By Prof. Atique Ahmad Farooqi
Translated by New Age Islam Edit Desk
How Are Fatwas Seriously Causing Muslims To Decline?
In the eleventh century AD, around a thousand years ago, Islam was in the midst of its scientific golden era. During this time, Baghdad was the epicentre of modern science and technology. Baghdad once served as a hub for international students seeking advanced science education. Europe was education-wise in the dark throughout this time. Muslims were revered as being scientists. During this time, Muslims were seen as an identity in all areas of global education, including mathematics, science, psychology, agriculture, medicine, and shipping. Then all of these activities abruptly came to an end. Philosophy, invention, and wisdom abruptly vanished from the Muslim world. This was principally caused by a fatwa that was published in the well-known book Tahaaft al-Falasafah by Imam al-Ghazali (1058-1111), a well-known religious expert of his time. This interpretation of the book holds that manipulating numbers is the work of Satan. Muslims should therefore refrain from using mathematics.
Imam al-Ghazali was born in Tabarân-Tûs province of Khorasan, Iran. He was known as Mujaddid and Hujjatul Islam at the time because of his prominence among the Muslims of that period. Obviously, Muslims at the time believed that disobeying his edict (fatwa) was against Islam. As a result, Muslims disregarded any scientific discoveries and investigations that incorporated mathematical procedures of any kind. As we all know, modern technology cannot succeed without the use of mathematical procedures. Muslims disregarded science. American astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson claims that Imam Ghazali made this crucial error, which caused Muslims to turn away from all forms of knowledge. Everything came to a halt once Imam Ghazali issued this fatwa. It appeared as though someone had handicapped the Muslims. His incorrect understanding has prevented this Muslim nation from emerging until this day, and the harm done centuries ago has not yet been remedied.
The second significant shock was the ban on printing press use after its invention. Following the invention of the printing press in Germany in 1455, Sultan Salim (I) prohibited the printing of any form of a book at the request of Sheikh Al-Hadith, a member of the Ottoman Caliphate of Turkey (1299-1922). It was also stated that anyone found using a printing press would be put to death.
The caliphate at that time encompassed not just Turkey but also sections of South-Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. The Muslims' progress at the time quickly came to a stop as a result of this edict. Once other nations started using the printing press, science-based publications, research papers, and articles on new discoveries began to appear in newspapers all across the world. As information spread, other countries began to profit from it.
The first book printed in the Muslim world was in 1817, despite the fact that this self-imposed ban on Muslims using printing presses was lifted around 1784. The fountain of knowledge among Muslims first emerged 362 years after the printing press was invented, but where did the rest of the world get to in that time? For a long time, Muslims were denied access to the new information and technologies made possible by the printing press. These two fatwas were the main reasons why Muslims are not where they ought to be today.
What specifically was regarded as un-Islamic and why was it forbidden, we just marvel as we think back on these fatwas now. But even now, we remain the same as we did then. We continue to accept bizarre fatwas even today without objecting to them. When the aeroplane was created, a fatwa from the subcontinent stating that flying is prohibited was issued. The fatwa claims that travelling at such a high altitude is equivalent to opposing the authority of God. So, when the radio was created, a fatwa was issued declaring it to be the voice of the devil. Fatwa is still broadcast on television and on cameras. Similar to this, someone today has declared genetic engineering, hair transplants, and blood transfusions to be prohibited (Haraam).
The age of cosmic exploration is at its height right now. We learn that the cosmos is currently in a quantum condition. Research focuses on the surface of Mars. In addition to genetic engineering, medical research has also advanced to the point where the world is now on the verge of wiping out devastating diseases like cancer. Where are we now, and how far has the world progressed? At our present level of comprehension, we nevertheless find it fascinating to find the names of Allah or Muhammad written on a cucumber.
Our degree of intelligence is such that if the name of Muhammad is discovered on a goat used as a sacrifice, we deem the goats to be Muslims. What is this, and how are we benefiting religion? Jews, Christians, Japanese, and every other nation in the world attempted to keep up with the pace of the time and succeeded in new heights. However, our nation is still at the bottom of the food chain, and as a result, we are now behind other countries. Strict accountability is required.
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