Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Any thoughts?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Any thoughts?

    Islamic Civilization's Decline Blamed on Lack of Ideas
    Copyright: http://www.iviews.com
    Published Tuesday July 24, 2001

    By Muqtedar Khan


    Human existence has always been dependent on the power of ideas. It was our capacity for ideas that allowed us to take over this planet from other beasts far more powerful than us. It is safe to say that in the very beginning of human life, the fact that ideas are more powerful than power itself was established. The impact of ideas can be felt in three different ways; one, ideas can transform our understanding of life and through that transform the very conditions of our existence (Iman). Two, ideas can transform our conception of ourselves and begin a new reconstruction of the self (Tazkiyyah Annafs). Three, ideas can alter the balance of power between communities and lead to freedom from slavery and oppression (Islah).

    But we must remember that all ideas have an expiry date. Once ideas become stale, they lose their emancipatory capacity and become oppressive. Ideas that once liberated and transformed a society, if allowed to become dogma, will cause stagnation and decline of that society. The same idea can liberate and imprison the individual/collective mind as well. The key to utilizing the power of ideas is to ensure that the human will is always in charge and never subordinated to any old idea.

    Ideas are meanings and without them, nothing is meaningful. All individuals and civilizations have an idea of the self and an idea of the big picture. These constitutive ideas are essential not only for the existence but the continued growth of the self. If we allow foundational ideas to stagnate, then we will lose our vitality and our strength.

    This is what, I believe, has happened to the Islamic Ummah. Our genesis, our phenomenal and explosive growth and all our past glory, was the sole statement of a divine idea - Islam. The idea of Islam transformed our vision of ourselves, gave us a new meaning of life itself, and as it unfolded, gave birth to one of the most glorious periods in human history.

    There are basically two types of ideas -- pure ideas and contingent ideas. Pure ideas are solely the province of the supreme divine being, Allah, and in that sense the unfolding of creation is a continuous flow of ideas from the divine fountainhead. Human beings are only capable of producing contingent ideas. Contingent ideas are nothing but the outcome of the human processing of pure ideas. Pure ideas confront us in the form of revealed texts, material creation itself and as insights garnered through connections with the divine.

    The glory of the Islamic civilization emerged as a consequence of the enormous flow of contingent ideas from Muslim thinkers processing the pure idea of Islam. It led to the emergence of several streams of ideas (discourses) fiqh (Islamic legal thought), Falsafa (philosophy), adab (moral science), tasawwuf (spirituality), and Kalam (metaphysics). Islamic science that included mathematics, physics, geology, chemistry, astronomy, anthropology, sociology and historiography developed as the handmaiden of Islamic philosophy.

    These streams of contingent ideas continued to flow and enrich not only the Islamic World but also the entire human civilization. Every new stream of ideas added a newer, deeper and richer dimension to the Islamic world. In its time it manifested the zenith of human achievements in both corporeal as well as spiritual sense. This great epoch in human history was essentially the outcome of the human mind processing the pure idea of Islam.

    Today, the Islamic Ummah is in disarray. It has not only lost its past glory, but has also lost the capacity to comprehend the virtues and the causes of its past glory. It is in decline and unable to defend or take care of itself. After nearly 100 years of Islamic revivalism in the Sunni world, the best we have to show is the Taliban in Afghanistan. Let us hope that like Iran, Afghanistan too will turn towards moderation and freedom.

    I believe the singular reason for this state of affairs is the transformation of a people from processors of ideas to recyclers of ideas. On the moral and spiritual front we are trying to recycle the ideas of our forefathers and on the material front we are just consumers of Western ideas.

    Muslims, thanks to their obsessions with contingent ideas like the fiqh literature, have become estranged from the pure idea of Islam, and have also been deprived of their capacity to generate contingent ideas more meaningful to their times. It is this alienation from the creative process of idea generation that has stripped the Islamic civilization of its vitality and its brilliance leaving behind an embittered, insecure and clueless Ummah.

    The sooner we realize the absence of ideas and encourage, freedom of thought, creativity, and intellectual self-determination, the sooner will we recover some semblance of our past glory and fulfill our God given mandate of universal moral leadership.



