Which Way Will The Muslims Go?


I have three recent articles in front of me that I read in Malaysian New Strait Times. The articles originally appeared in the British Daily Mail and were then reprinted by the Malaysian daily. The first one is by Amanda Plattel, entitled 'Journey to Single Mum Central,' the second by Lucy Kellaway, entitled 'Not All is Fair in Love,' and the third by Richard Lynn, entitled 'Men Are Cleverer, Yes?'. Although the articles are written and published in the UK, they in fact speak for the West as a whole and, together, are revealing of the contemporary Western society and its values and ideals. Reading these articles has deeply troubled me and has made me reflect on the predicament of the Muslims in today's world shaped and dominated by the West, and set me to wondering which way the Muslims will go.

In 'Journey to Single Mum Central' Amanda Plattel talks about the single and unwed mothers in the British town of Knowsley, where lone-parent families 'nearly double the national average of 45 percent.' Most children here are born outside marriage and single mothers dominate the social scene. To this she further adds that the projection of The British Office of National Statistics suggests that in five year's time the number of children born outside marriage in Knowsley is almost sure to go up to 75 percent. In 'Not All is Fair in Love' Lucy Kellaway talks about extramarital sexual relationship between colleagues in offices in Britain, mentioning a survey which shows that one in four gets involved in a relationship at some point in their job and one in ten have 'sex somewhere in the office'. In 'Men are Cleverer, Yes?' Richard Lynn explains why in spite of equal opportunities between men and women, the former outnumber the latter in the higher echelons of science and other fields and a 'perfect 50:50 gender balance' in all fields of activities is going to remain unattainable. 

In the first two articles both the writers are worried. Amanda Plattel is bothered because the single parent mothers are a huge financial burden on the Government as most of these women prefer to stay on Government assistance rather than work. Getting pregnant anyway and having babies has become an easy way out of the other difficulties of life. The author finds this mentality of reliance on welfare, sacrificing self-respect, distasteful. Lucy Kellaway is troubled because in all the extramarital relationships formed at work in offices, it is the women who lose the most when the affairs are made public. They become emotionally more scarred than men and lose their reputation, husband and children, and almost invariably their jobs. Men get away much more easily and suffer very little. She finds this very unfair and, thus, cannot accept it. Amanda Plattel does not mind unwed motherhood or single parent households, nor does Lucy Kellaway find extramarital relationship unacceptable. She knows why such relationships develop, one very important reason being constant close proximity with the other sex in the modern offices. This, as she says, turns 'sterile offices' into 'perfect breeding grounds for passion,' sometimes even without their realizing what was happening to them. But that is just natural and nothing can or need to be done to prevent it. She admits innate emotional difference between men and women, a factor causing women greater misery. But the thought that there might be a need to protect women has no place in her mind, as that would go against the notion of equality between men and women in every sphere of life. She feels unhappy about these women, yet does not mind leaving them exposed to danger. Her only wish is to see men also suffering equally. However, the views the writers express are not in any way unique to them. They only express the predominant views of contemporary Western society on matters of sex. These articles remind me of another article I read some years ago by an American woman written in defense of prostitution in which she said that prostitution 'can be highly creative, for some desirable, and lucrative.'

In the third article, Richard Lynn is deeply distressed to see how in the West truth is sacrificed at the altar of political correctness, and how uttering the truth can be extremely risky. Lynn was writing in answer to an article by Baroness Susan Greenfield where she 'bemoans the lack of women reaching the higher echelons of the scientific establishment.' Richard Lynn places scientific evidence showing that there exists an inborn difference in the intelligence between men and women which accounts for the imbalance. 

Both Richard Lynn and Baroness Greenfield are heavyweights- distinguished academicians in Britain. Richard Lynn is a trained scientist and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Ulster who has, in his own words, 'dedicated his career to the study of intelligence-and, in particular, to how it differs between the sexes.' Baroness Greenfield is 'one of Britain's best-known female scientists - she is a Professor of Neurophysiology at the University of Oxford, a former Director of the Royal Institution'. Together, they represent the two sides in the battle in the West between political correctness and truth.

