Paradox of Islamic Civilization

'Man was born free, and is everywhere in chains,' remarked the great French thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78). This is the most famous paradox in his philosophical enterprise constituted by the logic of paradoxes. In my opinion the most important paradox put forth by him is the paradox of civilization. He argues that human civilization made possible a higher stage of living, but it also laid the foundations for the enslavement of men. What he meant by that was, in the state of nature men lived spontaneous, natural, peaceful lives. But such life was boring and uneventful. On the other hand, when men learnt to produce more than their immediate needs, civilization emerged. But the new production techniques necessitated a division of labor, which in turn resulted in some people owning private property while others were driven into slavery or different types of bondage and subservience. Hence the paradox of civilization: that it made possible a higher stage of living but also divided men into those who rule and those whose work is exploited.

Rousseau's prescription for resolving the paradox of civilization was not to go back to the state or nature, but to create a new type of civilization. He proposed a radical 'Social Contract' entered into freely by all men. It was to give all men the right to participate in the making of laws. Thus equal male citizenship was to be the basis of a higher civilization founded on direct democracy. Rousseau did not want to abolish private property, but was opposed to great differences in wealth and income.

Looking at the dismal situation of the contemporary Muslim world, one becomes acutely aware of a paradox attendant upon the Islamic civilization too. The paradox is that the revolution carried out by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his four pious successors helped initially Arabs and later others who became Muslims, to free themselves from petty tribal and clannish loyalties, establish a centralized polity based on exemplary conduct of the caliph, achieve all-round economic prosperity and high standards of spirituality. But in the present times that revolution has been misinterpreted by modernists as well as fundamentalists as the final point in human achievement and therefore to be revived in the present and future. So the paradox is that the pristine Islamic civilization freed Muslims from tribal culture, but currently they are in chains everywhere to cultural and structural fetters representing at best a medieval mind-set.

Let me elaborate this point. The pious caliphate lasted only 29 years. It was succeeded by hereditary rule and the later 'caliphs' from the decadent stages of the Abbasid dynasty were often scoundrels and debauches. Things came to a head when the Mongols destroyed Baghdad in 1258 and the Abbasid caliphate passed into the annals of history. Spanish Islam continued to prosper for a while but conflicts between the various Emirates in Spain dissipated Muslim power. They were expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century.

Thereafter, Muslim societies stagnated. Despotism became the order of the day. Development in jurisprudence was negligible as ijtihad (exercise of independent judgment in the interpretation of the Quran) was replaced by taqlid (submission to the authority of the preceding scholars). The economic base of such a society comprised revenues from land, trade and small-scale manufacture. Wealth from conquest dried out by the end of the 18th century. Such a society lacked dynamism, innovation and creativity.

On the other hand, the rival European powers freed themselves from the fetters of medievalism and with better military technology and an aggressive expansionist worldview embarked upon the conquest of the Muslim lands, which fell to them easily, one after the other.

After World War II the modern ruling elites in the new Muslim-majority states tried to modernize and develop by applying either the capitalist or socialist models, but such experiments did not meet with any great success. On the other hand, with increasing income from oil, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia began to assert an alternative fundamentalist leadership in the Muslim world. The revolution of the Ayatollahs in Iran in 1979 established a rival center of fundamentalism. Both propagated a return to the social order of the past - the Saudis to that of the pious caliphate, the Iranians to the reign of Imam Ali.

Indeed, such ideas had always been part of the historical Muslim memory and from time to time gave birth to chiliastic movements. But harking to a pre-modern past in the late 20th and early 21st century means that the 'reforms' imposed by the fundamentalists leave Muslims in a much worse position than before. Thus Sudan under the influence of Hasan Turabi, the Taliban of Afghanistan and the MMA government in Pakistan's NWFP have enforced changes that make Muslim societies archaic and reactionary.

