With the advances of rapid transportation, instant information and communication, the world, from Atlantic to Afghanistan, is converting into a global village; the distance and difference are changing substantively and speedily and becoming irrelevant. The line of demarcation between diverse cultures and civilizations, in the ever-shrinking world, is said to be becoming blurred. The assimilation process is giving rise to the phenomenon of the so-called globalization; a universally integrated social and cultural environment where science and technology will be shared and free trade will prevail among nations. With the premise that all cultures are equal, the presumed global culture, we are told, would be equally participated and shared by entire human race; thus enlarging the scope of international solidarity and fellowship.
However, when we cut through the elitist's rhetoric of globalization, we find ourselves twinkling around at the glimmering light of the western world. The culture and liberal capitalism that is being pushed, under the cover of globalization, in the Muslim countries is not global; it is but a western culture based on the core values and core achievements of the western civilization. It's simply an attempt at imposing of the cultural-forming institutions of the dominant west on the feeble and frail nations - nations who suffered cultural degeneration during the long colonial rule and incapable of mounting any formidable resistance against the onslaught of western social, cultural, and political ideology.
Why western culture is finding place in the Muslim land? Today, Muslims, from the effects of internal decline and decay, are down on the slippery road into the cesspool of political and cultural annihilation. The state of privation in every area - economic, political, educational, militarily - has afflicted them with collective sense of national and cultural inferiority complex. The acquired low self-esteem, in turn, creates timid personality and subservient mind, useful only in inferior capacity. Taking advantage of flux and chaos, the more dynamic and virile western nations saturate the Muslim society with cultural products, possessing certain intrinsic qualities, in a subtle and seditious way, to alter, if not eliminate, its basic dynamics in favor of western culture and ideals.
Though, it is true that lack of economic development create fertile environment for "soft invasion" by the more developed countries; nevertheless, the real villain in the national tragic drama is the meaningless educational system, a remnant of the colonial times. The inherited colonial schooling system in the Muslim countries is incapable of producing assertive citizenry confident in its ability to be counted as a distinct people with a well-defined culture. How could we expect the educational system devised by the colonial powers to serve their imperialistic needs to create intellectuals to beliefs in the superiority of their own religion and culture? The system is intentionally adept to produce inert, deferential and passive coolies who bow down and say "yes saheb".
The culture pattern of Muslim nationalities, thus, capitulates to the mores and ethos of the dominant ones. The phenomenon is not new. When Islam was the dominant force on the earth, the tide was reverse. W. Montgomery Watt in his book, The Influence of the Islam on Medieval Europe, has acknowledged that the general feelings of the Europeans against Muslims, during the height of their power and prosperity, was one of the inferiority complex. He writes "The feeling of inferiority with which Western Europe confronted Islamic civilization had various facts. Islamic technology was superior to European at many points and more luxuries were available to wealthy Muslims..."
At another place he says, "The Christians under Muslim rules were so closely identified with the culture of the rules in EVERYTHING (emphasis is mine) except religion that they came to be known as Mozarabs (i.e. Arabicised) or Arabizers..." He further says, "The Jews, whose position had been improved by the Arab invaders, also accepted the dominant culture in every thing except religion."
Today, the dominance belongs to the secularized West. From the matters of intellect in the science and technology to manners, language, dress, and even food are regarded as superior to all other civilizations. Anything western is welcomed and patronized in the East, particularly, in the Muslim countries. With the feeling of shame and inferiority for their non-western origin, the upper crust of the Muslim societies proudly apes the western mode of life. The opening of American franchise restaurants such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and KFC in Pakistan with official fanfare is another link in the long chain of cultural, among other aspects of life, enslavement. Some have dubbed it "neo-colonialism". The media gives prominent coverage to the opening ceremonies of the American franchise. The Pakistani government once demolished WAPDA's, a national agency, building in Lahore to provide parking for McDonalds' customers. Mind you, McDonalds' clientele in Pakistan do not come from the masses, but from the rich and the very rich, a very tiny fraction of the society. The buyers of Big Mac, a product of American capitalist cultural, in Pakistan are not mere customers; they are tools to carry and propagate the American political and cultural ideology.