    #2
    Any thoughts?

    No!

    ------------------
    *We are the Taleban-Resistance is Futile*
    Sin: Osama Bin Junior

    Comment


      #3
      To answer this article is not easy. I remember a similar discussion with one of my Muslim friend doing PhD in Physics. And we came to the conclusion that in today's Islamic culture whenever a person presents a new idea and if in some aspects the idea is against Islam, then the thinker's life is in danger by the mob. So thinkers in Islamic world are scared of presenting their ideas. Instead, I think that people and other thinkers should help to make the idea correct that is acceptable in Islam and is beneficial to the society.

      I want to make it clear that here ideas can be divided in two parts. (1) new ideas within Islam (2)new ideas about worldly matters, which may or may not relate to religion.

      First, any new idea within Islam should not be against it's teachings. Here I am talking about 'ijma' and 'ijtihaad'. In other words, if Islamic scholars do not find any direct ruling from Qur'an and Hadith about a particular matter, then Allah has granted us 'limited' autonomy to decide about the matter according to Qur'an and Sunnah.

      Second, why today's Muslim Ummah is lacking thinkers? I feel that we have become over cautious and confined over thoughts in a limited area. Please, I am not talking about the thought and ideas which lead to immorality, shirk and kufr etc., I am talking about other ideas. As we know that even our thoughts should be submissive to Allah.

      If there is any idea which is against Islam, it should be corrected and improved. But if the idea in its entirety is wrong then it should be discarded. As in modern day, a person should not instigate ideas against its nation and country, but to us Muslim it is Islam, which we follow and should stop any idea against Islam, especially in an Islamic country.

      As I remember, in Hazart Umar (RA) era people were free to present their opinions, but again according to the guidlines of Islam.

      Now about Talibans. I tend to support them, but I don't know in detail about them. The author of the above article seems to see Talibans as narrow-minded. But poet Allama Iqbal has said something like this "Even though the follower is narrow-minded, but is not less in his 'zoqq' (love for one's religion).

      But the thought presented by the author of 'new ideas' is very vulnerable. As people may misunderstand the article, may become so lenient that new ideas (right or wrong) should be developed having an excuse to up date certain things to time according to their insufficient thought. While other may become so furious that they may reject the idea totally and not give a thought to correct or improve it.

      In the end, if I have said anything wrong may Allah wash it from your minds and guide us all to the right path of Islam.

      Comment


        #4
        The writer seems to want Muslims to adopt democracy and not only that reject fiqh.

        It is not the lack of ideas we are suffering from it's the lack of Islamic ideas.

        The scholars of the past were not intellectuals which learnt Islam, it was Islam that made them intellectuals.

        When Islam today is taught as something we need to know but can't apply then of course stagnation will creep in.

        At the age of 12 or 11 (I can't remember correctly) Imam Shafi was given the task of codifying the Arabic language.

        Salahuddin was commander of the army at the age of 14 and at 17 he lead the army that took back the land of Palestine.

        Does this kufr system produce personalities such as these?

        If a person writes about how good democracy is then that person gets A grades for their essays and is considered an intellectual. However if the same person writes about the flaws of democracy then their paper is returned ungraded.

        InshAllah when the Khilafah is reestablished then these type of 'writers' shall realise their mistakes.

        Comment


          #5
          GFQ wrote:

          ......After nearly 100 years of Islamic revivalism in the Sunni world, the best we have to show is the Taliban in Afghanistan. Let us hope that like Iran, Afghanistan too will turn towards moderation and freedom.....


          Indicated by Scarface , pathetic article. Writer wants to be a champion of democracy, trying to show that he knows where the problem is.

          My understanding is, that Islam itself should be enough for us. Problem rose when rulers started to think 'khalifa' as their sole-right. They turned 'khilafa' into 'dictatorship' and hereditory. People were oppressed when they wanted to rise against idea of 'dictatorship'.

          Problem arose when WE (Muslims) changed the ideology presented to us in form of khilafa according to 'what we think' and not 'according to shariah'. If we go back to history, only upto Hazrat Osman's khilafa people had better time (no fight among Muslims), but as soon as Hazrat Ali (RA) was elected khalifa muwaiya turned this into game of 'tribes' again (indirectly wanted to keep rule in 'Umayyads') and we saw battle of siffeen causing huge damage to Muslim ummah, and we are still paying the loss in terms of 'shia/sunni' division.

