Skip to comments.Fatwa - Has Western Civilization Brought Any Comfort?
Posted on 05/12/2002 4:36:06 PM PDT by swarthyguy
How Does Islam view the Western civilization? The reason for this question is that, as we know, the Westerners always brag about their civilization and scientific advancement, with which they view other people with scorn. But to me, the ruins and woes this civilization brought them outweigh its advantage. What do you think?
As regards your question, wed like say that the materialistic civilization can be replaced by morally and spiritually based systems only when Muslims become aware that Allah has shown us the principles and strategy designed to liberate man from the clutches of the Satan. Truth and justice can become governing values in the world only when the Muslims revive their own heritage and apply the Quran and Sunnah to change themselves as a first step to change the world.
Shedding more light on this issue, the prominent scholar and renowned Da`iyah, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states:
In the very beginning, we are to stress the fact that a nation that once reached the peak of civilization can create a new one, making use of the bright side of the Western scientific advancement, placing it in a frame of human and spiritual values and making it conform with the Divine legislation. In this way, the defects of the contemporary civilization will be eradicated.
The whole world now has been immersed completely in a dream-like wonder of the Western technological advancement that has leveled the space and time for man. It has made life easy for him to the extent that most of his needs are now fulfilled once he presses a small button. Whats more, he may even dispense with buttons in many occasions; upon entering his house, a door opens itself. Such automatic faucets and escalators are few examples of assortment of luxury and comfort the Western civilization has offered man.
Man has also invaded the outer space, explored the moon and brought some of its stones and rocks for laboratory work. This mammoth scientific advancement could never be imagined before. Such achievements are all alluded to in the Quranic verse: And He createth that which ye know not.(An-Nahl: 8)
Man Reaps Wretchedness from this Civilization
Now comes the very important question: Has this scientific advancement that has enabled man to travel to the moon brought him happiness?
Our better reality denotes that the answer is in the negative. This pure materialistic Western concept of knowledge granted man just only physical comfort, not the spiritual one. Yes, man succeeded in achieving many state-of-the-art technologies but failed to have peace of mind. This has led to a sort of disparity between man's outer appearance and his inner self. His life, though decorated and colorful, is shallow from within.
It has become a common matter to hear cries of distress, fear, sorrow and despair from people of the so-called developed world. With all the means of comfort they have, they lack spiritual calmness.
No wonder then to see psychiatrists in those countries always having a busy schedule, with throng of clients bringing in their complaints of moral corruption, worry, family disintegration, lack of social stability and solidarity. All this culminated in the high rates of crime to the extent that led to spreading fear and horror among people.
The cause of all these ailments is the absolute freedom granted to man under the umbrella of the Western civilization. This has corrupted mans inner nature and failed to satiate his unfulfilled needs. The more one fulfills his desire, the more he yearns for extra luxuries. The West fails to realize that there is no absolute freedom in the universe. All planets stars move in certain orbits. Ships and planes go in certain ways that if struck by a tiny change, it may lead to a fatal catastrophe.
Man is not the only victim of this so-called civilization; it has taken its toll on the environment as well. Pollution, nuclear and chemical wastes are in abundant endangering the living species on earth. What adds insult to injury is this genetic engineering, which, instead of addressing mans woes, has brought about more dangers. Mad cow disease is just a beginning.
Arabic poet says:
Still in the days to come, More surprising is the outcome.
These are but the natural results of man's own work, when he gives himself loose rein and thinks of himself as being the sole controller of the universe and forgets that he is no more than a creature and that he has to surrender to the Laws of his Lord in order to prosper.
Why Do People Suffer?
Peoples woes stem from the fact that they have forgotten their Lord and thus He causes them to forget themselves. Now, they lack the fuel that makes them lead life and look to their future through a dim perspective. They are like a living corpse walking on earth.
Many scholars, philosophers, instructors, men of letters and politicians have warned against the dangerous effect of this materialistic Western civilization on man.
Among those erudite scholars is Alex Carlyl and Reniet Dobou, a noble prize winner.
The well known American philosopher John Deyo says: "A civilization that allows science to destroy the existing values with no capacity to create new ones is a self-destructive civilization."
The contemporary British thinker and renowned historian Arnold Toynbee is quoted as saying that the solution to the problems of the Western society lies in giving the religion high priority for them to gain salvation.
The American intellectual, John Steinneck, sent to his friend Edlay Stevenson that reads: The problem of America lies in its luxury and the many things it has. With all those things, it has no spiritual vocation to offer. We are in a dire need to something that will awaken us from our deep slumber. We have really overcome nature but still unable to overcome our own selves.
