By: Sultan ul Arifeen
In the retrospect of the unfolding of events in the past couple of weeks, the image of Islamic radicalism and fundamentalism has been fortified by the stern resistance against the construction of a temple in the Capital of Pakistan, and later by the reversion of the famous Hagia Sofia to the status of a mosque. It is indefinite, how these incidents might subsidy the domestic sociopolitical situation in the respective countries. However, they definitely have coagulated the western objectification of Islam being an antediluvian religion and that its practices are not applicable in mainstream society.
The actions, no matter, how they are celebrated, contradict from the Islamic practices of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He signed the Ashtiname of Muhammad, which not only granted equal rights to the Christians of Saint Catherine’s Monastery, but also provided them protection. The document, bearing a hand impression of Prophet (SAW), is still hanging on a wall of Saint Catherine’s Monastery. This precedence was followed by the second Caliph of Muslims, Umer ibn e Khattab (RA). On his conquest of Jerusalem, he travelled all the way to the city. At his arrival, Patriarch Sophronius asked Caliph Umer (RA) to offer prayer in the Holy Sepulcher. However, he declined his proposition saying that his followers would turn that sanctuary in to a mosque after his return.
The aforementioned events, however, matter least to the bulk of our population. For generations, we have been raised with the hymns of the arrival of a messiah, who would realize the prophecy of an ultimate Islamic rule around the globe. Growing up with these ideologues of territorial conquest and declaring the entire Non-Muslim world in Dar ul Harb, our ancestors have done zilch for the cooperation with other ethnic groups. Especially, with the rise of Syed Qutb, Maulana Maududi and Imam Khomeini, their followers have objectified the Westphalian system of nation state to be false and deceptive. Furthermore, they have emphasized on the unity of entire Muslim Ummah and to bring a new world order around the globe. This hard headed philosophy, radicalized a large of portion of Muslims in to spurning the current world order. It is the result of strict application of these viewpoints that have turned our masses in to hypocrisy. Hindu Supremacy and its destructions of Babri Mosque to build a temple at Ayodha is an injustice- which in its entirety is. But reversion of biggest Christian temple of its time to the status of mosque is an achievement. Moreover, the destruction of the foundation of a Hindu temple in Islamabad and praying in its premises is an act of eternal reward.
In the light of this rabid subversiveness, it matters not to the world what Islamic practices were like, in Prophet’s (SAW) time or what precedence was set by Rashidun. They judge the activities of Muslim community on their present day dealings. Western orientalist dogmas of the 15th century prove their claims to stand true with every such action bigotry and passiveness. According to the YouGov polls’ reports of 2019, fifty per cent US citizens consider Islam to be deviant from mainstream society, while fifty one per cent believe that Muslim practices are anomalous. This led to the deterioration of average Muslim’s life in west. Pew survey of 2017 reported seventy five per cent of Muslims in Americas face discrimination.
Thereby, under the dark clouds of razing Islamic values, a modernized pattern is required to recalibrate the Islamic practices as per contemporary world. With changing times, changes the sociopolitical stratums of the society. Following the radicalized patterns of outright bigotry which separates Muslims from the mainstream society have no application in a civic society. Owing to this necessity, Muslim scholars like Jamal-u-Din Afghani and Dr. Muhammad Iqbal both emphasized that Islamic ideals need reconstruction. They advocated the application of Ijtihad for Islam to adjust itself to the modern ethos. Not only have them, Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan and Shah Waliullah too emphasized on the need of reforming Islamic values. The first step towards the modernization, however, would be to be self-sufficient in understanding the Holy Scripture.
Islam being a modern religion does hold the elements of pluralism and inclusion. It does not impose its teaching on anyone, rather asserts to develop the habit of reasoning. Muslims of today, need to unlink themselves from the extremist philosophies and try to construct an aura of tolerance with the people of other faiths, rather than treating them as their subordinates. This would not only, raise the Islamic banner in the world but also help in rebuilding their lost status.
The writer is student of political science. He can be reached at [email protected]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Dayspring’s editorial stance.