The way out of this predicament is to establish a new Islamic civilization which carries forward the best spirit from the past, but discards dogmatic rules and regulations which are clearly not workable in the modern era. A radical social contract should be agreed between the citizens and the state whereby all the democratic and human rights reforms that other societies and civilizations have achieved in the last few centuries should be incorporated into a new constitution.

In conformity with the best traditions of the pious caliphate, the ruler (government) should be a servant of the people and not the other way round. He should rule only by consent, earn a salary that is reasonable, and commit himself to not making any private economic gain while in office. Liquidation of feudalism, parasitism and obscurantism should be given top priority and the state should help establish environment-friendly industries that pay fair wages to the workers.

In the religious sphere it would be advisable to educate the ulema (clerics) on modern lines so that they can develop a dynamic and progressive position on Islam. Most necessary in this connection would be a theology of emancipation from all cultural and structural modes of oppression, besides an interpretation of Islam as a message of love, international solidarity and social justice. Such an Islamic civilization will put Muslims back on the road to progress and make it a model for others to emulate.

The author is an associate professor of Political Science at Stockholm University. He is the author of two books. His email address is [email protected]

  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society, Middle East
  Topics: Islam, Muslim Civilizations
Views: 11753

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Older Comments:

The paradox of Western-Muslim dilema... The Western societies (USA, Europe...) have advertised through the world their own idea of democracy, human rights, and freedom.

These concepts are not even really practiced or equally distributed to all american citizens !!
So, no wonder why this country feels free to invade, exploit, take over, and judge other countries...

This the model of "civilization" USA and Europe are imposing, like the ancient Roman Empire, imposing their own "pax romana" designed to expand their borders inside others, secure high interest positions (oil or whatever), judge, and finally, keep talking nonsense words claiming to be interested in "free the world"...

Islamic countries don't need to look out for these models or immitate their procedures. They can do it for themselves.

I say it clearly: USA and Europe, stop being the police of the world!


Addressing Sayed

Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah. You raise a few interesting points. True the text of the original Islamic sources will not change. There are certain Islamic practices that will also not change.

There are other things though that we do differently today compared to the way in which was done in the time of the Prophet(may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him pbuh)-eg there were no airoplanes in the past. Our understanding of the world has become more advanced which has allowed us to interpret the Quran better (eg understanding verses which pertain to embryology) Similary, society has also changed. Slavery is no longer existent, and the practice of the Prophet (saw) was to free slaves. I cannot see us going back to the practice of slavery - how can a slave own another slave? Similarly there are other things in society that have changed.

This does not mean that we should discard everything that was done in the past. I disagree with the author, if he is implying that we should abolish Taqlied. Taqlied has its place and we cannot ignore 1400 years of Islamic Scholarship. We need to realize though that the problems that we face today are very different from ones we faced even 20 years ago. In order for us to find constructive answers to these problems, we need to go back to the Quran and Sunnah, and derive principles there from in order to address the current problem. That is in my humble opinion that this is the struggle for the truth.

I pray that Allah guides us all on the Siratal Mustaqeem and forgives us for our shortcomings. Anything good that I say is due to the thanks of Allah, and any wrong that I say comes from myself which I sincerely apologize for

Was Salaam



I didn't read what you wrote Syed before I posted my first post here. if I did, I won't post at all.
you were more explicite than me, thank you brother very much.
May Allah raise the number of people who speaks the truth like you. AMeen


The real pardox here is when you think you know all about Islam, while all what you know is what you read in the kind of books that reaches you.

I agree with Syed's analysis of the article. I agree with author suggesting to returning to pristine purity of Islam while disagree with the term democracy. Islam has the system and mechanism for everything we need to solve our problems. We have a wealth of resources to go back and use it for islamizing the muslim world. In conclusion, if every individual muslims takes his or her responsiblity towards self reform in every aspect of their lives just like our righteous predessors did, then we can expect a change. If we all change for the good, then our ruler will one of our kind. But we continue just as totten, then to expect a change will be a day dream. Allah knows best

Assalaamu Alaikum.