The German poet Broshert expressed the problem of these new generations being brought up under the umbrella of this new civilization and said: Our generation is shallow from within. We really lack religion, comfort and tranquility. Our love is physical and the gloom of youth fades away in us. Our generation knows no limits, no borders and no protection.
Among the politicians who showed concern in this regard is the well-known American Secretary of State, John Foster Dallas, who wrote a book entitled War or Peace that included a chapter Our Spiritual Need. In this chapter, he addressed many things that America lacks. He wrote: The problem is not one of material things, for we have the state-of-the-art materials. What we really need is strong sound faith, for without it all our materials do not worth a tinkers cuss. Such deficiency that arises out of lack of faith cannot be compensated for by politicians, diplomats, scholars or anyone else.
He further wrote: Before his demise President Wilson wrote: All in all, our civilization cannot keep on this way unless W it regains spirituality.
Science Cannot Bring Happiness to Man
People are now complaining of being wretched and miserable. They feel that life is purposeless. With all these technologies and unprecedented scientific discoveries, people are still unable to gain happiness. These forms of sciences fail to remove peoples wretchedness, misfortune and triviality. Great scientists have always reiterated that science cannot act as a savior for mankind.
Sayings of Great Scientists
Among those scientists is Alexis Carlyle, the noble prize winner in science and the author of Man; That Unknown Being in which he put Western civilization to criticism based on scientific criteria.
Alexis Carlyle wrote: Modern civilization is on the horns of dilemma, for it does not really suit us. Such a civilization was established on the images of scientific discoveries, peoples lusts, fake ideas, theories and wishes. In spite of the fact that it is we who established it, it is not suitable for us.
In another place, he wrote: Man is to be librated from the chains of this universe. It was scientists and astronomers who placed man in such chains. Though being immense, the world of matter is still limited for man.
Finally, Carlyle wrote: It is now time for man to get out of these shackles; man needs to revive himself. This is not a matter of laying down a program, for a program is no more than a new chain that imprisons our future inside the bars of our mind.
The well-known American psychologist Dr. Henry Link writes: Science does not have remedies for complicated life problems. Science is not the source of happiness, for more scientific advancement means more complicated life. Unless these free sciences are unified and placed in the frame of clear facts of life, they will inevitably lead to decay in minds and total collapse. It is faith only that can play this important role.
The West Is Far Remote From Religion
In addition to all the above, science, in the West, emerged while being separated from religion or even as an enemy to religion. The church adopted a hostile stance towards science and scientific discoveries. Scientists, in their turn, also perceived religion as a threat, so they kept it at their arms length; they would not even mention Allahs name in their writings.
It was for that reason that all scientific studies looked to universal laws as emerging from nature and not as being Divine. None of those scientists even said to his students that such and such is a divine creation. Instead, they were of the say that all surrounding phenomena are created by nature.
In fact, the entire universe witnesses to the fact that it is Almighty Allah Who has created everything. Almighty Allah says: Our Lord is He Who gave unto evening its nature, then guided it aright. (Taha: 50)
The West uses the modern technologies for harmful as well as beneficial things, in good and evil. The World War I and World War II pose as evidence of the great destruction the Western civilization can inflict on the humanity. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are another living evidence.
How can we say, after all this, that the West is still able to grant happiness to the world. How to expect those who are shallow from within to be saviors? How to think that those who are wretched will give happiness to us? Indeed, those who have nothing can give nothing.
That is the only reason I want us to support Israel.
IndiaStar Review of Books
Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples
by V.S. Naipaul
N.Y.:Random House, 1998
408 pages $27.95
Reviewed by C.J.S.Wallia
Naipaul's new book, the ironically titled Beyond Belief, is dedicated to his Muslim wife, the well-known Pakistani journalist Nadira Alvi.
Subtitled "Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples," Beyond Belief follows up on his acclaimed 1981 publication, Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey. Both books feature extensive interviews in Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia. Many of the interviewees in the two books are the same, contributing continuity and deeper insights into Islamic fundamentalism.
In the prologue, Naipaul notes that as a "manager of narratives," he has written "a book about people... not a book of opinion." Indeed, in this engrossing book, memorable people there are aplenty and Naipaul successfully deploys his formidable narrative skills in delineating the principal interviewees and their family backgrounds. However, his claim that it's "not a book of opinion" is not accurate.