          We have to come out of our personal desires, association with tribe / nationality / language / region etc. to successfully gain the glory we had in past.

          Important, glory does not necessarily mean 'rule the world', which this article assumes.

          ------------------
          We oughta be Changez like, don't we?

          Comment


            #6
            Pathetic article indeed. Islam is here for all times. The author's insinuations are littered with ideas of upgrading islam to the 21st century when infact Islam is independant of time, i.e., its here for all times.

            Our sad state of affairs is because we have left the religion of Allah(SWT).

            Comment


              #7
              unfortunately...people who died before said exactly the same thing....

              Only thing that is common between all these dead is their assumption that they don't have to change.

              As they say in India.."change is the only thing that won't change"

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Any thoughts?

                The Decline of Islam Blamed on the Lack of Ideas

                In the Name of Allah - The Master of the Universe. Verily All Good is from Allah (SWT) and All Evil is from Allah (SWT) if any good befalls us it is a result Allah's Mercy and any bad as a result of our own bad choices.

                After reading the title of the above article, I have very quickly surmised that the article is not written from an Islamic traditionalist perspective. I say this for a number of reasons, the title for example states, “The Decline of Islam”, which is a term likely to be adopted by apologetics submerged in but at the same time very abstract from Islam - a sympathetic orientalist whose values are nested in things of apparent nature.

                However, the word ‘blamed’ seems a touch brash as with the statement “lack of ideas”. What first needs to be ratified is whether Islam has declined at all. But this conversation may get buried in semantics. To this end I will assume the intent was that the article means to say that the Decline of Muslim affluence and fire power is blamed on the lack of ideas. Reason being that the numbers of people becoming Muslim does not suggest a decline in Islam at all, however, if there is a preconceived notion that Muslims aught to be the ones in power ruling the world like once upon time we were, only then can such a context be assumed to be correct.

                Reading from the article:

                Human existence has always been dependent on the power of ideas. It was our capacity for ideas that allowed us to take over this planet from other beasts far more powerful than us. It is safe to say that in the very beginning of human life, the fact that ideas are more powerful than power itself was established. The impact of ideas can be felt in three different ways; one, ideas can transform our understanding of life and through that transform the very conditions of our existence (Iman). Two, ideas can transform our conception of ourselves and begin a new reconstruction of the self (Tazkiyyah Annafs). Three, ideas can alter the balance of power between communities and lead to freedom from slavery and oppression (Islah).

                So far I have nothing that I can argue with from the above paragraph. All three benefits of ideas however are emphasising the inner condition. It is a commonly recognised perspective in Islam that Iman is greater than military might, so if ‘power of ideas’ is understood in context to the most powerful ideology – i.e. Iman, then traditional thought is so far compatible with this statement.

                But we must remember that all ideas have an expiry date. Once ideas become stale, they lose their emancipatory capacity and become oppressive. Ideas that once liberated and transformed a society, if allowed to become dogma, will cause stagnation and decline of that society. The same idea can liberate and imprison the individual/collective mind as well. The key to utilizing the power of ideas is to ensure that the human will is always in charge and never subordinated to any old idea.

                This is a direct assertion and can easily be combated with the bases of ideas from an Islamic perspective. An idea having a shelf life is one thing, but saying that all ideas are just as perishable is quite another. It must be confirmed that some ideas are longer lasting than others and some ideas are for all intents and purposes not defunct but rather become displaced by others not because they are better but rather because they are new. The use function of an idea can become a redundant feature in the face of novelty. Also, an idea is as useful as it integrates with the sea of ideas that network with one another. Trends in fashion are often dictated by complimentary trends in ethical disposition, for example. The assumption being made in the article is that all ideas are subject to displacement. And if they are not displaced then they will cause a net decay in the outlook of those who purport those ideas. There is some evidence available that could suggest that. However, is that evidence fair? Has it evaluated all of the factors that affect ideas? Can a good idea, ever become a bad one whilst the conditions of the environment have remained unchanged? Of course in a society where there are good people a bad idea will be bad, but if that society moves away from goodness to one that is not, then that bad idea may become a ‘good’ one to have. Ideas especially those grounded in religion cannot be isolated from those core values that we have obtained from the height of humanity, which was in the 7th Century.
                A new idea is an innovation - what was once a bad concept in itself has now become a good one. It is not to say all new ideas are inherently bad, but the danger is that if new ideas are not evaluated for their greater spiritual use then a new idea may find its way to compromising the collective harmony of good ideas.

