We must renew ourselves from within to change perceptions of Islam. This is the concluding part of yesterday’s long form
Islam, compared to the other Abrahamic or major religions, is a very young religion. Today, it is passing a critical period in its life cycle, which probably all other religions have already passed through. Christianity passed it in the medieval period. They had episodes like puritan movements, witch-hunting, and numerous wars to establish the respective brand of Christianity by the kingdoms.
There have been intrigues and conflicts of power between the church and the palace. Christians led crusades to establish the Kingdom of Heaven that took away the lives of hundreds of millions throughout many centuries. Even prior to that, Hinduism and Buddhism had similar bloody events in the name of religion. The early Buddhists of this region faced unthinkable miseries, persecutions and even a genocides at the hands of the Hindus.
Naturally, Islam being the youngest of all the major religions, is passing through such a phase. But the bad news for the Muslims is that the world has changed and civilisation is no more in a mode to accommodate or tolerate such a medieval state of affairs today!
Those who have the potential or capacity to take over the legitimate leadership are often divided and diverse. They differ in their traditions, schools, ideologies, ethnicities, and so on and so forth. If one says “X” is right, the other one will say no.
If an Arab is selected, the Turks will not accept him. If a Turk, then the Arabs will not accept. If an Indian is selected, probably both the Arabs and the Turks will not follow him.
Then what is the way out? Such differences or disagreements might get very dirty at times. There are instances where people from different schools or camps have declared their counterpart as infidels or apostates and things ended in bloodshed.
When basic issues of religion are taken to be the guiding factors for politics, things can really get bloody. In situations like this, only one party can be “right,” the rest are all supposed to be incorrect. But who will decide that?
Till date, no such institution in Islam has such authority. And the result is that there is no one who can unanimously speak for the community or the Ummah.
I think, rather than looking for suitable answers for the questions and allegations that Islam promotes terrorism, raised by the Westerners, Muslims must introspect. It’s not about being apologetic, as many hesitate to take any responsibility after a terror attack by so-called “Mulsim/Islamic terrorists.” Whenever an attack of such nature takes place, we see some militant group, claiming themselves to be the followers of Islam, claim responsibility.
They often justify their heinous act with the pretext of their religious responsibility, here comes the responsibility of a Muslim. As long as the attackers affiliate themselves with Islam, Muslims as a community or religious entity are not free from the collective responsibility of the act; whether they support it or not. The only way out is public and legitimate denouncement of the act and excommunication of those who perpetrated the violence.
Muslims must strive for renewal from within. Well, many may say, Islam per se is a religion resistive of any sort of reform or change. Fundamentalism in its concept, protected and impregnable divinity in its faith, has made it impossible to bring about any change in the affairs of this religion. However, this is the order of the day.
A radical change in the perceptions and interpretation of the religion is a must to keep it from turning into a monolith, devoid of the appeals of the day. This reform has to be in the path of enlightenment and moderation, through education and excellence, for knowledge and spirituality.
It can be somehow deduced that such extremist outfits have quite strong connections and backings from global super powers. But such a deduction does not help us deal with such crises. Hundreds and millions are ready in the queue to join Jihad in the Muslim world. These volunteers are ready to sacrifice their lives or take others’ lives.
So, just putting the onus on the conspiracy theory doesn’t actually help us clear the acquisitions made against us. Rise of extremism, the Western conspiracy to destabilise the countries through them, and the Western war to quell the militants — this is a labyrinth that can’t be solved; it has to be crumbled.
We have got to take the responsibility and speak up for ourselves; reform or renewal, whatever may suit the policy, scholars and leaders from the community must take on programs.
The romanticism of Jihad and the Pan-Islamic Caliphate must be addressed pragmatically.
The whole Ummah, after the very initial days of the Islam — the days of the Rashidun Caliphate — was never a single state. It is neither practical nor a possible proposition. Muslims must learn to differ between nations and the Ummah Well, and many may say that Islam is a religion resistive of any sort of reform or change.
But the only way out is through reforms and enlightenment. Muslims must define and decide as to what should be the course of their religion and faith in the 21st century.
They must come out of the delusion of the Judeo-Christian conspiracy theory and set the brand of Islam that shall represent them.
Source: Dhaka Tribune