I agree with the article in most part. Here is a comment from a brother which reflects my ideas.

The problem with Muslims is the ignorance of the essence of their religion. Quran has been replaced with "hadeeth" and other forms of dogmas.
I will give an example. In the early stages of the second Palesetinian intifada, I happened to visit an internet site, which displayed some horrific photos of Israeli brutality and requested the reader to print the material and infrom others of what was taking place in Palestine. So I did and posted it on the mosque's bulletin board before the Juma prayer. After the prayer I found out that somebody had torn off the pictorial portion of the posting. Without the picture, the narrative had completely lost its relevance.
It so happens that there is a hadeeth that says something like, " Any dwelling that has pictures or dogs in it is not visited by angels".
As long as Muslims are ruled by superstition instead of the liberating spirit of Quran, they are condemned to remain backward worthy only of universal ridicule.


Professor Ahmed is right about limiting the ruler's salary and that the ruler (government) should rule by consensus and serve the people.

The Muslim rulers have "deals" with the Western powers and unless someone comes along who can stand up for what is right for the ummah of that country there will be status quo. There can be no change since the Western powers and governments are working together.

What needs to done is to educate the West and work to create a better government in the Muslim world.

As a suggestion read the book "Confessions of a Economic Hit Man" you will understand why both needs to be done.

Finally Islam is perfect the way it is - what we need is economic empowerment of Muslims based on fairness and fair value not someone else's standard of risk and reward - which is the right Islamic standard. Without Muslims standing up for this standard we will continue to in our current position.

The author says "all the democratic and human rights reforms that other societies and civilizations have achieved in the last few centuries should be incorporated into a new constitution"

Human Rights in last few centuries:

Apartheid(India, Africa)
Slavery and exploitation of weak
Ethnic cleansing of aboriginals (America, Australia and Africa)
Occupying and exploiting foreign lands
Nuclear bombing cities full of ordinary population (Japan)
Polluting the environment big time and endangering the human existence
Iraq (shock and awe), carpet bombing cities and populated areas
Fallujah (cutting the basics needs water and electricity and bombing hospitals)
Abu Gharib
New Orleans (ignoring the plith of people because of their color)
Opressing others because might is right (Syria, Iran)
And the list go on.................

When the so called "terrorists" do crime they do have good reasons to backup, but the crimes done by the so called civilized people had no reason and left ugly marks on humanity for ever.


I fully agree with what you are saying and suggesting. I am an engineer by profession so I can put it more as "bare" fact devoid of the hubris of niceties.

Muslims have surrendered their thinking and leadership to Mullah's who have IQ nearing zero. They can not deduce a principle from an act (ritual or practice). They can not understand the difference between Qur'an and Hadith - one talks of principles and the other only narrates actions in a particular time & place. When they emphasize on imitation like monkeys, without understanding the underlying principles, then Mulims will live or wish to live in 7th century.

Problem with living in 7th century is that men of 21st century will trample us under their feet and we can continue to pray for miracles, but in the mean time live in gutter as worms.

When "taqlid" of rotten ideas & rotten men is the biggest virtue - only qualification being that the writer, idea or the practice is centuries old; when that is the criterian, there is no hope. Testing a practice with Qur'anic principles is a taboo.

Unless Muslims understand what this great religion is in principles, they will continue to exist as monkeys and other humans will exterminate them if they see them as becoming a menace.

We are lucky to survive as third rate peoples of the third world. Why do we have puppet kings or Presidents? Why there are no human rights? Why do we have ignorant religious leaders ? Why our societies are the most corrupt ? Our self glorification does not answer these basic questions.


Hong Kong - 11th Nov 2005


As a non-Muslim, I do not pretend to understand the intricacies of Islam, but I do see a lot of truth in this article. It reminds me of the reaction of Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees of his own day. They were so caught up in the attempt to catch the exact letter of the law; they failed to grasp the essence of their religion. The same can be said for some of the fundamentalist Christians in the U.S as well as extremists from nearly every religion in the world.