Professor Lynn's own lifetime of research and the consensus of the scientific community make this conclusion unavoidable: '... on average, men are more intelligent than women. Not only the average man more intelligent than the average women but also a clear and rather startling imbalance emerges between the sexes at the high levels of intelligence that the most demanding jobs require. For instance, at the near-genius level (an IQ of 145), brilliant men outnumber brilliant women by eight to one. That's statistics, not sexism.' Professor Lynn asserts: 'I can tell you in my academic circles these IQ figures are barely disputed.' Still, it is not easy for him or anyone to tell the hard scientific truth, and he sums up his fear in these words, 'I'm well aware of the feminist outrage I'm going to unleash.' He reminds his reader of the fate of the distinguished economist Lawrence Summers who was the President of Harvard University for saying in 2005 in a seminar on diversity in the academic workplace that 'in some fields the innate cognitive differences between the sexes might make the search for a perfect 50:50 balance impossible.' He was 'forced to resign.' Professor Lynn sadly comments: 'For that statement of truth, he was eventually forced out of his post.' Professor Lynn indignantly asks, 'But what if he and I are right-as I am hundred percent convinced that we are?' But he knows that what matters is not being right, but being politically correct.

Editor's notes: 
- akhirah: hereafter
- duniya: earth or worldly life
- maghfirah: forgiveness
- muhajirs: Prohet's Muhammad's companions who migrated from Makkah to Madinah
- ansars: Madinah's residents who became host for the muhajirs
- qiyamah: doomsday or judgemnet day
- ra: radi Allahu 'anhu - may Allah be pleased with him - special attribute for Prophet Muhammad's companion
- rahmah: mercy 
- sunnah: Prophet Muhammad's tradition (Prophet Muhammad's teaching)
- swas: salallahu 'alayhi wassalam - pleaase be upon him - special attribute for Prophet Muhammad
- swt:  subhanahu wata'ala - may He be glorified and exalted - special attribute for Allah
- ulama: muslim scholar (muslim leader)
- ummah: muslim community

Professor Lynn is eager to emphasize that he is not preaching any doctrine of inferiority of women to men. He makes it clear that women also have advantages over men in certain other fields and suggests that women could be more profitably engaged in the areas where they excel. He also recognizes the presence of exceptionally gifted women who are on a par with men, although much fewer in number than men. He only questions the wisdom of insisting on driving women to what is not within their intellectual make up and on achieving a 'perfect 50:50 balance' between men and women when scientific evidence shows that to be impossible. He asks: 'If men are innately better at certain subjects than women, then why should society struggle so hard-and so expensively-to try to engineer a perfect balance between the sexes?' But Professor Lynn is aware that this perfectly sensible question will to earn him only derision and condemnation.

Now, this is the West. Unwed motherhood is not a matter of concern; random extra-marital sexual relationship is a matter of course; political correctness reigns supreme, even though it flies in the face of every grain of truth or good sense.

How are the Muslims supposed to feel about these things? Can they take these things the way Amanda Plattel and Lucy Kellaway do? Can they accept Western political correctness even at the cost of the truth of their religion revealed by Allah (swt)? These are the questions that every Muslim must ask himself or herself. If one is a sincere believer, he knows where to look for the answers, the Qur'an and the Sunnah .

Questions should also be asked to the Muslim intellectuals and the political leaders, the busybodies in the Muslim communities who, in their eagerness to appear modern and progressive, want to copy the West as much and as fast as possible. Do they want to copy the West in such a way that the Muslim societies also have their own Knowleslys of unwed mothers and their own breeding grounds of extra-marital sex? Do they also wish to sacrifice truth and good sense at the altar of unfounded and ill-conceived political correctness? Or do they have plans to avoid Western sins, corruption and degradation? Or are they just foolish and heedless people, enamoured with the West, who must go the whole way with the West, no matter what happens to their societies? They may wish to consider a saying by Ali (ra) that poison taken unknowingly is worse than taken knowingly.

