealth, raping women (under the pretext of war prisoners-or right hand possession which was falsely implemented), and many other crimes which are usually committed by any world power in the past or present. It was mainly a power struggle to dominate the world and not a struggle between truth and falsehood, good and evil. Let’s take the last of the Muslim’s glory!!!; the Ottoman empire, it is no secret that many horrible crimes were committed in the name of Islam against all the people who were under their control; Muslims and nun-Muslims. If I wanted to elaborate on the crimes which were committed by these Muslim dynasties, I would need hundreds of pages to do that. Some Muslims may be outraged by these claims of mine, but please just refer to any Muslim history book and read about it, you will be truly ashamed of these dark periods of Muslims but not darker than the situation under the Roman empire or any other western empire.
Ironically in recent years Muslim extremists are trying to do the same thing in their efforts to dominate the world with their distorted vision of Islam. It is worth mentioning here that these Muslim extremists have declared their “Jihad!!!” to dominate the world and establish a Muslim empire; as they claim, but their leaders are shadowy people and hiding in the caves and holes of the ground and launching their cowardly attacks mainly against civilian targets; such attacks are, suicide bombings, assassinations, public be-headings and many other terrorizing methods. Their victims are mainly Muslims!!!!!!!. Frankly speaking I, as a Muslim, just considering the thought that if these Muslim extremists were able to succeed in their efforts of establishing a Muslim empire, is truly a freighting feelings. Such people have managed to murder thousands of Muslims in Iraq alone and non-Muslims throughout the world, despite the fact that they are not in control of power yet. Their philosophy is a little bit similar to George Bush’s “either you are with us or against us”. But those extremists go further than that by murdering anyone opposes them and they have demonstrated this to the world particularly in Iraq.
In my opinion, long term subjugation of oppression, would certainly have a negative impact on people’s behaviors. And if we make no attempts to deal with it we will fall victims to its effects. Those effects are the main factors which have played a major role in the dire present situation of Muslims.
It is important to remember that Islam’s main objective is to combat oppression and injustice. In essence Islam’s ultimate goal is “social Justice” which can not be achieved unless oppression is eradicated or at least dealt with accordingly. Such task is not attainable without the collective efforts of society members. However if society members do not make a collective efforts to take proper measures to deal with it , then it will enter a self destructive path which will erode its foundation at all levels.
It is important to remember that the present dire situation of Muslims today is as results of our own actions throughout history. No sincere attempts were made to improve our situations and a lack of faith in the true meanings of Islam. The Holy Quran reiterates this fact in 3:182:
(3:182) in return for what your own hands have wrought – for never does God do the least wrong to His creatures!”
So it is very crucial for Muslims to reflect upon the present direction and to truly search for other ways to define their perception of Islam and find a new viable way to make a difference in the world.
My next posting will be about the symptoms of oppression which have devastated the Muslim people throughout history.
Until next time
May Allah help us all?