Al-Huda the Message Continues 1/38
Foundation, NJ USA Newsletter for September 2004
Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5 - Article 6
Article 7 - Article 8 - Article 9 - Article 10 -Article 11 - Article 12
Downfall of the Muslim Ummah
Compiled by: Ayesha Hassan
The history of this world is a story of rise and fall of civilizations.
An intimate study would reveal that this rise and fall has definite causes: it
is not spontaneous. Therefore, it is vital to learn what actually triggers it
and whether it can be reversed. In the following discussion, an attempt has
been made to pinpoint the reasons of the downfall, which in fact means the
hurdles that need to be removed in order to take the Muslim Ummah back on the
track of prosperity.
Aslam: What are the causes which led to the downfall of the Muslims? How
should Muslims salvage their lost glory and prestige?
Admin: In a nutshell two causes have contributed to this downfall:
Severing ties with the Qur’an and having no standing in the fields of science and
technology. Regaining lost glory would depend on overcoming the above two
Imran776: God has blessed men with innate and revealed guidance. If a
person does not follow the innate guidance, he is unlikely to follow the revealed
guidance. One of the main reasons for the downfall of Muslims is not paying
heed to the innate guidance.
Aslam: How did the link with the Qur’an get severed?
Jhangeer Hanif: The link got severed because people started to approach
the Qur’an with preconceived notions about the Qur’an.
Aslam: Can we count Sufism as one of the causes of the downfall of the
Jhangeer Hanif: Every movement that takes the Muslims away from the Holy
Qur’an is responsible for their downfall.
Tariq Hashmi: Sufism obscured the real picture of the true concept of
Islam and hindered its effective propagation; hence it brought about a negative
Aslam: Some scholars insist that the downfall of the Mutazilites was one
of the causes of Muslim downfall. Do you agree?
Jhangeer Hanif: I’d rather relate the downfall to the general attitude of
the Muslims than relating it to some faction.
Aslam: I believe that the ascendancy of the Asharites led to the blind
following of certain schools of thought which is one of the causes of the
Jhangeer Hanif: Blind following is one of the main causes of the downfall
of the Muslims, I agree. Have you ever thought why blind following gained
acceptance among the masses?
Aslam: The reasons can be summarized as intellectual lethargy, political
turmoil and the fall of the Mutazilites.
Jhangeer Hanif: You are right. Slamming the doors shut to intellectual
inquiry into the original sources of Islam has also been one of the main causes.
Aslam: How can we clamber out of the pit of blind following (Taqlid)?
Ayesha: We can achieve this by inculcating critical analytical skills
within ourselves as well as our children. Unless we learn to question something
and appraise its validity, we cannot hope to do away with blind following. The
level of intellect can vary from person to person but a certain basic level of
intellect has been given to everyone. This also incorporates the sense of
judgment. That is why people who do not use their intellect have been admonished
in our religion.
Jhangeer Hanif: Clambering out of blind following does not seem to be an
easy thing to do. Education seems to be the only cure at the moment. Educating
the masses that ideas only matter and not personalities, a man remains a man
even after acquiring a great deal of knowledge, difference of opinion should
be respected, and finally ideas should be criticized and not those presenting
‘Taqlid’ is actually a verbal noun which means ‘to gird your neck with a
band’. This thus shows obedience to and following a particular person. As a
term, it denotes following someone without asking ‘reason or argument’ for the
religious verdict so forwarded. Initially, taqlid was not related to one
particular school of thought. Common Muslims were only supposed to go to the
scholars and, without asking them any reference or argument for religious verdict,
take fatwa from them as regards their problems or issues. Later, Muslim
scholarship thought that this might give rise to ‘following the low desires’ by
taking fatwa from so many scholars and then accepting only that which is
favorable to the seeker. In other words, the scholars thought that allowing the
Muslims to take fatwa from many scholars would cause them to fall prey to satanic
whispers since they would not be following Allah but Satan by accepting easy
verdicts. Seeing this, the Muslim scholars took another drastic step. They issued
the verdict that only one jurist should be followed throughout the lifespan.
Since four schools of thought were presumed to be in complete form, the
Muslim scholars propagated these, which eventually became prevalent among all the
Muslims. In the beginning, there seems to have been no bigotry among the
adherents of these four schools of thought. However, as it was based on ‘following
without thinking’, false feelings of pride and prejudice ultimately found place
in the hearts of the blind followers. This is why that the adherents of these
schools think of others as inferior. I hope you understand that this is
totally against the spirit of Islam—a religion that supports critical thinking.
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