Naipaul's thesis in Beyond Belief is: "There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs....Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone, they have nothing to return to." In the Indian context, Naipaul views Islam as far more disruptive than the British rule.
The section on Pakistan subtitled "Dropping Off the Map" begins with a vignette in Iran: A busload of Parsi pilgrims from India, descendants of Iranians who had fled Iran to escape forcible Islamic conversion a millennia ago, travel to the ruins of Cyrus's palace, a seat of world power a millennia before Islam. They stand before a pillar with a cuneiform inscription at the top -- "I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, and this is my palace." The Parsi pilgrims read the words and wail for some time before returning to their bus.
Unlike Iran, in India there never was a complete Islamic conquest. Although the Muslims ruled much of North India from 1200 A.D. to 1700 A.D, in the eighteenth century, the Mahrattas and the Sikhs destroyed Muslim power, and created their own empires -- before the advent of the British. The British rule in Bengal lasted almost two centuries and in the Punjab a little less than a century. The British introduced the "New Learning of Europe," to which the Hindus were much more receptive than the Muslims, resulting in the "intellectual distance between the two communities. This distance has grown with independence... Muslim insecurity led to the call for the creation of Pakistan. It went at the same time with an idea of old glory, of the invaders sweeping down the northwest and looting the temples of Hindustan and imposing faith in the infidel. The fantasy still lives: and for the Muslim converts of the subcontinent it is the start of their neurosis, because in this fantasy the convert forgets who or what he is and becomes the violator."
Similar analyses have recently been published by several writers, most notably Anwar Shaikh, Ibn Warraq, S.R. Goel, and Koenraad Elst. However, Naipaul makes no reference to these or other scholars. Instead, his approach is to encourage his interviewees to express themselves at length. For example, Naipaul quotes Salman, a Pakistani journalist:
"We have nearly all, subcontinental Muslims, invented Arab ancestors for ourselves. Most of us are sayeds, descendants of Mohammed through his daughter Fatima and cousin and son-in-law Ali. There are others--like my family--who have invented a man called Salim al-Rai. And yet others who have invented a man called Qutub Shah. Everybody has got an ancestor who came from Arabia or Central Asia. I am convinced my ancestors would have been medium to low-caste Hindus, and despite their conversion they would not have been in the mainstream of Muslims.
If you read Ibn Battuta and earlier travelers you can sense the condescending attitude of the Arab travelers to the converts. They would give the Arab name of someone, and then say, 'But he's an Indian.' This invention of Arab ancestry soon became complete. It had been adopted by all families. If you hear people talking you would believe that this great and wonderful land was nothing but wild jungle, that no human beings lived here. All of this was magnified at the time of partition, this sense of not belonging to the land, but belonging to the religion. Only one people in Pakistan have reverence for their land, and that's the Sindhis."
Naipaul's choice to exclude references to publications that focus on similar topics weakens his book. He could have cited, for example, the widely discussed books of Anwar Shaikh, which brought a fatwa on the author's head. Anwar Shaikh, a U.K.-based philosopher of Pakistani origin, wrote in Islam: The Arab National Movement (U.K., The Principality Publishers, 1995. ISBN: 0- 9513349-4-8): "Islam has caused more damage to the national dignity and honour of non-Arab Moslems than any other calamity that may have affected them, yet they believe that this faith is the ambassador of equality and human love. This is a fiction which has been presented as a fact with an unparalleled skill. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad divided humanity into two sections, the Arabs and the non-Arabs. According to this categorisation, the Arabs are the rulers and the non-Arabs are to be ruled through the yoke of Arab cultural imperialism: Islam is the means to realise this dream because its fundamentals raise superiority of Arabia sky-high, inflicting a corresponding inferiority on the national dignity of its non-Arab followers. From the Arabian point of view, this scheme looks marvellous, magnificent and mystifying . . . yet under its psychological impact the non-Arab Muslims rejoice in self-debasement, hoping to be rewarded by the Prophet with the luxuries of paradise. The Islamic love of mankind is a myth of even greater proportions. Hatred of non-Moslems is the pivot of Islamic existence. It not only declares all dissidents as the denizens of hell but also seeks to ignite a permanent fire of tension between Moslems and non-Moslems; it is far more lethal than Karl Marx's idea of social conflict which he hatched to keep his theory alive."