                So the article continues with an assertion that humans need to be in charge of ideas, this statement is in itself not untrue. However, the underlying message is that one can only be in charge of their ideas if they subject them to modification on a regular or continuous basis. It is this undertone that is erroneous. We should indeed be commanding a greater consciousness towards the workings of the mind and how opinions form but at the same time we need to set anchors in place for those ideas that are ageless and correlate, which are ideas of consensus precipitating from those ideas of our core beliefs, they are still in our command, yet we place them over us being subjugated by them.

                Ideas are meanings and without them, nothing is meaningful. All individuals and civilizations have an idea of the self and an idea of the big picture. These constitutive ideas are essential not only for the existence but the continued growth of the self. If we allow foundational ideas to stagnate, then we will lose our vitality and our strength.

                Ideas have meaning, but then what meaning does the term “foundational ideas to stagnate” have? Since when has a foundation not been fixed in place? Foundations are anchor stones that stop the over arching superstructures from moving. Moving our foundational ideas is like moving the goal posts in a football game. It is like changing the rules during a match in a game of cricket. The only vitality and strength we will be able to muster will be inevitably spent on trying to reconcile the change. We need to benchmark, just like we need the stars, where the ones that move the least are the most useful for navigation. The stars guide us; guidance is received from what is permanent. Vitality and strength can be optimised by providing an end goal and an arduous path towards it with all other options closed. Sun-Tzu said, something to the effect of “do not give your soldiers too many luxuries for they will become lazy and arrogant”. This message can be used for both good and bad ends.

                This is what, I believe, has happened to the Islamic Ummah. Our genesis, our phenomenal and explosive growth and all our past glory, was the sole statement of a divine idea - Islam. The idea of Islam transformed our vision of ourselves, gave us a new meaning of life itself, and as it unfolded, gave birth to one of the most glorious periods in human history.

                Okay, with that said …

                There are basically two types of ideas -- pure ideas and contingent ideas. Pure ideas are solely the province of the supreme divine being, Allah, and in that sense the unfolding of creation is a continuous flow of ideas from the divine fountainhead. Human beings are only capable of producing contingent ideas. Contingent ideas are nothing but the outcome of the human processing of pure ideas. Pure ideas confront us in the form of revealed texts, material creation itself and as insights garnered through connections with the divine.

                Though terminology is much to be desired here the overall concept here is workable.

                The glory of the Islamic civilization emerged as a consequence of the enormous flow of contingent ideas from Muslim thinkers processing the pure idea of Islam. It led to the emergence of several streams of ideas (discourses) fiqh (Islamic legal thought), Falsafa (philosophy), adab (moral science), tasawwuf (spirituality), and Kalam (metaphysics). Islamic science that included mathematics, physics, geology, chemistry, astronomy, anthropology, sociology and historiography developed as the handmaiden of Islamic philosophy.

                These streams of contingent ideas continued to flow and enrich not only the Islamic World but also the entire human civilization. Every new stream of ideas added a newer, deeper and richer dimension to the Islamic world. In its time it manifested the zenith of human achievements in both corporeal as well as spiritual sense. This great epoch in human history was essentially the outcome of the human mind processing the pure idea of Islam.


                The second of these two paragraphs contains more errors. The yardstick used to measure greatness of nations used by the people of ‘apparent’ nature is different from those who measure greatness by what is ‘hidden’. Islam was perfected during the last few days of the life of Muhammad (SAW). Thereafter the Ummah fell on to borrowed time. The main reasons why Islam has maintained its potency is because of the fact that scriptures have not changed. Those of the sayings that were subject to creeping errors were documented and rigorously classified to maintain an authenticity of narrative. To the observer Islam was far greater after a few centuries from the death of Muhammad (SAW) because Muslims commanded overlord status in the world, art and culture were flowing from the veins of Muslims, but from within Muslims were already dieing spiritually.


