It is time for a Serious Muslim Introspection


First I quote an article by Aijaz Zaka Syed:

What’s Wrong With Us? Time For Serious Muslim Introspection
By Aijaz Zaka Syed

(1) Why is the Muslim world burning?

(2) What explains this turmoil everywhere?

(3) We have long blamed the West for this mess.

(4) Perhaps it’s time we looked at our own role in contributing to this state of affairs.

Watching the latest fun and games in Iraq and the fine mess that the empire has made of the fabled Mesopotamia is both edifying and sobering. This is where it all began: Civilization, society, culture, art and perhaps life itself. The home of Euphrates and Tigris, the cradle of civilization.

This is the land of Dar Al Hikma, the house of wisdom from where the light of knowledge shone across the world and saw the Muslim civilization touch the pinnacle of its glory.

This is where the magical world of the thousand and one nights came alive and Scheherazade spawned myriad fantastic tales. This is where scholars like Imam Abu Hanifa taught tens of thousands of seekers of knowledge who came from far corners of the known world.

This is where Imam Hussain, the great martyred grandson of the Prophet, lies buried. He went down, with the rest of his family in Karbala, valiantly fighting in what is known as the ultimate epic battle between the good and evil.

It remains the most tragic event in Islamic history and – that of the world – as it saw the Prophet’s grandson and almost the entire family martyred at the hands of his followers. And it wouldn’t be the first or the last time that Iraq would see the bloodletting of Muslims at the hands of fellow believers.

Iraq is witnessing another epic battle today, perhaps to end all battles, as they always claim.

Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani last week called for a jihad to fight the marching hordes of ISIS fighters. It is a battle between the good and evil, insisted his spokesperson during the Friday sermon.

In response, tens of thousands of Shia men, young and old, are rushing to enroll themselves, many of them from neighboring countries and even doctors and professionals living and working in Western climes, in what they see as the ‘holy war.’

Given the sharp, sectarian battle-lines already drawn across the Middle East, we may be in for an Armageddon, a free-for-all war that threatens to consume the whole of Islamic world.

(5) Is this indeed a battle between the good and evil though?

(6) Who is right and who is wrong?  

(7) There are no easy, simple answers.

(8) What I see is a fratricide, a battle between brothers.

(9) What I see is the red tide of Muslim blood drowning and overwhelming the borders of the Middle East.

And whoever wins in this war, in the end it is the so-called Ummah and all that it stands for which will be the loser. It already seems to have lost. You will have to experience the sweetness and light that the Sunnis and Shias have been spreading against each other in social media and from the pulpit to know what I mean.

In response to my piece about Iraq last week, I received scores of mails from both sides of the divide. All of them accusing me of taking the other’s side while listing the historical crimes the other side apparently visited on their community. I didn’t know we were capable of such unadulterated hatred and spite against our own!

I wonder if they follow the same faith, the same Book and the same Prophet? How did we end up here? Of course, much of this mess in Iraq – comedian Jon Stewart rightly calls it Mess-o-potamia – and extended neighborhood is a legacy of the empire.

The role our Israeli and Zionist friends have played in the US invasion of Iraq is also well known and documented. Indeed, their shenanigans aren’t confined to Iraq. The whole of the Middle East remains the target.

The object is not just an all-powerful Greater Israel, from the river to the sea. The plan envisions and necessitates the dismemberment and dispossession of the whole neighborhood. This is what the Zionists and Christian extremists have long dreamed of and have been working towards it–silently and dispassionately.

I am not a sucker for conspiracy theories.

(10) But this growing Shia-Sunni fratricide from Arabia to Central Asia fits in nicely with the plot. And those who promote and fuel sectarian hatred and call for arms against each other, in the name of Sunni or Shia Islam, are deliberately or otherwise advancing the designs and agenda of those who see Islam as the last stumbling block in the way to their total global hegemony.

And these so-called champions of faith, these spurious scholars issuing edicts declaring each other apostate and justifying the killing of innocent Muslims have proved themselves far more dangerous and harmful than our open enemies. For they sit in our midst to undermine us from within.

(11) You cannot go on blaming the West and Israel for all our woes. In this respect, our own incredible talents haven’t exactly been found wanting–from perpetually plotting against each other to abusing power by our elites.

(12) Despite all the resources including oil which is the lifeblood of global economy being at their disposal all these years, if Muslim countries remain so far behind the rest of the world on every front, who is to blame?

Look at the farce that has been going on in the name of democracy and justice in the neighborhood. Those who dared to bring about the change by way of democracy and through peaceful means find themselves behind the bars. The messenger is shot down with the message.

And those who lectured us ad infinitum about democracy, freedom and free speech look the other way as these very ideals are trampled upon with an audacity that is breathtaking. If Orwell had lived long enough he would have to invent a new language and grammar to make sense of the state of affairs prevailing today.

(13) Is it any wonder then the groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Taliban are increasingly winning? When the voices of reason, sanity and peace are suppressed, when people are denied their legitimate aspirations and are deprived of their basic human dignity, extremism wins.