From a political viewpoint, such an Islamic state in a predominantly Muslim country would not pose any particular problem to most Americans (not that you need our permission, but that a government based principles outlined in the article would not be a threat to us). The question is whether it is set up as an Islamic state versus one set up based on Islamic principles. The danger is that without expressed separation of church and state and freedom of religion, a pious caliph could quickly descend into an autocratic theocracy.


Asalaam Alaikum:

I agree with the author for the most part of the article and believe that the Muslim world is in dilemma and at the same time there seems to be occurring a reawakening or a renassaince. There are too many problems but the essence of the true atributes of Islam have vanished for the most part in the hearts of Muslims and thus we find ourselves making organizations and taking various scholars as our guides and different perspectives evolve. The true essence, once comes back in our hearts even if it is in little, will inshallah make the Ummah unite and unification will not occur until our Minor is given up for the Major. The essence/major is ALLAH/GOD/CREATOR and the Most Merciful has stated in a hadeeth Qudsi to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) "I was a hidden treasure waiting to be known, so I created the creation in order to be known". It does not mean we fall into extremism but rather a middle, easy path according to our own levels cause' only GOD will decide who HE forgives and WHO HE has MERCY in the end, not ourselves, so we should appeal to the Almighty's Mercy. The Muslims in the past, once united under mercy, compassion and under great leaders found themselves in great empires in every scope, spiritual, economic, social... The taqwa hit their hearts and along came wisdom. May ALLAH give us and Our families good in the life and the hereafter.

The problems Muslims are facing today are the same problems faced in past civilizations, i.e. the civilization of the children of Israel. All truth lies in the Quran and Sunnah, there is no need to change or "discard" any part of it. As far as ijtihad is concerned, knowledge is nothing without sincerity, meaning any knowledge can be perverted or distorted by ignorant people without a care for the religion.

Paradox should of been plurial. There are too many paradoxs to mention. The Koran with 6000 verses one contradicting the other, no order in thought, nor in chronological order, is just a mess. We all know it was created on the demand of Generals in the army who needed a tool to enlist soldiers (that is why sex is promised in heaven), and to control the conquered lands with a ruthless hand and give permissions to commit crimes against the conquered peoples. If muslims could just accept that the Koran and the Sunnah should not be taken literally, like Christines accept that the Bible should not be taken literally, it would be a MAJOR advance, but it won't happen. So good luck!

It is a sad fact that Islam is often misinterpreted and thus tainted by cultural and structural influences-to such an extent i agree.However,Rousseau's Social Contract only addresses Habluminannas but not Habluminallah.As Allah has mentioned in the Quran, He will only enlighten those whom He choses and will leave in darkness those of whom he choses,and as such giving equal rights to all of men in the Nordic sense of democracy might result in much atrocity rather than good.Ijtihad is a precious gift guarded and only presented to those well armed with knowledge and authority-it is not for random distribution.I propose not to emulate a European ideology (not because i am anti-Semitic or blatantly arrogant),but due to the simple fact that our worldviews and thus philosophy are not congruent.Of all the knowledge in this world,there are those worth keeping and others which are simply at odds.This is where discretion comes to play,not blind discretion but one based on Iman and Islam.

Modernizing Islam cannot take place ever my friends. Period.

Its a waste of ur time and energy.
You may say it some what worked in the case of Turkey. But not exactly.

On the other hand author undermines power of established systems / all together. That has nothing to do with islam. Unlike author the Republicans know better in this regard.

Taking away the power of mullahs as Romesh says is like taking away the power of mother and father in a family. This will be almost impossible.

I would suggest the world has to adapt itself to deal with muslims / islamic states. Not the other way round. Cause its 1 Billion people here.

I would suggest to better perform in this department (of dealing with islam) educate your nation accoringly, good start would be what is allowed and what is not allowed in islam, second what muslim likes and dislikes are. etc etc..

with your 200 years of trials and error, mostly errors

dont tell muslims what is good for them. or what kind of islam will work for both of us.