Needless to say, that the wind of change that is shaping the so-called globalization is blowing one way, from West to East. The West, with the sense of cultural superiority, wants its system of liberal and capitalistic democracy to be universally implemented, but unwilling to "contaminate" its culture with the intellectual and aesthetic values of the East.
More than 35 years ago when things were not nearly as bad, writer Maish-uz-Zaman made these poignant observations: "In many a drawing room, one learns that the world is growing small and an international culture is forming. In my travels abroad, I looked in vain to find the graceful saree or efficient shalwar being adopted by even a small dissident, rebellious group. I looked in vain for a copy of Daily Jang or even Pakistan Times on a news stand in New York . While Coca-Cola is available anywhere in Pakistan , you could not hope to buy a bottle of Rooh-Afza sherbet anywhere abroad (except perhaps in some Arabian countries)." (I may add here that Rooh-Afza is now available, but only in the Indo-Pak ethnic market).
Further, he deplores the slave culture in these words: "No tailor or designer of Karachi can start a fashion of dress even in Pakistan , not to speak of London or Paris . No carpenter of Lahore can alter the furniture design of the drawing rooms of Gulberg. It is the other side of the coin that wealthy Pakistanis should feel socially comfortable only when they wear their coat and tie in the sweltering heat of Karachi summers or place a bathtub in their house when they know they will never use it except for washing clothes. When a Western wears suit, he is never aware of it. He does so out of necessity. The western man lives as he wears western dress, he is not doing so to upgrade his social standing." (Muslimnews, International, Karachi, January 1974)
Isolated civilizations and confined cultures are, no doubt, things of distant past. In today's borderless world with a free flow of information, it is indeed quite inevitable not to be affected by the thoughts, attitudes, and culture of the people inhabiting the world. Despite the fundamental differences, the various cultures and civilizations, throughout the history, have exchanged and borrowed ideas, skills, crafts, technology, etc. from one another. The Muslim community, from the time of the Holy Prophet, Sallahu alayhe wasallam, down to the great age of Ottoman Empire, was no different; it has influenced the world with its cultural and social heritage and at the same time benefited from the experiences of others. However, an intelligent and informed observer would note that Muslims of bygone days never allowed any foreign ideas to undermine the basic message of Islam and the ability to create a truly Islamic community. They never accepted norms and values that cut through the objective standards of Islam.
Let me close this piece with a final quote from W. Montgomery Watt: "True nomadic Arabs believed that as man they were superior to all others; and something of this pride came to be attached to Islam, which Muslims regarded as the highest and purest form of the worship of God. This superiority was not vociferously insisted on out of any feeling of uncertainty, but was quietly and constantly assumed with serene confidence."
Muslims need this confidence back to assert their place in the world.
Abdul-Majid Jaffry is a retired aerospace engineer and a freelance columnist.
But I can imagine that this kind of information will fit well in some mainstream moslem conspiration theories.
The post shows your lack of understanding of technology. It can make life comfortable and it can destroy life too; it all depends on how human beings use it. Even smart and very peaceful human being like Einstein approved production of Atomic Bombs. That is life in the course of human history. Smart decisions of today turn out to be nightmares of tomorrow; that is life too. Unitended consequences.
To use technology, one needs fuel. Unfortunately, world is running out of fuel. That is why, the world will be in a slow and steady death spiral; the world ultimately must depend on renewable energy (sun, wood, etc). Renewable energy can support only a population of about 1 billion people; others must go slowly and slowly. Well, that is life. So, enjoy technological comforts as long as they last. These are the unforseen consequences.
You write "As Mahatama Ghandi had said Islam is the solution to todays society ills.". I have no way knowing that Gandhi said anything like it. He might have said to keep Hindus-Muslims united; a politcal goal (remember, he was an astute politician). If he said that, remember, he never became a muslim himself; See, if you thought over, you would never have given that quote.
The problem with you is that you read comments literaly and never do any thinking about it; well you Madrassa education shows it.