The questions need to be asked for at least two reasons. One is that so many Muslims live in the West today and are enveloped in its ambience. How are they and their children going to adapt and adjust themselves to their inescapable surroundings? They must be aware of their predicament and ask themselves which way they want to go.

The second reason is that today we all in fact live in the West. The only difference is that some are more in the West than others. The cultural West transcends its geographical limits. We live in a world shaped and dominated by the ubiquitous West. There is hardly a place today where the pervading and ruthless influence of Western values and culture has not made an inroad. There are no hiding places for anyone anymore. In this there is no difference between the Muslin and non-Muslim societies. Without any exception, all the Muslim countries, even Saudi Arabia and Iran, are at varying stages in the process of westernization. Thus it is time the Muslim societies in the lands of Islam also asked themselves which way they want to go.

Of course, to follow the path of least resistance and go the way the West is going would be the easiest thing to do. The temptation to do so is great, for as the Qur'an repeatedly reminds us, Satan makes all vice and corruption attractive. The West of course would be overjoyed. Or will the Muslims resist instead and try to keep their feet firmly planted in Islam? This would be a difficult course and invite suffering and deprivation such as the Muhajirs and the Ansars experienced in the days of Islam's birth.

We hear Muslim voices in the West advocating integration with the West and the ruling elites preach the same message at home in the Muslim world. My question is how far are they willing to go? If their answer is the whole way, there will be nothing of Islam left in the lives of Muslims. Are they prepared for that? Whatever we do we should do with our eyes open.

There seem to be roughly eight kinds of Muslims living today. For some, the West is the future. They openly live outside the boundaries of Islam and can be recognized easily. They must taste all the bitter fruit of the West before there is any hope for their return, and some may never return at all. There are others who are confused, not knowing what to do and where to go. They veer between two poles, lacking the knowledge and inner strength to stay steady in Islam There are those who still cling to the outer forms of Islam, but their hearts and their thinking patterns have changed. These are people who, in the words of Titus Burckhardt, have been 'inwardly conquered.' The outer shell cannot be expected to last long. 

There are also those well-meaning Western-educated Muslim scholars and thinkers who want to guide the Muslims through today's difficulties. They want to make the Muslims acceptable to the West and thus save them from any conflict. These reformers offer a worldly and comfortable kind of Islam which appeals to a certain kind of followers. They come up with strange new interpretations that directly conflict with what Muhammad (saws) and his noble Companions (ra) said and did. They want to break away from the entire past, the history and tradition of Islam. They thus strike at the root of the historical continuity of Islam and of the Islamic community, two great pillars of strength. Little do they realize that by doing so they are severing their bond with the Ummah, for the Ummah in Islam is not confined to those living here and now. It incorporates the dead and those yet unborn until that time Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala decrees for this world to come to an end, the Day of Qiyamah.. Their presentation of Islam corrodes the importance of Sunnah in the lives of Muslims. It is perhaps to such reformers that Allah (swt) asks: 'What! Will you instruct Allah about your religion? But Allah knows all that is in the heavens and on earth: He is full of knowledge of all things.' (49:16) These Muslim leaders of thought also do not seem to be aware of what Allah (swt) says of the Muslims in the Qur'an: 'Ye are the best of Peoples, raised for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.'(3:110). Instead of trying to change the world, they are trying to change Islam and the Muslims. 

There is also the ulama, small in number but present all over the Muslim world. They are an emaciated and dispirited group, ill at ease and unsure of themselves in the westernized and the westernizing world. They hardly have any understanding of the spirit and the vocabulary of modernity and progress. They no more have the capacity, strength and determination to lead. 