I totally agree with this article. I truly believe that Allah (SWTA) has abominated so called Muslim nations today because the people themselves practice evil practices of backwardness and misinterpretation and perversion of the religion, Islam. I don't mean to be stereotypical but I have to be because it is very evident that many Muslims in America and abroad are moving toward the time of jahilia or ignorance. This has brought about their demise and destruction. The problem with Muslims today is that they are extremely afraid, materialistic, foolish, and are full of empty pride that is killing them and they don't even know it. It is a shame to see that the enemies of Islam are following its principles more strictly than Muslims or Muslim leaders, losers is more like it. Muslim leaders are merely puppets, we all know that. It is the influence of repression that they have on their people that is so dangerous. They don't care about Islam. They only care about control; controlling the minds of the population, controlling women and denying their rights in Islam. Yeah, Muslim women are oppressed, but contrary to Western belief, the reason for that is not because Muslim men are enforcing Islam, but rather because they are against it to satisfy their personal ego and chauvinism. It sickens me! When will Muslims awake and call for jihad, a just jihad, not filthy terrorism. Perhaps when the cause of terrorism is eradicated. This occurs when people can express themselves freely without judgment and it occurs when people stop caring about what others think and start caring about what Allah thinks. The answer I believe lies in raisng a new generation of Muslim Americans who don't melt in the pot but are instead the spices and seasoning that enhance America's flavor as a nation. We have to take more advantage of our religious freedom and we have to be more involved in American society as a whole. We should not aim to construct a counter culture, but rather a subculture. NMS, IWR

Romesh Gander says,"Unless, one reduces the role (and power) of Mullahs (ulemas), nothing is going to work; need to separate the role of mosque from the state -- an impossible situation in islam and muslim countries".

Answer me this question, "Where are the mullahs ruling the government of any country?"

SAUDI ARABIA is a kingdom in the service of USA, ruled by Saud family. The Saud family's Islam is not only local,e.g.,Wahabi, but also questionable.

IRAN is an Islamic republic that lost its initial verve and vehemence, headed toward an "Islamic Democracy" where the people will elect the body of governace and mullahs my friend are not first on their list of choice.

The rest of the so called Muslim countries are secular and dictatorial regimes that have an Islamic culture.

So mister "knows it all", what on earth are you talking about, dude?

I don't agree with the writer "Ishtiaq Ahmed" in this article.
Quran/Islam is the divine message revealed to Muhammed Bin Abdullah (PBUH) until the end of time. It's NOT something we cut & paste whenever or wherever we feel like or whenever it serves out purpose.

It's a revelation for all the times. Those who follow it & seek guidance from it they do get it. My question is; Were their any Sunni's, Wahabi's OR Shiite's (and many other groups present today) during Prophet's (PBUH) life time? We all know the answer. So where did the Muslims go wrong?

Nothing new in this article; just a rehash of ideas expressed in this website over the last 3 years.

Unless, one reduces the role (and power) of Mullahs (ulemas), nothing is going to work; need to separate the role of mosque from the state -- an impossible situation in islam and muslim countries. Unfortunately, the author does not want this separation at all.

The writer has written an excellent analysis of the classes which need to be educated in the Modern Islamic government, namely the ruling classes and the Ulema. However,there is another group, I feel, the Muslim intellectuals who almost everywhere are on the brink of disolution of faith, due to the striking of a woeful tragedy of moral,cultural and intellectual apostasy, who do not believe in Islam as a creed and an idealogy.This wave is a revolt against the moral and social values that are the most precious treasures of Islam.There is need to direct the endeavours to loosening the intellectual and psychological knots of this class by bringing out an effective religious literature to reform them.History records that it is men of this class who have rendered genuine service to Islam in the past as well.We need to bring this very important class back to Islam with wisdom,courage and fortitude.