"The entire planet will go into slow and steady death spiral;
Sorry, No God's hand in it; just the stupidity of human beings which God created. Oh, I am too old to care about; I will be long dead before this happens. But young people of today will remember it if they happen to survive long enough".
Well Ramesh, I just quoted your owm words about Western Technology destroying the earth or have change your mind again.
Kam my friend have you visit a public school lately. you will see why morality matter. Here is the crime statistics from the FBI:
Forcible Rape every 5.9 min.
property crime 3.2 sec.
Violent crime 22.8 sec.
burglary 14 secs
One murder 32. min
larceny-theft 4.8 secs
aggravated assault 37 sec.
motor theft 33 sec.
Crime is rampant in your so-called civilized society my friends.
As Mahatama Ghandi had said Islam is the solution to todays society ills. What say you.
WOW... Here one of the Sarah Palin folower...
Yes, there were scientists who were muslim. But what was their origin? Greek (or Christian). Simply because one converted to Islam does not make him any smarter scientist than he was destined to be anyhow. The point is that what was the role of ISLAM (or Islamic books) in producing good scientist / mathematician / physician? None at all. It just happened to be that those scientists happended to live under islamic rule and happen to convert to Islam, but Islam had nothing to do in making them geniuses. I hope you can see the difference in my argument. Did Christianity had any effect on producing good scientists or Judaism had any effect on producing scientistis and scholars? I doubt it. A particular kind of environment like open discussion and toleration of various viewpoints make them think different. Which scientists have muslim countries living in muslim countries and educated in muslim countries only one can think in the last 500 years? You could them on your fingers if there were any. Why? No open discussion / questiopning allowed in muslim societies.
Who is an Arab? Anwar Sadat was being being political. Actually, the CURRENT concept is that an Arab is a person who speaks Arabic and is Muslim, and probably Sunni muslim (and lives in the Middle East). So, Christian Copts / Jews are not considered Arabs. 'Arabs' living in US are, strictly speaking, also not Arabs; rather, they are Americans of Arab origin; and 'Arab Christians' living in US are not considered Arabs at all. Rather Christian-Arabs and Jewish Arabs are terms not recognized by the 'Islamic Authorities'.
I agree contributions to Islamic civilization came from ealier well established societies.Even the translation of Greek texts were done by Eastern Orthodox or Jewish intellectuals. Unfortunately in the popular rhetoric these things are not mentioned. But one thing I disagree with you. Many of the eminent scholarsm mathematicians or scientists of the classical Islamic period were Muslims.And there were many Muslim early rulers were responsible to show great interest in learning from others and far away societies. This continued even during Muslim rule in Spain - a fact many Muslims boast of!!!
That spirit evaporated later turning the entire society into sclerotic one.
Belief in one's own superiority in thoughts is very dangerous in the long run. But then who cares to read history books???
Lack of economic development - Japan and South Korea used to be the poorest countries on the world.. but they work really hard, do not lose time for daydreaming.
Moslems like conspiracies and the feeling that they are opressed, because this can easily explain why they are so backward (if islam provided real advancement of muslims, why there is no inverse situation?)
Islam started to be in problem when the flux of cheap slaves stopped.. when the Balkan countries started to get free, when the Ottoman empire fell down due its own backwardness and corruption (islam has no means against it, taking into account how it is fostering the tribalism)
Pollution - global warning proved as the hoax..
But corruption is bigger pollution of earth and in this accunt, the biggest pollution sources are islamic countries. so when you will be able to fight this one, you can show something.. but up to date, moslems were not able to bring anything useful.
So instead of starting to study and work hard, you are finging flaws on something (western education) that is always functioning better than anything done in islam.
As for criticising west - only bad dog is biting the hand that feeds him..
Of course I overstated the case for the West's intellectual honesty. I've got 2000 characters to make a point. I can't include many, or even any, caveats if I'm going to fully make my point. I stand by the notion, however, that the West's accelerated progress was the result of a greater adoption of intellectual honesty, leading to major technological advances, followed by greatly expanded trade. That increased trade, plus openness and intellectual honesty, really caused our societies to develop at what was probably an unprecedented speed.