                Today, the Islamic Ummah is in disarray. It has not only lost its past glory, but has also lost the capacity to comprehend the virtues and the causes of its past glory. It is in decline and unable to defend or take care of itself. After nearly 100 years of Islamic revivalism in the Sunni world, the best we have to show is the Taliban in Afghanistan. Let us hope that like Iran, Afghanistan too will turn towards moderation and freedom.

                The quality of this paragraph is not like the rest of the article. It wreaks opinion and seeps biases from the initially scholarly stance taken by the author. It is a truth the Ummah i.e. the Muslims have not got the same ‘glory’ that we once had. However, this glory is neither a means nor a method to demonstrate the success of Islam. Rather how we respond to such situations are methods to better our predicament. Do we respond by keeling to the pressures of the capitalistic states? Or do we do something else? Is moderation the answer? Are we ever really free in this world? These questions beg for answers. Power and glory can befall a nation to test them for their fairness, and poverty and humiliation will befall a people if they become loving of this world and selfish. Muslims can lose battles and win battles as we did in the early years, but when we lost battles; did it mean we were wrong? I sincerely advise reading up the story of the Boy and the King. On a worldly basis the believers lost, but according to the heavenly criterion they won.


                I believe the singular reason for this state of affairs is the transformation of a people from processors of ideas to recyclers of ideas. On the moral and spiritual front we are trying to recycle the ideas of our forefathers and on the material front we are just consumers of Western ideas.

                We can see the author of this article is trying to find a way out and has probably undertaken some work to arrive at the conclusion that inactivity to progress with the times has led to the power buck to pass from the Muslims to the West. I would argue that the moment Muslims let ‘the times progress’ to a state that they could not control we had already lost the buck. Power according to the Divine idea is instated by God to whomsoever He Wills. Perhaps I just understand this statement with my contingent mindset. Also, we are told in hadith that Muslims will be humiliated in times verging the Day of Judgement. The reason told therein was not because we would become ineffective at thinking up new ideas, rather it was because we would become lustful of the wealth of this world and fearful of death. This concept so aptly corresponds with the statement made by Sun-Tzu it is amazing that we as an Ummah cannot work with those ‘ideas’ and renew them in our actions, rather than think up new ideas to justify our current actions.

                Muslims, thanks to their obsessions with contingent ideas like the fiqh literature, have become estranged from the pure idea of Islam, and have also been deprived of their capacity to generate contingent ideas more meaningful to their times. It is this alienation from the creative process of idea generation that has stripped the Islamic civilization of its vitality and its brilliance leaving behind an embittered, insecure and clueless Ummah.

                This is a remarkable paragraph again one that I have difficulty in faulting. It is true that some Muslims have become too absorbed in fiqh of yore, we have also become deprived from generating contingent ideas from The Book. However, I blame our materialistic lifestyles just as much as our over zealous ones.


                The sooner we realize the absence of ideas and encourage, freedom of thought, creativity, and intellectual self-determination, the sooner will we recover some semblance of our past glory and fulfill our God given mandate of universal moral leadership.

                Glory is neither a gift nor a punishment it is a condition that befalls us. The final statement is in my view a sham. In fact I’m not so sure that with our current irreligious mindsets ‘glory’ is the right thing for us. For with all that glory we will be sure to begin spewing out a lot of arrogance and tyranny. Perhaps in our current mindset humiliation is better for us, because at least then we may have a chance to enter Jannah. Perhaps I’m not very good at structuring contingent ideas … Allahu’alim.
                The Prophet(SAW) said:
                "I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them -- they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Reported by Al- Haakim - Sahih].

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Any thoughts?

                  Peace psyah, good analysis.
                  To repeat what others have said, requires education, to challenge it, requires brains.
                  - Mary Pettibone Poole

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Any thoughts?

                    People these days ...are dumb!
                    Its bigger on the inside!!

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X