If we are to discuss the problems and issues faced by the Muslim Ummah today, we shall see that many of them are related to personal lives. Collectively this is what can be observed and this is becoming the leading cause to a social decline in Muslim societies. The need of the hour is for everyone to self-introspect and rectify. At a state level, the leaders need to fulfill their responsibilities and roles assigned to them. This article is an attempt to highlight those areas which are leading to our destruction and decadence as an ummah (nation).
When the people, especially the leaders, both individually as well as collectively begin to worry about self-analysis, weaknesses, responsibilities and how to rectify them, automatically there will be positive results that will be observed, In Sha’Allah.
Complete Iman, Righteous Deeds, Fear of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) and the Worry for Akhirah
Our beloved Prophet ﷺ reformed the society and raised a foundation for the Sahabas (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) as examples for all. This reform was of a nation who were deep in the depths of ignorance and misguidance. Murder and robbery were the norm. The society was so engrossed in the wrong that no one wanted to be their leader. Our beloved Prophet ﷺ completely reformed these people to perfect their faith, lead them to righteous deeds and the fear of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ). He instilled in them the worry for Akhirah. The entire society and its mindset changed. The very same people who were involved in looting and murder became leaders. Their society became an example of what was to be followed. They became successful against strong international forces such as Qaiser and Kisra.
Whether it be our leaders or the nation, whether we speak of individuals or community as a whole, discipline is the power. The effectiveness of sound character along with the fear of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) is the key to success. This is the sustenance that is essential. We are deprived of these basics individually as well as a nation. The most important areas that need to be addressed are that we are far from sincerity, weakened in terms of righteous deeds and exemplary character, free from the worry of accountability and heedless of the life after death which is to follow. All of these are the very foundation, if not strengthened with iman (faith), we cannot expect our building to be dependable.
The Disease of Weakness:
The Muslim Ummah today is surrounded by the whirlpool of injustice. Muslims are being massacred everywhere. Every dawn brings a greater number of chaos and problems. Enemies are attacking the Muslims in all aspects and are bloodthirsty to eradicate the entire Muslim nation from the face of this earth. Our beloved Prophet ﷺ not only warned us of this degeneration but also gave us the reasons for this decline. In a hadith we learn that when a nation is inflicted with a disease of “weakness,” and here ‘weakness’ is referred to the love of duniya (this world) and the dislike of death, then such problems shall arise. This is the time when a strengthened belief, righteous deeds, fear of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) and the worry for the Hearafter is the need of the hour. Additionally, there is a need for us to look at the lack of collective discipline within us. We have to eradicate the love of duniya and the dislike for death as they are the foundation of all evil. Fear of death becomes a reason for a weak heart and enslavement. Once we overcome this, then we will be able to come out many vices, In Sha’Allah.
Preaching Unity and Consensus
At this time, the Muslim nations face many issues due to the lack of unity and consensus. There have formed many a groups and factions based on various beliefs, geographical locations as well as cultural variances leading to hatred and enmity. The slogan of “divide and rule” has caused split in the Muslim Ummah and many walls have been erected amongst us Muslims. The link that bonded the Muslims together has been broken. We have left the teachings of the Prophet ﷺ which has led us astray and this divide. The split into factions, prejudice and extremism has taken face which is leading to a non-ending war and corruption. If the entire Muslim Ummah comes together with unity and the end to such divides, there is no reason for problems to continue to evade us. Imagine how the world consisting of the many Muslim nations will change if it can come together as one force by holding on the rope of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) with the prescribed instruction.
Today if the European Union exists with blocks of the European countries alleged together under a single umbrella, why cannot the Muslim nations do the same? If we continue with the divergence, problems will continue to rise.
Lack of Education
One of the main issues faced by the Muslim nations is the lack of education. Individuals as well as the society is to be held responsible for the lack of this. The government is also to carry this burden of responsibility. Ironically, this is the Muslim nation upon which the first commandment to be sent through the form of revelation was “iqra,” – read. This is the nation upon which the Prophet ﷺ was sent with the supplication:
رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
O Allah, increase me in my knowledge
This is the very nation, the identity of which is education. What a shame it is if such a nation is left behind in the race of knowledge and education.
Where the leaders are to be blamed for being negligent to provide the infrastructure for high quality education through setting an appropriate budget, the individuals are also heedless of wanting to work hard to excel in any field whether it be technology or innovation. Whether it is the field of medicine, engineering or science, we love to speak highly of the developments. Do we ever stop to think that why are Muslims no longer leaders in these fields of excellence? Why are Muslims dependent on others? Why is there a lack of literacy in the Islamic world today? Why aren’t the prestigious universities and observatories in Islamic regions?
This definitely is a time to stop and reflect. There is a dire need for us to speculate and derive some concrete conclusions leading to action plans, otherwise the future of the Muslim Ummah will continue to look darker than ever before.
Indolence, Sedentary Lifestyle and a Laid Back Attitude
Our indolence is one of the prime reasons for the problems at hand. This laid back attitude is both at the individual level as well as the collective level. We prefer laziness over constructive plans and a comfortable lifestyle allowing to stay in our comfort-zones rather than “go out there and achieve” attitude. Our leaders are enjoying their royal way of life along with the heads of state. The Muslim youth do not want to work hard and are happy with being sedentary. They have left the spears and arrows and found their passion in music and suchlike. All of the above has lead to the decline of the Muslim nations as a whole. We have become almost a laughing stock in front of the world. The poison of obscenity and lewdness has encompassed our generations. Wasteful and unnecessary activities and discussions have left us nowhere.
Those people who are empty of the wealth of knowledge and iman are not promised the help of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ). Only when people will adopt a path with a concrete direction and focus to pleasing Him, will they find success. Yet, we are deprived of this because of our own choices. We must understand and recognize this major problem and work towards trying to become more goal-oriented and productive to please Him.