Of course there's tons of "yeah, buts" possible. For example, the achievements of some westerners gave (false) cause for others to assert racial superiority - and the list of evils that resulted from that are long and well documented (largely by westerners - hah!).
Anyway, pretend I'm a reasonable fellow who is quite willing to criticize my own culture, and would certainly do so in, say, somewhere in words 2000-10,000.
Who are Arabs? They were people from Hijaz and Najd area of current Saudi Arabia. Practically all the rest of the area conquered was either Greek/Christian (Byzantine Empire) or Persian / Zorastrian. After conquest, Arabic was the language of the "New" muslim Empire and for that reason, everybody in the empire called himself Arab, even though they were of Greek / Persian origin.
"New Arabs" did not have to learn anything from Greeks because they were already of Greek origin.
Practically everything of 7th-8th centrury muslim civilization is of Greek origin (except the Persian part); there is nothing Arabic or Islamic about it. If Arabs had originiated all this kind of philosphy, then why Saudi Arabia (birthplace of Islam) stayed a backwater for 1400 years as if it was in the 7th century; it never caught on anything new and modern (except when western oil companies came in 1930's).
Who is an Arab? He who speaks Arabic. Egyptians, Syrians/Palestinians/North Africans were not Arab; they were Assyrians/Copts/Berbers, etc, and did not speak Arabic till they were conquered; even then it took 200-300 years before they learnt Arabic.
Terrible thing to say, but all those advances ascribed to Islam / Muslims are of Greek origin, and not of Arab origin. They are called of Muslim Arab origin because they happened during rule of muslims conquerors; but the advances are of Greek origin. Saudi Arabs did not contribute anything; they never changed. Mesopotamia was not Arab; part of it was Greek, and part Persian. Rather, Iraq at one time, before 7th century, was ruled by Persians including parts of Egypt.
Problems with muslims is that they manufacture their own history to suit their own ego and want everybody to accept it.
Your statement that,"Muslim civilization was able to strike a balance between science and morality" is an absurdity, a childish boastful exaggeration that stems from deeply held inferiority complex. How can any one compare civilizations and cultures?. Islam borrowed ideas from writings, philosophies traditions arts, mathematics and science, craftsmanships and many other things from other societies. Nothing wrong with it at all as it happens all the time. It was Arabs who studied Greek thoughts and incorporated into Muslim Psyche during the early Islamic period.-a mindset something that disappered long ago now in Islamic society!
Islamic society then added some more into the accumulated pool of knowledge. Is it not?
Now the steam has run-out except blowing one's horns. So thinktwice before you blame others for he fall of Islamic world and the rot that has creeped into it.
There is nothing shameful about to reflect on "went wrong". It is necessary for rejuvenation.
You mean this period, where islam (as is know today) was kicked out of power by Fatimides with the help of mutazilites?
So even this Golden Age cannot be called islamic, because this weak sparkle of science was possible when the muftis and imams were out of power.
Hmm. which one modern technologies moslems invented?
I cannot remember even one.
So if they are suffering by the minority complex, it is only normal and reasonable - because they have nothing to present, nothing to offer. Apart from backward beduin rites, of course.
Due to prayer schedule (plus washing and other bothering rituals) they are not able to concentrate proprely on their work. Due ramadan, they are not able to work properly during more than a month.. instead of investing to their real education, they spend their time memorizing old powdered book, or giving their money to wealthy Saudis in order to go fulfil some paganic rites called now hajj... pure loss of time and money that would be surely better invested.
Instead of working hard, it is far easier to go to mosque and to hear the feverish jihadi phantasies of some mullahs.. why to educate, why to work? it is easier to complain to everything and everyone...
Indians, except for a small percentage of upper middle class and rich, are very poor and dirty. It's not only the city streets and public places that are filthy and foul but the basic personal hygiene of common Indians are also offensive. They smell foul and spit and urinate wherever they like. Many of the streets in Indian cities stink with urine and feces smell.
In no way India looks as a developed or civilized country, far from it.