After reading the article and the comments about the article, I remembered what Al-Ghazzali had said. This should be the starting point and is the root cause of our problems.

"Such is the tendency of weak minds: They judge the truth according to it's teachers instead of judging it's teachers by the standard of the truth." "Al-Ghazzali"


Excellent article, it cast a light on some aspects of our "Islamic" tragedy that were unclear for me before. Thank you br. Ishtiaq Ahmed, I really believe what you analyzed in this article. Islam came in to the world like a liberating intellectual force bringing the so much needed light to the dark ages of the ignorance and superstition. We gave the world that light and took from them the ignorance and superstion in change! How stupid is that? But that is what happened, we admired them because they were white, their women were their subjects to please them every which way they chose, they were nasty and unruling in behaviour and ready to do the most dangerous thing without any faith in God only for kicks! Yeah, usually, the most developed influences the less endowed, but in our case, the less endowed emancipated himself with our tools and we just adopted his style of thinking. Look at nowadays Muslim societies, they are male chauvisists, pro-dictatorial in leadership, fanatically stuck to the ways of the past, islamic or not, everyone is a scholar and a professor, evryone knows better and is a better Muslim than the next man to him. Just what the heck is this supposed to be? Islam? No wonder people like David and Gaddy are having such horrid ideas about Islam, that is what they see and so they judge! If someone went to Greece in the 1960's honestly wondered over the possibility that that nation was the forfathers of the modern thought and ideas of governace and contemporary civilization. The same with Islam, where we stand now is where Greece stood in the 1960's, very hard to believe that they had ever generated any good or great in the world. In both cases this is truth, both Greece and Islam shaped the modern thought and world. What happened to us is what the article states, square and fair.

It seems to me that Bilal and Rachid Khould have missed the point of the article. The author has NOT advised anyone to leave Islam, but instead to embrace its' dynamic spirit more fully.

The early Caliphs were successful because they could make the necessary changes as the times changed.

Let me make clear: the priniciples of Islam are universal but their particulars and application are dependent on the context.

The Caliphs couldn't go from ruling the tribal, bedouin society of Arabia to ruling a vast empire without making changes, they had to adapt to the new realities using Islamic principles as their guides.

Islam prospered at this time due to the dynamism of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.

The Ottoman empire, however, failed to adapt to the changing times from the 19th century onwards. As a result they were outdone economically, militarily, ideologically, and in a variety of other categories.

The Ottoman Empire failed to change and thus was defeated and destroyed. Those who don't change become history.

Salaam, I read thro' the responses of bros, maasha allah bro bilal,put it right, it is not the problem of islam but the problem of ppl.

Bro Yahya, pointed out,how different it would eb if western country is transform iinto muslim country,rather than vice versa.

The author contradicts himself on some issues, he points outhow western capitalist idea fails in muslim land and with the same degree,he brings his own suggestion of overhauling muslim mercenaries with his west grown concepts. To voice the same opinion of one bro's comment " Idea of fine governemnts never in scarcity,only the fine governments are in scarce".

But By allah, who did not come up with his/her own understanding of islam,rather than obey and follow the islam brought by Prophet(pbuh).Islam doesnt need overhauling,nobody acheives enough knowledge to eradicate rules of islam. You may not perceive the relations of islamic law with current situation, but it would be need of hour in different situation. Allah's plans are better than human.

ofcourse, cultural bagging could be removed only when muslims realize they have to learn to submit their will to the will of allah.We cant hold opinon of ours so close to our heart, when allah and his prophet has spoken otherwise on the same issue. Pls for godsake, try to obey,rather than preach. if you are so desperate to preach, pls preach abt OBEYING TO ALLAH alone.

Is, encourages these kind of so called moderates to voice their opinion and get easy platform?! Bcoz i notice time to time there is article by some moderates. If they give us a reply like we are only being fair to all of them. I am yet to see the article by hardcore so called terrorists. Is management of this website listening?!