Editor's notes: 
- akhirah: hereafter
- duniya: earth or worldly life
- maghfirah: forgiveness
- muhajirs: Prohet's Muhammad's companions who migrated from Makkah to Madinah
- ansars: Madinah's residents who became host for the muhajirs
- qiyamah: doomsday or judgemnet day
- ra: radi Allahu 'anhu - may Allah be pleased with him - special attribute for Prophet Muhammad's companion
- rahmah: mercy 
- sunnah: Prophet Muhammad's tradition (Prophet Muhammad's teaching)
- swas: salallahu 'alayhi wassalam - pleaase be upon him - special attribute for Prophet Muhammad
- swt:  subhanahu wata'ala - may He be glorified and exalted - special attribute for Allah
- ulama: muslim scholar (muslim leader)
- ummah: muslim community

There is an angry and violent group of Muslims who are very energetic, active and highly dedicated. While their anger is understandable, the means they employ to achieve their ends are indefensible. In the name of Islam they do things that cannot be justified in Islam. They have a rigid, narrow and limited view of Islam and refuse to accept the possibility that anyone else other than them can have any proper understanding of Islam. They are an unreflective kind of people and with their crude view of Islam in which mercy and compassion find hardly any place. They are good at alienating the thoughtful, the sensitive and the gentle. They make tremendous personal sacrifices only to succeed in making themselves feared and disliked even by their fellow Muslims.

Then there is an ocean of Muslims to be found in the heartlands of Islam who are struggling to ensure their daily physical survival. Their faith is still intact and their emotional attachments to Islam deep, although they may lag in the practice of Islam. They uncomplainingly accept their lot in this world, and the attributes of Allah (swt) they rely most on are His Maghfirah and Rahmah. These are a voiceless people who are constantly being pushed and shoved by forces they cannot name or understand. They wait to be led, but get bewildered by the babble that goes on around them in the name of Islam and confused by the strange array of their well-wishers. 

Lastly, in the midst of all these others, there still exists another kind of Muslims, although much fewer in number than the others, who quietly but desperately try to 'hold fast to the rope of Allah' and follow the way of His Beloved Messenger Muhammad (saws). Aware that Allah (swt) is All Powerful and Master of the Day of Judgement, they have taken to heart this warning in the Qur'an: 'He cannot be questioned for His acts, but they will be questioned for theirs,'(21: 23) and would not sell their Akhirah to buy the duniya. For them the Power and Glory of Allah (swt) is not any the less awesome with the passage of time or with the supremacy of the West today, nor is the bliss and joy of Jannah any the less appealing, or the fire of Jahannam any the less hot. These small bands of Muslims have chosen to tread a very difficult path, but they fear Allah (swt) and are conscious of the reality of the Akhirah. Allah (swt) in His abounding Grace has blessed them with an inner strength that all the others lack. These people combine the features of both the Muhajirs and the Ansars. Like the Muhajirs, they strive to keep away from all that is displeasing to Allah (swt), and like the Ansars, they provide shelter to the almost shelterless Islam today. These people do not call attention to themselves, but the discerning can recognize the quiet dignity and heroism of these unassuming people.

Those who really value Islam and want to preserve it in their lives must know that they have a hard struggle in front them. They must willingly accept this, just as the Muhajirs and Ansars did. This is the price they have to pay for which they can expect to be recompensed by Allah (swt) in the Akhirah. Without this abiding faith it will be impossible for anyone to stay on the course set down by Allah (swt) and His Noble Messenger (swas). It helps to remember that for all the hardships and trials his noble Companions (ra) had to undergo, Muhammad (swas) had only the Reward from Allah (swt) in the Hereafter to offer them. This is still true today. 

Let Muslims aspire to lead mankind from darkness to light, as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala would have them do, and endeavor to make themselves worthy of that function by following the way of Allah (swt)'s Beloved Messenger Muhammad (saws). Nothing else can save us. No other stratagem will work.