I have been to Muslim countries like Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Malaysia, and UAE, I have never seen in any of these countries the filth, poverty, and choas that I saw in India. Some of these Muslim countries are comparable in civic facilities with the countries in the western Europe
Anyway , even based on your previous comment , because of distruction of the environment mankind is doom, why the sudden change . Why you and your sidekick, Paagle" are defending a system that is distroying the earth? So what if some muslim are joining them.
Yes, there was Golden Age of Islam. But that was in the past, way past. Ah, but we live in the present and future, not in the past. Past is for Nostalgia, present is for living. Got it. Hey, even Maya Indians had great civilization; but that is close to extinction now. I hope Islam does not meet the same fate.
Yes, Hindus flock to the West for the same reasons as do muslims. Ah, and that is where the similarity ends. Hindus don't complain about Globalization, decadent western culture, dress, (hindu) justice (like Sharia justice), etc; they just concentrate on making money and living a good life; they have full confidence in themselves in maintaining their religion, not worried about getting influenced as are muslims. Hinduism is too broad to accomodate/accept new and good ideas, and discard bad ideas.
Now there are two possibilties - or the new way of thinking (unitary logic) will transform islam, or islam will crash to representants of unitary logic (West, India, China/Japan) and islam will perish completely.
Now the author tries to find some "third" way, how to keep the islam in the form that he knows it and to enjoy the technologies..what if those damm Westerners and Chinese will find out something that will limit the use of oil? what will do moslems? money will gone, sooner or later...
Again Ramesh stop watching CNN. and read real history.
Romesh, Hindus also flock to west. Why? For the same reasons Muslims do. They want to escape the poverty, corruption, and extreme filth in India.
When it comes to poverty, disease, filth, corruption, Hindus are no better than Muslims and India is no better than any Muslim country.
I have seen the slums of Delhi, and Mumbai. None of the Indian cities, including New Delhi, has a 24-hour uninterrupted water supply system.
India has the largest number of impoverished people in the world. It is home to 25 per cent of the world's impoverished while its proportion in world's population is only 17 per cent. Fewer than 30 percent of India's 1100 million people have bathrooms in their homes. Indians defecate everywhere. They defecate, mostly, beside the railway tracks. But they also defecate on the beaches; they defecate on the hills; they defecate on the river banks; they defecate on the streets. My job takes me to different parts of the world and I have never seen such filthy and disgusting scenes in any Muslim country.
I work for software industry. Most Indians IT workers are happy to work for $25/hour. IT workers from other countries look down at their Indian counterparts for saturating the industry with cheap labors. Producing cheap IT labor is no progress. India's neighbor Pakistan may not be mass producing IT workers but my experiences tell me Pakistani software engineers maintain both the salary and work standard; they don't appear hungry and eager.
(1) Quite a few of the comments are really thoughtful and provocative. Muslims must understand and address them.
(2) Does anyone know if Mr. R. Chander isn't secretly a Muslim? In any event, clarity of thought is the first step to Islam.
Second is a basic measure of honesty.
Third is the courage of one's conviction but that could be situational and almost optional.
Fourth, but not necessarily in that order, is being in touch with reality. Meaning: A Muslim can't live in a fact-free fool's paradise.
What most people may not realize is that one may have issues with Muslims (And Boy, Can One Have Issues with Muslims!? Please don't tell Muslims I said that.) and may even be at odds with what Muslims try to pass as the so-called "religion" of Islam, and yet, may be a Muslim deep down inside, the only place where it really counts for the most part.
I am saying "for the most part" because at some stage a public testimony of some sort to one's private belief must be rendered within the constraints surrounding each individual.
Thus, in the ultimate analysis, Islam is the direct -- non-mediated by a human agency, such as a priest or a pundit, other than God's own chosen messengers and prophets -- relationship one has with God, the God of truth and logic, in the innermost recesses of one's mind.
(3) Mathews may want to do a quick fact-check on Indonesia if there is a drop or two of oil there. But some may find his idea of a direct relationship between so-called religious belief and poverty intriguing. Muslims must too.
(4) Honestly, Paagle need to ask if he/she may be overstating the case for intellectual and cultural honesty in the so-called West.
