Why Muslim Mind is Locked Now?

By: Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef*

This is a one-million-dollar question which is direly needs to be answered, and moreover to be thoroughly thought about. Because we see in our glorious past that Muslims produced personalities globally acclaimed, in different fields and various walks of life. For example, take Abu Zakaria Al-razi (Rhazes) an Iranian polymath, physician, alchemist, philosopher, and important figure in the history of medicine and philosophy, cited by all historian of science.  There was Jabir bin Hayyan (Gaber) the father Alkamist recognized on universal scale. There was Abu Musa Alkhwarzmi a greatest figure in mathematics, Algebra etc., the history of science is incomplete without mentioning his name and works.
Muslims gave birth to Alghazali a great theologian, critic of philosophy and a sufi law maker, the world still acclaim him. Ibn Rushd (Averroes) a great polymath, jurist, philosopher, a commentator on Aristotle and critic of Alghazali, followed, who is regarded highly in the west. We produced Ibn Sina (Avicenna) who is probably the most significant philosopher in the Islamic tradition of philosophy, an expert of medicine and philosophy, which is also cited as shaikurrais شيخ الرئيس regarded highly globally.
We did produce Rumi   مولانا روم a great sufi composer of Masnawi a Persian sufi classic and the world celebrates him. Likewise, we may cite the names of Albiruni, Abul Qasim Al-Zahrawi (Albucasis), Ibn Khalduun, the Arab social scientist and greatest expert of historiography, et el the world celebrates them all.

It was the story of our past we feel proud of and still boast it. Yet we find ourselves now in a pathetic situation wherein since several past centuries we are no longer producing great persons acclaimed and celebrated globally. No poet, no scientist, no philosopher, no statesman, no writer of universal acceptance or relevance. Only Iqbal, to an extent, we may hardly name for that matter in twentieth century.

 Yes, there were many great persons; poets, scholars, writers, thinkers in Muslim world yet all were of very limited value and scope.

Muslims constitute more than one fourth of the total world population, so if we are not contributing to world economy, to world science, to world arts and culture to world literature and civilization, it is a serious matter of concern. Why we are so closed mind? Why we are so shrunken in ourselves? Why we are so confined to our comfort zone?

To me, it means that the system of education prevalent in Muslim world and Muslim societies at large has a problem within.

Furthermore ,on international issues, the common issues and problems the whole human being is encountering with, such as environmental issues, human rights abuses, issues of good health care and issues of protection of human dignity and human life and promotion of good education, advancement of science ,technology and scientific temperament ,wherein overall Muslim contribution is very less than expected.

We are not far from the fact ,if we say that unfortunately we Muslims shun science, not only that, but we are justifying this abhorrent and sheer ignorance of ours, citing conspiracy theories, which is so rampant amongst Muslims and unfortunately not amongst our masses only ,but amongst our scholars and intellectual class too.

In the past Muslim culture had been a book culture, a culture of knowledge seeking ,and exploring hidden trousers of civilization, a culture of promotion of knowledge, imparting it to world and making Muslims a giver group not only a receiver nation, as it is the case today.

There are so many causes of overall Muslim decline. One of them may be the down falling political establishment in Muslim heartland. To me a major cause was the increasing influence of Sufiism which strongly has an inclination of antagonism towards book culture. For it believes in intuition, and God inspiration otherwise, Sufiism has highly humane values too, which we have need much in today’s world.

Since two past centuries Muslims in main Muslim lands and even in minority countries are struggling, in vain, for a revival of glorious Muslim past.  A good dream, in deed, highly appreciable dream to me. For, there is no sin in dreaming high, yet it is, deplorably confined to unrealistic reviving an old caliphate system. I think rejuvenating Muslims and revival of Islam should be a knowledge promotion and knowledge invention project instead. Alas! Cohorts of political Islam since a long time have been wrongly investing their energies to win only political power and have a political hegemony around the world.

To conclude, it is apt once more to remind ourselves of a qur’anic lesson which reads: “Then as for the scum, it departs as rubbish, and as for that which benefits mankind, it lasts on the earth; thus, does Allah propound similitudes. (Surah al-Ra’d 17)

*Research Associate with Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India, AMU Aligarh.

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