By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam
October 22, 2013
I stumbled upon a book titled “the downfall of the Muslim world” authored by an Egypt-based German novelist and historian Hamid Abd al-Samad. In this work, he seeks to cover the Muslim world's major problems to be faced in the next thirty years. He opines that the Islamic world is plagued with the persistent downfall due to a number of reasons such as the impending drying up of the oil wells, scarcity of forests and breeding lands, increase in the deserts, rise of sectarian, ethnic and economic tensions that continue unabated, as well as a large population of Muslim countries migrating to the west and Europe.
The author believes that Islam did not give humanity anything new or worthwhile. He makes out that the Muslim world will reach the climate of decay and downfall within the next two decades with no remedy for their ills, except for a miracle that alone can save them from their misery.
Highlighting the important reasons behind their decline, the author points out that Muslim countries lack in economy, active and constructive educational system and intellectual temperament. He believes these "devastating disasters" will ultimately result into their downfall, and avers that that the structure of the Islamic building has already got impaired and is now going through the final stages of its falling. He adds that Muslim nations did achieve a measure of progress in the middle ages when they came in contact with other civilisations and, hence, derived inspirations from them. Thus, they embraced a sort of intellectual openness that led them to benefit from the works and sciences invented by other civilisations.
The author further elaborates, with no research produced, that there was a time when Muslims translated some pieces of Greek and Christian thought and transferred them to the western world, but they did not realise that these translations were not an Islamic achievement at all, rather they were the first academic achievement made by the Suryanis and Aswaris who already had reached the heights of scientific and universal developments. With the advent of Islam, Muslims attributed theses achievements to their own credit, while they failed to take these sciences even to Mecca and Medina, the founts of Islam.
The author wonders why is it that so many cultures and civilasations today share values with each other except for the Islamic civilisation that remains stagnant within itself and hostile towards other civilisations declaring them kafir (infidel). Despite that, he adds, Muslims benefit from all the developments and achievements by the kafir civilisations.
The author is of the view that there can be no reform in Islam now. He opines that as long as the Quran and its teachings and notions are forbidden to be criticised, no progress can be hoped. He sees no hope for reform of a community that attaches universal and eternal importance to the futile and pointless religious texts, declares itself the best Ummah (community) and deprives others of the right to live.
The author, Dr. Hamid Abd al-Samad does not talk of any miraculous solution for the problems of Muslims. According to him, there is no panacea for the ills of the community that fails to rise above the religious dogmas and divides the world into Muslim, Kafir, Darul Islam and Darul Harb etc. It is simply impossible, in his eyes, for Muslims to make any headway until they turn their religion into a spirituality that can help them attain a personal relationship with God, with no interference of any religious or non-religious organization in their faith.
Muslim countries are already suffering from the pangs of decay. But they are likely to face a grave dilemma in the next few decades after the their oil wells dry up as well as with the climate change. This is the unfortunate prophecy that Dr. Hamid Abd al-Samad has made in his book “the Downfall of the Muslim world”.
If the Muslim nations disappear from the map of the world today, what harm would it do to the world? Dr. Hamid Abd Ul Samad says: “almost nothing”.
He believes Muslims are looking back to their past, unable to find any solution to their present problems. The reason why they are clinging to the past is simply their inability to tackle the issues emerging in the present and the future.
There was much hue and cry over this book, when it was first published in Germany in 2010. The author was branded “superficial” and “stereotype” by some people, while others tagged him as brave and courageous. Some even went to the extent of threatening his life. The author sees Islam as a part of the issues concerning the Muslim world, while the Quran is, in his eyes, the biggest stumbling block in the development of the Muslim community. Perhaps this goes to be true, as Muslims have lost their way to reason and rationality since the time they burnt down the writings of Ibn-e-Rushd. Now, they are so bewildered in the darkness that they find no way out even after hard and strenuous search.
(Translated from Urdu by the New Age Islam Edit Desk)
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