Reawakening Ummah and Islamic revival

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The famous Islamic philosopher and jurist Ibn Rushd (Averroes) rightly said that “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate, and hate leads to violence.” One can analyze the demise of civilizations through the prism of Averroes, especially the fall of Islamic civilization and the prevalent miserable situation of the Islamic nations across the globe. Once a mighty global power which vanished in the 13th century due to its arrogance, social and political fragmentation and ethnocentric approach but all these ills are still rampant today if we observe the Islamic nations or the supranational organizations formed by them like OIC or Arab League. The rise of Islamic civilization was credited to the intellectual supremacy, education and rationality, accountability and social justice, open and pluralistic nature and universal approach. The civilization, which not only paved path for the Western Christian World to pull themselves from the darkness to renaissance, but also acted as a torchbearer in the fields of astronomy, commerce, medical science, and philanthropy etc. This is indebted to the state-funded science projects beginning the house of wisdom Baghdad, where not only Muslim scholars but also the Christian and Jews came together for the pursuit of knowledge and scientific discoveries –hinting the inclusive and universal approach of the then Islamic civilization. However, over the course of the last century and inception of the nation-states, it is evident that the Islamic nations pursued their individual national interests. Whenever they tried to converge their interests and entertained the idea of Muslim Ummah or Islamic revival, as the global wave of Islamic revivalism of the 1970s where Islamic legal system has been introduced in Pakistan and Islamic Banking started gaining traction in the Muslim countries, the dilemma of theory (sharia) and its practice clashed and befuddled the whole phenomenon. According to scholar Olivier Roy, “The call to fundamentalism, centred on the sharia is as old as Islam itself and yet still new because it has never been fulfilled. It is a tendency that is forever setting the reformer, the censor, and tribunal against the corruption of the times and of sovereigns, against foreign influence, political opportunism, moral laxity, and the forgetting of sacred texts.” The impediment in this metamorphosis is the lack of rationality in the religious intellectual elite and bewilderment of culture with the religiosity. The social and political values imbibed by the Islam at the time of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), like rule of law, equality and dignity for all, universal brotherhood, and faith-based civilization, were fundamental pillars of the social contract and its practical manifestation is the Medina Charter. These notions of peace, love and inclusivity were carried forward by the Muslim caliphs afterwards which was the sole reason for the Muslim’s golden age. It was also projected by the ideas of Allama Muhammad Iqbal to regain lost glory and strength. According to Oliver, the ethnic and tribal segmentation, political manoeuvring, personal rivalries have not diminished, nor has corruption in politics and economics based on speculation, which acts as an impediment in the cohesion of global Muslim identity and revival of Ummah. Moreover, there is a need for ijtihad (creativity, critical thinking and innovation) among the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, the Muslims Ummah should refer to Qur’an as a source of their research in all dimensions of knowledge and hold the word of Allah in high spirit, transform the ideas presented in the Quran into the daily conduct, emancipate themselves intellectually especially from superstitions to think critically and creatively and unite the Ummah. Albeit the global supremacy of Islamic Civilization for more than two-centuries, legacy in the social and natural sciences, and its pluralistic nature, according to a research, the Islamic civilization came to an end due to the fragmentation and disunity among Ummah, moral decadence, ethnocentrism, and loss of dynamism. With the collapse of this gigantic civilization in human history, the ummah is yet to recover from social and economic malaise and it is possible through paving the path of tolerance, holding the moral and public accountability in high esteem, and perfecting the erroneous perception of Muslims and Islam in the global arena. Returning to the religious fundamentalism was not the path Muslims chose when they reached the summit of the global supremacy but the universality, brotherhood and social justice were the norms adopted by them back in the 10th century. Today, the UN declaration of human rights borrows the same thought and teaches us the same lesson we forgot a millennia ago. All we have to do is focus on rationality, and inclusivity to build a virtuous state idealized and envisioned by Al-Farabi.

 

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