This is what is happening across the region, from the edge of Africa to Arab Maghreb and Iraq and Syria (western commentators have started calling it ‘Syraq’!) to Pakistan and Afghanistan and beyond.

(14) For far too long, Muslim intellectuals and governments have urged–and rightly of course—the Western powers to look at the roots of this conflict to understand the phenomenon of extremism and violence in the region and around the world. Perhaps, it is about time we pose the same question to ourselves.

(15) What has been our own—both individual and collective—role in contributing to this state of all-round chaos and corruption? Surely, we wouldn’t have come this far entirely without some of our own efforts and double standards helping it.

***(16) Why the Middle East remains stuck in a time warp and with absolutism, oppression and corruption in the 21st century when the rest of the world has moved on is something that all of us–especially our elites, intellectuals and politicians–need to ask ourselves.

(17) This is certainly not something that our faith gifted us. It came to liberate us. Those who truly embraced it transformed the world. It is who have invented all these chains and bonds to enslave ourselves. It is we who chose to remain unfree and prisoners of monsters of our own creation. Perhaps, it is about time we faced our demons.

Urdu version of this article appeared in daily Inquilab 28 June 2014 and English on Caravan Daily

Aijaz Zaka Syed has asked the right questions in his introspection but he has been blinded to the causes of Islam’s backwardness and has not suggested the solution for it.
But it is time that the Muslim world begins to examine the reasons for their frustrations and their inability to overcome their handicap. But they have to be honest and critical about their assessments.
To me, a non-Muslim, the answers are obvious. But to a pious Muslim he is blind to his predicament because it is too close to home. Until Islam is prepared to be honest and critical about their introspection, they will never get out of the mire.


(1) Why is the Muslim world burning? (3) We have long blamed the West for this mess. (4) Perhaps it’s time we looked at our own role in contributing to this state of affairs.

All of Islam have never been able to any responsibilities for their own actions, but have always passed the blame on to others, the infidels. Take the following:

Almost 7,000 “Islamophobic” tweets were sent, in English, every day in July worldwide, data seen by the BBC suggests.

This compared to 2,500 in April, with peaks recorded following the Nice lorry attack and the attempted military coup in Turkey.

Forty-nine words and hashtags were used as indicators of anti-Islamic tweets, by the think tank Demos.

Twitter said it is “continuing to invest heavily” in tools to prevent abuse.

Demos analysed tweets recorded between March and July, and judged there to be 215,247 tweets – sent in English – that were “highly likely” to be anti-Islamic, derogatory or hateful.

The vast majority of tweets that could be located to Europe came from the United Kingdom, with other concentrations in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

The highest number of “Islamophobic” tweets to be sent in one day, 21,190, came on 15 July – the day after a man ploughed a lorry into crowds on the seafront in Nice, killing 85 people. Jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed one of its followers carried out the attack.

Ruqaiya Haris, 23, is a student in London who – as a published writer – is active on Twitter.

She has received tweets that tell her Muslims have “had enough time here”, are “not integrated enough” and are “threatening our way of life”.

She said she “always” receives a greater volume of messages following attacks such as the one in Nice.

“It doesn’t really matter what I say, or what I’m writing about, or what I’m posting about. (A1) The responses after some kind of terrorist attack will always be slating Islam in some kind of way – or insulting Islam, or insulting me, or insulting my hijab.

“Even if I’m talking about something totally unrelated. Even if I’m sending condolences to the victims.”

Deeyan Khan is the founder of Sister-hood, an online magazine showcasing female Muslim writers.

She believes frank conversations need to be had so people feel less need to be abusive online.

“Every time a terrorist attack happens, we don’t need to get a bland press release from the mosque around the corner saying we condemn it,” she said, “that’s not what people want to see.”

(A2) Ms Khan also believes that shutting down abuse is not the answer, and instead advocates a focus on educating people about what she sees as the hidden issues.

“I think what people don’t know in the West is that the first targets [of extremist attacks] are other Muslims. Muslims have been suffering at the hands of these barbaric groups for decades.

“Many of us have faced persecution, violence, imprisonment because we have taken on extremists – but that’s not the story that you’re often told.”

A spokesperson from Twitter said: “Our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.

“We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders.”

ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are persistent and influential because it is Islamic in its ideologies. There is nothing in the principals or ideology that contradicts a single teaching of the Quran, hence it does not violate Islam but is the flagship of Islam. That is why it has appeal to so many Muslims throughout the world including Muslims who live in Britain, Europe and America. Hence, to demonise such organisations is in reality demonising Islam.

(14) For far too long, Muslim intellectuals and governments have urged–and rightly of course—the Western powers to look at the roots of this conflict to understand the phenomenon of extremism and violence in the region and around the world. Perhaps, it is about time we pose the same question to ourselves.

It certain is time the Muslim intelligentsia took  a serious look at the origins and roots of Islam without hiding their heads in the sand about it true authenticity or historicity. If Islamic scholars would be honest they will discover the mythological roots of all the Abrahamic faiths and thus realise that their total faith has been build on the sands of mythology. That all the strive and killings have been based on total mythology.

[2749 words]

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