(5) Interesting, Paagle spoke about "corrupting influences" from the East. Are Muslims listening?
(6) Congratulations to the author for stimulating some truly meaningful.
You forgot one thing. Oil wealth always existed in Arabia. But they had no technology to extract that wealth. It is the western technology which extracted it, processed it, and marketed to ultimate consumers. Even to this day, Arabia has no technology of its own; it simply buys the technology and technical manpower from the West. Not only that, then Arabia ends up buying consumer goods from the west as well as technical manpower to help build its modern infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia and its refineries, and infrastructure was built not built by Saudis; it was built by the west; Saudis merely paid for it. Dubai was not built by Arabs; it was built by western technology; Arabs merely paid for it.
Even with all the wealth, without the technology of the West, Arabia of today would have been no different than it was in the 7th century.
Why do muslims flock to the West? Not to practicee religion (they could do that in their home countries easily); they flock to the West for better life, and nothing else.
"Isolated civilizations and confined cultures are, no doubt, things of distant past. In today's borderless world with a free flow of information, it is indeed quite inevitable not to be affected by the thoughts, attitudes, and culture of the people inhabiting the world. Despite the fundamental differences, the various cultures and civilizations, throughout the history, have exchanged and borrowed ideas, skills, crafts, technology, etc. from one another. The Muslim community, from the time of the Holy Prophet, Sallahu alayhe wasallam, down to the great age of Ottoman Empire, was no different; it has influenced the world with its cultural and social heritage and at the same time benefited from the experiences of others. However, an intelligent and informed observer would note that Muslims of bygone days never allowed any foreign ideas to undermine the basic message of Islam and the ability to create a truly Islamic community. They never accepted norms and values that cut through the objective standards of Islam."
Take the US-Japanese interaction as an example. After the US was invaded by Japan and won the resulting war (partly because we happily gave safety and freedom to Jewish scientists), Japan was occupied by the US. They were both forced to and voluntarily adopted much our democratic and business practices. By 40 years after they'd lost the war they were one of the most prosperous countries in the world - while retaining a distinctly Japanese culture. In fact they made major improvements to US business practices - practices which US businesses have to some degree turned around and adopted.
As to this anti-Eastern meme: Eastern culture and religion are widely appreciated in the west. Aspects of Indian culture are widely loved - especially yoga, medicine and food and increasingly entertainment. Budhism is widely practiced. In fact, the most popular movies in the Muslim world are not from Hollywood - they're from Bollywood. You guys are fighting corrupting influences from East and West! Good luck...
BUT WE ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT, BECAUSE WE DO NOT FEEL PROUD OF FOLLOWING OUR ISLAMIC TRADITIONS AND CULTURE. BECAUSE OF OUR WEAK IMAN&FAITH WE GET TEMPTED , DEVELOP INFERIORITY COMPLEX AND GET INFLUENCED. FOR THE EVILS WE COMMIT, BLAMING SATAN MAY NOT SERVE THE PURPOSE, BECAUSE, WE ARE FALLING PREY TO HIM. THE NEED IS TO STRENGTHEN OUR IMAN AND KNOW THE VIRTUES OF FOLLOWING MUSLIM CULTURE(SUNNAH OF PROPHET)SO THAT WE FOLLOW IT UNDER ALL TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES AND BE STEADFAST IN IT. LET US ALL STRIVE AND DO DUAS IN THIS DIRECTION.
Islam (Submission)is the religion of all the prophets. They were all muslims and preached Islam. We as muslims present Islam to the world and see the positive results.
Article is worth reading and I thank to the Author.
Problems with muslims is that they want to enjoy all that and not be affected by foreign ideas. Wait a minute. Did Muslims not impart knowledgte to non-muslims for a long time? Now, why cannot they absorb some foreign knowledge?.
Oh, muslims don't want to be affected by (im)morality of foreigners? Now, why can they not ignore that part. Just pick and choose. Oh, muslims don't want to be affected by Secularism. Hey, can you not confront Secularism through dialogue and reasoning, or you have no confidence in yourself anymore.
What is the problem folks?