Or take Salman's statement to Naipaul (quoted above) about inventing Arab ancestory--"most of us are 'sayeds,' [also written as Said] descendants of Mohammed through his daughter Fatima and cousin and son-in-law Ali." Naipaul could have cited the well-known disavowal of the great Punjabi Sufi poet Bullhe Shah (1680 - 1758):
"Jehra sannu Sayed akhay dozakh milan sajaiyan/
Jehra sannu Arai akhay bahishta pinga payaia."
[Those who call me "Sayed" will be punished in hell/Those who call me "Arai" will enjoy heaven. ("Arai" refers to the low-caste of Bullhe Shah's Sufi mentor, Shah Inayat Qadiri. Bullhe Shah preferred this low caste- affiliation to the "Sayed" pretensions of his family and of many other converts.)]. A number of books on Bullhe Shah's writings are available in Pakistani and Indian libraries.
On the other hand, it's evident that Naipaul's focus on people does make his book more engaging. Here's another segment from Salman's narrative:
" Two or three years later -- Salman's father's business going down all the time -- there was another incident, this time at the end of Ramadan. Id is the great festival at the end of Ramadan, and the Id prayers are always in a congregation. Salman's father had taken the car to go to the mosque he always went to, and Salman and his brother were going on foot to look for a mosque in the neighborhood. Salman said to his brother, 'What a waste of time.'
The brother said, 'Especially when you don't even believe in it.'
Salman said, 'What? You too?'
The brother said, 'Our elder sister doesn't believe either. Don't you know?'
Salman had a high regard for his brother's intellect. The worry he had felt about losing his faith dropped away. He didn't feel he was letting down the people who had died in the riots in Jalandhar in 1947.
All three of the children of the family had lost religion. But, as his business had gone down, Salman's father had grown more devout and more intolerant. One of the festivals the family had celebrated when Salman was a child was the Basant, or Spring Festival. Now Salman's father banned it as un-Islamic, something from the Hindu pagan past. There were great quarrels with his daughter when she came from Karachi, where she lived. She was not as quiet as Salman and his brother. She spoke her mind, and the arguments could become quite heated."
Among the people whose stories are told in similar novelistic detail are Rana, a lawyer whose family's background is feudal; Shahbaz, a U.K.-raised Marxist, who spent ten years as a guerrilla in Baluchistan; Mushtaq, a teacher of English literature in Karachi, a city torn by factions fighting murderous gun-battles daily.
Commenting on the origin of the idea of Pakistan by the poet Mohammed Iqbal in a speech to the Muslim League in 1930, Naipaul writes:
"Iqbal came from a recently converted Hindu family; and perhaps only someone who felt himself a new convert could have spoken as he did...Iqbal said in an involved way that Muslims can live only with other Muslims."
Iqbal's background is detailed in Ram Nath Kak's Autumn Leaves (New Delhi: Vitasta, 1995, ISBN: 81-86588-01-9): "His grandfather, Sahaj Ram Sapru, a revenue collector, [allegedly] embezzled funds and when discovered, the Afghan governor, Azim Khan, gave him the choice of death or conversion to Islam. Sahaj Ram chose life, and assuming new names, he and his family moved to Sialkot in the Punjab. Later, Iqbal never acknowledged his native Kashmiri and Indian tradition that his grandfather had been forced to renounce. Perhaps this reveals that terror wins.
The victims wish to be like their tormentors."
Naipaul concludes his opinion of Iqbal: "Poets should not lead their people to hell.... in its short life, Iqbal's religious state, still half serf, still profoundly uneducated, mangling history in its schoolbooks as well, undoing the polity it was meant to serve."
Naipaul's chapters on Iran and Indonesia are as detailed as the chapters on Pakistan. The Malaysian section is briefer but just as revealing.
In spite of Naipaul's odd choice to exclude all citations from other publications, Beyond Belief emerges as a first-rate humanistic study of the contemporary world of Islamic converts.
I like all your posts about India, Israel and more. India websites have been exposing Islam for years. Such as this oft mirrored one>
The X-RATED PARADISE OF ISLAM
The X-RATED PARADISE OF ISLAM. In this article I shall
describe the Islamic Paradise or Jannat ...
www.flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate/heaven.html - 19k - Cached - Similar pages
BTW> Jai used to post here but JimRob booted him about 2 years ago. Maybe you can get him back?
That must be why westerners have skyjacked airlines, destroyed them on the ground and in the air along with thousands of passengers.
And thrown muslims in wheelchairs overboard on ships; and blown up ordinary citizens by the hundreds, who are going about their daily lives.
That certainly defines the essence of distress, fear, sorrow and despair, doesnt it.