[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Sanwal Malik is currently doing Mechatronics Engineering from Air University, Islamabad and writes articles at his private blog as well. He is looking to strengthening his writing skills and has an interest writing on topics such as Politics and Youth of Pakistan, Fiction, Sports etc. [/author_info] [/author]
The term “Islamic Republic” is often used for many Muslim countries, but are the Muslim nations really following the Islamic model? Majority would definitely say “No”! Islam is the religion of about one billion people and is a rapidly growing faith worldwide, particularly in Africa. The United States, for example, boasts almost a million converts to Islam (plus an even larger number of Muslim immigrants). Islam’s adherents find their faith second to none, for their religion possesses the code of life or in definition ‘Peace acquired by submitting your will to God’. As a leading figure in the Islamic Republic of Iran maintains, “Any Westerner who really understands Islam will envy the lives of Muslims.”
Contributing to this internal confidence is the memory of outstanding achievements during Islam’s first six or so centuries. Its new culture was the most sophisticated, Muslims enjoyed the best health and lived the longest, had the highest rates of literacy, sponsored the most advanced scientific and technical research, and deployed usually victorious armies. This pattern of success was evident from the beginning: in A.D. 622 Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) fled Mecca as a refugee, only to return eight years later as its ruler. As early as the year 715, Muslim conquerors had assembled an empire that extended from Spain in the west to India in the east. To be a Muslim meant to belong to a superior civilization in all manners of life. Muslims, not surprisingly came to assume a correlation between their faith and their worldly success, to assume that they were the favored of God in both spiritual and mundane matters.
Though in modern times battlefield victories and prosperity have been notably lacking. Indeed, as early as the thirteenth century, Islam’s atrophy and Christendom’s advances were already becoming discernible. But for some five hundred years longer, Muslims remained largely oblivious to the extraordinary developments taking place to their north. Perhaps the biggest shock came in July 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte landed in Egypt – the center of the Muslim world – and conquered it with stunning ease. Other assaults followed over the next century and more, and before long most Muslims were living under the rule of European Colonialism. As their power and influence waned, a sense of incomprehension spread among the Muslims. What had gone wrong? Why had God seemingly abandoned them?
The trauma of modern Islam results from this sharp and unmistakable contrast between medieval successes and more recent tribulations. Muslims have had an exceedingly hard time explaining what went wrong. Nor has the passage of time made this task any easier, for the same ill-fated circumstances still exist. Whatever index one employs, Muslims can be found clustering towards the bottom – whether measured in terms of their military prowess, political stability, economic development, human rights, health, longevity or literacy. The Asian Renaissance (1997) that whereas Muslims make up just one-fifth of the world’s total population, they constitute more than half of the 1.2 billion people living in abject poverty. As the imam of a mosque in Jerusalem put it not long ago, “Before, we were masters of the world and now we’re not even masters of our own mosques.”
So what went wrong?
In their effort to build a way of life based purely on the Sharia laws, Muslims strained to reject all aspects of Western influence – customs, philosophy, political institutions and values. Despite these efforts, they still absorb vast amounts from the West in endless ways. For one, they need modern technology, especially its military and medical applications. For another, they themselves tend to be modern individuals, and so are far more imbued with Western ways than they wish to be or will ever acknowledge.
And when Sharia based government does take power, as in Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan, the result is invariably a disaster. Economic decline begins immediately. Iran, where for two decades the standard of living has almost relentlessly declined, offers the most striking example of this. Personal rights are disregarded. Repression of women is an absolute requirement, a practice most dramatically on display in Afghanistan, where they have been excluded from schools and jobs.
In the end, my personnel opinion is that we have adopted the modernized Islam in ourselves and completely forgotten the true principles of Islam. We are pretending to be unaware that we still follow the sayings of Allah and his Prophet. We adopted our own religion which varies from each person to other. To take Muslim world out of misery, all Muslim countries should start the campaign of understanding the true Islam and unite to solve our international issues. It’s a very difficult task in this era but we have to take the initiative because it’s the first step towards the Muslims prosperity.