  *****

A. K. M. Mohiuddin is a retired university professor of English literature living in Bangladesh. He can be reached at this address: akmm45 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Editor's notes: 
- akhirah: hereafter
- duniya: earth or worldly life
- maghfirah: forgiveness
- muhajirs: Prohet's Muhammad's companions who migrated from Makkah to Madinah
- ansars: Madinah's residents who became host for the muhajirs
- qiyamah: doomsday or judgemnet day
- ra: radi Allahu 'anhu - may Allah be pleased with him - special attribute for Prophet Muhammad's companion
- rahmah: mercy 
- sunnah: Prophet Muhammad's tradition (Prophet Muhammad's teaching)
- swas: salallahu 'alayhi wassalam - pleaase be upon him - special attribute for Prophet Muhammad
- swt:  subhanahu wata'ala - may He be glorified and exalted - special attribute for Allah
- ulama: muslim scholar (muslim leader)
- ummah: muslim community


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  4 Comments   Comment

  1. Jaleel from USA

    Which Way Will The Muslims Go, concluded simply with Men are Smarter than Women? Malcolm X stated that You can tell the condition of a society by its Women! I can barely stay online with out being bombarded with some pictures of half naked women some where on my screen.

    But, is this Women or is this Men doing this, and doing it for what,money? I would have liked to see this article be a little bolder on the fact that it is man's responsibility to take care of the situation. We see what is going on. Who is Leading Who she Leads You or We Lead Her? Will the Real Muslims Stand Up and Take back our Women and Our way of Life. But they stand in front of us and say Doesn't This Seem so much better.,.Bikini, Fake breast, Sex with who ever ( Boys or Girls young or old) see its OK it even on TV!!!

    Brothers, Which Way Will The Muslims Go? We need to decide, and quick. I see the People outraged over a Cartoon in the paper, But our Way of life, our Women in the street, our Brothers dyeing, our Countries and People Hooked on Heroin, doesn't effect us in the least..,yes I'll ask Which Way Will The Muslims Go?

    May Allah show Mercy on our Weakness.,.

    Peace

  2. AD from Nigeria

    Which way the muslims go? Subhanal-Allah brother, the way of Allah of course. Muslims in the North, East, West, South and central should reaffirm their covenant with Allah, REPENT; that is the key thing, and then peace shall return to all, sanity shall reign, and a muslim will no more feel insecure even in the middle of 'sincity' waliyazubilAllah; in the USA. Da'wa will return just like the time of the Prophet (SAW) and his companions and we see people entering the religion of Allah in troops IN TRUTH, and then we shall begin to recite izajaa nasrul-Allah wal fath...no matter how the antagonists and the sinners may have detest it..

    I'm looking forward to that time what about you?

  3. Mazhar Islam from Pakistan

    AOA

    Jazakullah for the very logical and well written article. You have said what others just hint at and do not want to say alienate their interests.

    Remember what Prohpet (SAW) said that howsoever did hijrah for a women or land or some booty his hijrah is for that...whosoever did hijrah for Allah his hijrah is for Allah and another occassion he said thatbest hijrah is ti leave things that displeases Allah.

    So those who are living in west if they moved their just for a better living than that is for that not for islam and if they do not return to islam than every day is taking them far away. For those elite/persons who twists/moderates islam to protect their vested interests Allah says clearly that disbelievers want to extinguish the light of allah wither their blows but allah will complete his noor even if it is distasteful to them.

    For those who truly want to follow islam, they should know that it cannot be done without hardships and patience. They need to do their best and seek Allah's help in doing so.

    Lastly, had their been another way of spreading islam than the Prophet (SAW) and his companions (RAA), that that would mean that we have a better methodology than the Prophet (SAW) himself...Ma'azullah. We must found our base on the ways of Qura'an and Sunnah, be patient and seek Allah's help.

  4. Siddeeque from India

    I enjoyed reading this beautiful article. May Allah reward you. Aameen.