Bilal's comment is excellent. Except for one or two good ideas, the author needs to revise his thoughts and get rid of non-Muslim slogans.

As-salaamu alaikum. The solution to the problems facing both the Islamic and non-Islamic world is not a corrupt un-Islamic philosophy. The solution is to follow the guidance given by the Creator of the human being. The Qur'an and the Sunnah are not out-of-date. We do not require a reformation of Islam to make it more palatable to the present age because unlike all man made philosophies and systems; Islam is the natural state of the human being. Reformation and revolution are necessary only because the philosophies and systems conceived by human beings are fixed in time and place. I would suggest that brother and sisters read The Islamic Concept and Its Characteristics by Qutb. The reason for the poor state of Muslims is not Islam, it is because we have failed to eradicate the cultural baggage of the period of ignorance; nationalism, ethnocentrism and racism. We have become like those who when called by the Prophet (saas) invoked the example of their forefathers as justification for their conduct.

An interesting Idea was proposed in this article. It would work wonderfully, but at the same time so would socialism, fascism, and any other form of government conceived by man as long as it is confined to an ideal situation. Human history has shown that, without exception, power corrupts. This form of government proposed would last a short time, perhaps a generation or two, and then the ruling head would seek his own good and no longer serve the people. The author of this article offers a fine model of government but he offers no ideas on how to apply it. This is because the world has never been short on fine ideas for government, but it has always been short on fine governments.

Brilliant and forward thinking article. Very refreshing to think that a muslim is capable of such thought..

I completely agree with the thrust of the argument. Islamic countries need to strive for both democratization in the global sense of the word AND purification of Islam from certain lingering tribal and cultural un-Islamic practices and beliefs. Progressive Islam is the way of the future, Insha'Allah!


This whole artical was wack because they are all against me as a citizen of the United States of america.

State compulsion of individual piety seems unlikely to create an empire of candidates for khalif. On the other hand, we should probably be attempting to improve our Arabic (insha'Allah) - as well as our awareness of Tafsir - in order to, among other things, insure a more complete application of the last prescriptions, revealed to mankind, of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

For example: is not the purpose of preventing my garments from dragging about on the ground primarily to prevent expressions of vanity? Therefore (by my reasoning) if I pay more for a pair of trousers than (let us say) a young man in Iraq would typically receive for the sale of a kidney (perhaps to start or support a family) I might as well leave my most expensive trousers not hemmed (to drag about on the ground) considering the way I should expect such purchases to effect me on the Last Day.

Assalamu alaikum.

--Yahya Bergum

Asalamu Alaikum brothers and sisters,

The article is phenomenal and there is no disguising this fact at all. Others could pierce and bash Islam in any way or shape they desire until they truly study it and speak its language. How could anyone dare critique the religion of Islam while they are not making an effort in learning its language (Arabic)? I do take the credit away from all those who claim that they do know about Islam while they do not understand its very means of expression. How could any one critique the field of computer programming when he/she has never learned at least the basics of programming (codes, etc.). I agree with the author that the so called Muslims have gotten astray from Islam in every major way. We do know that the farther we stand away from it, the farther God will stay from us as Muslims. The Muslim World is indeed in dire shambles and the diverse cultures which exist within it make things worse. Most Muslims have forgotten that Islam transcends all sorts of barriers no matter what nationality or ethnic group one could belong to. The picture is as close as Iraq and the ethnic hatred which exists within its people; we have the Kurds hating the Arabs, the Turkmen hating the Kurds, The Sunnis at times do not get along with their Shiite brothers, etc. It is a shame on all of them to mistreat Islam the way they do. Obviously, the corrupt leaders have always added fuel to the fire so that they could stay in power, but they can rest assured that they will lose eventually. Saddam is one manifest example. We need the US to help us get rid of those corrupt regimes because that is the only way to have a prosperous Muslim World, one which is void of brainwashed extremists, obscurantism, ignorance, hate, despair, etc. I think it is time for us to stop sowing the wind (support those awful regimes); otherwise, the whirlwind will always cause us havoc and destruction. Let us not forget that when we "sow the wind, we end up reaping the whirlwind."

