Last Thursday 13/07/17, Friday 20/10/1438H) this lecture was given in Mansoor Hotel: a work over fifteen years transmitted to over fifty countries worldwide.
The diagnosis was Islam is in decline, Muslims are angry and the answer is Cosmopolitan Islam with free interpretation of sacred texts. This I would rather call American Islam which actually sprouted in California recently, with takeover of some mosques and where women lead the congregation in prayers.
I take issue with the diagnosis as well, of course, with the prescription.
Islam as a Revealed Religion is never in trouble. Its adherents may go through phases of weakness and power. However, its weaknesses and strength cannot be measured by Western secular parameters. For example, the Human Development Index brings together: income/infant mortality & literacy. However, Islam although it applauds and encourages literacy does not reward you for having high income or low infant mortality. Its priorities are elsewhere.
Islam is the only truly global human concept today where everyone black, white, and yellow enters it on equal footing.
Look at the Hadrami merchants who traded in S.E. Asia and caused the conversion to Islam of millions in that region resulting in Indonesia becoming the biggest Muslim country in the World. By the way Muslim Indians are the second biggest. Muslim monarchs (nawabs) were ruling most of India when the Europeans arrived there. It did not take much effort to wrest power from them. One of the reasons for their weakness was material decadence. Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the Old World, was built just as a tomb for the wife of a Muslim king.
The Golden Age of Islam is not the so called Middle Ages when Muslims were leading the World in Science, Maths, and Architecture. It is the first four decades of the Prophet and his four Guided Khalifs. However, in one midday the Prophet himself and his two senior companions found themselves getting out of their homes separately. When they asked each other what turned them out it was nothing but hunger. I suppose an American would call that today a failed state. However, within less than three decades, they had the two contemporary Big Powers thrown out of Arab lands like Yemen, Iraq and Syria and Islamised.
It is true Islam spread by the sword in those regions, but Muslims were ready to sacrifice their lives to save others from Damnation. They gave them a choice, too:
- Become a Muslim and enter with equal footing with previous Muslims.
- Accept protection by Islamic State for a fee ( Jizya ).
It is true Tartars destroyed the Caliphate in Baghdad in 656H(1258 AD) but it bounced back within three years in 659H (1261 AD) in Egypt with the Tartars totally defeated and their remnants converted to Islam.
This global spread of Islam was always opposed by secular powers. When European secularists emasculated Christianity power and influence, they turned on Islam and Muslims. Since in late fifteen century the Mediterranean Sea was still a Muslim power base, Europeans turned to circumventing Africa and sailing westwards to get to the E. Indies only to discover America incidentally. A full colonial onslaught started when Muslim military power waned from Morocco to Indonesia. An outright colonial annexation occurred in all Muslim lands except Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Although Muslim countries began regaining their independence from the Sixties, neo-clonisation ensued which was characterized by puppet rulers and intellectuals who idolised the West and despised everything Muslim. These were left in power by the departing Colonists whose influence and ability to interfere never waned.
Palestine was handed over to Zionists as a result of the nefarious Balfour Promise of Britain. Israel was declared a state in 1948 and has become a de facto nuclear state in the Sixties with West blessings. But when Muslim countries like Iraq, Libya or Iran tried to become nuclear the West objected vehemently.
Sections of the Muslim Community reacted violently and haphazardly to these intense provocations especially when the Caliphate was abolished in the 1920s. One of the biggest such reactions was 911. So many Muslim countries have been invaded under UN banner or unilaterally by the USA since. Similarly so many Muslim countries including Somaliland are constantly flown over by US pilotless predators from neighbouring countries that are ready to act as an instant judge jury and executioner of hapless citizens.
The propaganda war, where any violence from a Muslim is branded terrorism, is in full swing protected by UN resolutions. Muslims has been thrown into opposing factions and countries where a full civil war is ablaze in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
In such burning situation the first priority for Muslims is to extinguish the fires amongst Muslims and not to worry about what impressions they make on the secular West.
Any Muslim who has any idea how to bring Muslims together should step forward whether he is a leader, an intellectual or otherwise.
Currently, campaigning for some named Islam whether cosmopolitan/American is a waste of time and dangerous.
Dr A S Mohamed
MB ChB DTM&H MRCP(UK)