Waste of Resources and Over-spending:
Not only do we waste human resource, but we also waste natural resources. Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has blessed the Muslim nations with a variety of resources such as gold. We have minerals in abundance. Whether we look at it with respect to agriculture, mineral or seasonal produce, the Muslim nations have an overflowing wealth of resources. Yet, we are not able to plan the efficient use of these blessings.
The enemies have taken out oil from the Muslim countries. The contracts for gold extraction in Reko Diq has been given to others and negotiated at a lesser value than what they are actually worth. We do not have ability to build dams on our own rivers. The command of preparing against the enemy was given to us through these words of the Qur’an:
وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ
And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war…
We are even unable to look after our own necessary resources, lest prepare against enemies!
Moreover, the waste of resources and over-spending has made us brothers to Shayateen. As it is stated in the Qur’an:
إِنَّ الْمُبَذِّرِينَ كَانُوا إِخْوَانَ الشَّيَاطِينِ
Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the Shayateen
Our wealthiest of people are loaded with gold which is greatly manifested through ceremonies and clothing in celebrations of weddings. We are drowned under the love of material wealth and spending excessively on food to utilities as compared to an ordinary man who is unable to afford even one meal for the day. We are so occupied in spending, it is unbelievable! This is a weakness and we need to change.
Let’s adopt the way of Yousuf (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) who was wise enough to teach us how to pace the spending through a mediocre way of managing the resources when he did the same for Egypt. He intelligently managed the resources for an entire nation and spread it out in to save the people of famine and provide relief. He was able to do this by adopting three (3) means. What were they?
- Moderate Spending
And the nation was saved from a decline that would have finished it all.
Corruption and Wrong Intention:
Corruption and ill will is one of the major underlying issue. This is found at all levels of the Mulim societies. The Prophet ﷺ predicted this for the very same reason. In a hadith we learn, the gist of which is that close to the end of times, sincerity will be lifted. People will say there is one man who is sincere and trustworthy. This implies the scarcity of both trustworthiness as well as sincerity close to the end of times. We see this happening today.
Today, if our judicial systems, societies, countries, organizations and each individual becomes free of the curse of corruption and adopts sincerity, the Muslim world will take a new order.
Injustice and Unfairness:
There is a famous saying of Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ): “Societies can exist with kufr but not with injustice.” Today, in the Muslim countries, injustice has taken many forms. We witness the injustice of other nations upon the Muslim Ummah, but we also witness this at the position of the one in authority. The one in authority assumes power and oppresses the one below whether it be with wealth, power, status or ranks. Justice is not being served and even the concept of justice seems to be dwindling at all levels. Unless, we create a foundation of justice, our problems will not only remain unresolved, but will also grow exponentially.
Another prime reason for the issues faced by Muslim Ummah is the feeling of being inferior as compared to the rest of the world. This feeling of being lowly than others causes us to become in awe of other religions as well as nations. We become slaves to their way of life and ideologies. Unable to set our own boundaries and practice our own ways, we have allowed foreign cultures and religions to take over our very set ways of Islam. Unless we become confident that our religion provides a wonderful system of life, we will be unable to move on with grace and honor. We have only to blame ourselves, here.
Differences in Status
The concept of bureaucracy is another cause of the decline of the Muslim Ummah. Today we are engrossed in the pride of our lineage, of our status, of our wealth causing a rift in the hearts and minds of people. The tribal system has taken over us and even the most educated ones fall prey to this delusion that they are “above all” and have a sense of false entitlement.
Each area has taken the authority to practice its own law with regards to reward and punishment, leaving behind the Shariah. The Prophet ﷺ has warned us of such differences and told us clearly that this became the reason for the destruction of previous nations. We are strictly told to stay away from this vice.
Influence of the West
Sadly, today those who call themselves reformers or carry projects of philanthropy are under the influence and following of the West. The reformers are not aware of the following of Islam, rather are guiding people to the ways and thoughts of the Non-Muslims. This is taking us away from the basic teaching of character building, obedience as well as our roles as defined by the Creator.
The media, today, plays a very important role in this negative propagation and changing of mindset in the Muslim nations especially the youth. The youth are being told that whatever practice of Islam has been prescribed is backward and not for this time. There is a better way out there which needs to be adopted. Hence, Islam needs to be reformed under the current times. It is evident that the role media plays internationally is that of to demean Islam. It propagates obscenity and impermissible acts making it acceptable.
Our main problem as Muslim nations is that we do not condemn such people who are out to change the Islamic culture under the name of “growth” and “liberation.” We have handed over all platforms to such people and stepped back. As Muslim communities, we all need to step up, create our own way so the nations can be given a correct and true perspective of what ideologies Islam really is based upon.
Inability To Self-Reform
Another area which deeply requires our attention is that we do not wish to self-introspect but continue on to rectify others. The general public speaks out against leaders. Those in position, in return, bad mouth the public. It is a vicious cycle. We need to set our priorities and focus on ourselves rather than trying to please international nations. Leaders are required to become mindful and sensitive towards the needs of their people. Let’s leave aside the “blame-game” which is not only found with regards to the general public and leaders but is also very much a part of the Muslim culture as a while. We do not mean what we say and this is a very big vice. Instead of adopting the culture of pointing fingers at the other, let us all look deep within and change ourselves. All the areas that have been highlighted above require a rectification at the level of the self as well as Muslim nations as a whole. Only then can we imagine Muslims to unite and become one body. For this, we all need to work towards betterment with sincerity and effort. We need to go ahead and invest our wealth for the Muslim nation to become what was dreamed of with the advent of Islam. May Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) give us the ability for these changes and have mercy upon us. (Aameen)