Hahahah! Your article is sound, very well informed, interesting, but totally useless. It is just a long series of utopic "it must become this and that", but with absolutely no pratical meaning. Get real, boy! Islam is rotten from within, and the corrupt ruling class is too powerful to be trown out by anything short of a full scale revolution. Inshallah, it will happen soon and I would be grateful to see that soon!

So the author perhaps wants Pakistan to become more like Sweden? It might perhaps better glorify Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) if Sweden strived to become more like Pakistan.

Peace be with you.

--Yahya Bergum

assalamu aliakum
your article still takes some more time for our
so called aged islamic scholars , who for their own ends justify islam without any basis from our
written contitution 'THE QU RAN '.
we pray insh Allah our young scholars working hard
to break the traditional islam ,which is nothing to do with pure Islam.
i am doing research on comparative study on religions...
thank you for your time,


AISHA6780 FROM USA said:
I found this article facinating. I recently had a discussion with a good friend on such issues as old rules holding back development of some nations and the ideas of a fundamentalist run political infrastructure. I felt this view was exilarating and it's good to see someone upholding the ideas of interpreting scripture among today's problems and running a government where the leader is a servant of the people who retains a fair wage.
The Democratic society we hold in America has helped us advance and gives people from all backgrounds and ways of life a chance to reach for their dreams. I feel politics here has become far more capitalistic than previous years; however, I believe strongly in a government "by the people, for the people".
I would like to add, that I believe prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was one of the few religious leaders whose union of theology and state did not cause problems. In my humble opinion, it is probably because he respected the rights of others to their own unique views (specifically others "of the Book") BUT he was a prophet and a gift from Allah. I do not have as much faith in leaders of today. I am glad that the USA has a "separation of church and state"; it seems that interpretations can be used to oppress others in a governmental situation. At times, I have been very saddened to see Shariat IMPOSSED on others. True enough, as Muslims, we are to "encourage what is right and forbid what is wrong"... but what good is piousness if it is not from one's heart?? I am sure many will scoff at my opinions, after all, I am American born to a diverse.. non-Muslim family. I truelly respect those who follow the teachings of our Prophet (pbuh) and follow Sunnah. Thanks.-aisha

I would like to quote the following Hadith,"There will be a time " said the Prophet PBUH "when your religion will be like a hot piece of coal in the palm of your hand: you will not be able to hold it" When someone asked " Would this mean there would be very few Muslims??" he replied " No there will be large in numbers, more than ever before, but powerless like the foam of the ocean waves".

I recommend please read the book "Islam Under Siege ( Poility Press , U.K.) written by Prof Akbar Ahmed - Head of islamic Studies at American University , Washington D.C.

As Salaam Alaikum

The article is good analysis of the of present the Muslim Ummat. The universal community of Muslims have no one to blame but themselves because we have strayed from the straight path and the teachings of our beloved Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him.

Secondly, we support corrupt leadership.

Finally, true representation of Muslim character and leadership is being offered by Imam W.D. Mohammed. Let us appreciate the value of this brother.


The problem with Muslims is the ignorance of the essence of their religion. Quran has been replaced with "hadeeth" and other forms of dogmas.
I will give an example. In the early stages of the second Palesetinian intifada, I happened to visit an internet site, which displayed some horrific photos of Israeli brutality and requested the reader to print the material and infrom others of what was taking place in Palestine. So I did and posted it on the mosque's bulletin board before the Juma prayer. After the prayer I found out that somebody had torn off the pictorial portion of the posting. Without the picture, the narrative had completely lost its relevance.
It so happens that there is a hadeeth that says something like, " Any dwelling that has pictures or dogs in it is not visited by angels".
As long as Muslims are ruled by superstition instead of the liberating spirit of Quran, they are condemned to remain backward worthy only of universal ridicule.