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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quixotic Concepts

The aircraft was in extreme turbulence. There was something terribly wrong. The jerks were horrendous. Passengers were in panic. All of a sudden a voice broke in, “Dear Passengers! Nothing to worry about. Everything will be alright. The weather is pleasant. If you look out of your windows, you will see a beautiful boat down in the sea. I am addressing you from the same boat.”

I am quoting this amusing anecdote to explain a tragic paradox. A growing number of religious luminaries who exhort Muslim masses to shun everything Western, are settling in the same West. Allama Tahir ul Qadri is headquartered in Canada. Al-Huda fame Dr. Farhat Hashmi has been fighting with Canadian judiciary to make that “non-Muslim” country her new home. My friend Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal too has preferred Canada over 57 Muslim countries. He talks of “ten long years filled with those stark realities and the eventual painful squeeze” which resulted in his departure from Pakistan. Well, barring less than 5 cent of them, Pakistanis as a whole are even more squeezed in but they are not as lucky as Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal who now addresses his countrymen who are trapped in the ill-fated airliner.

When Muzaffar Iqbal wants us to ‘imagine’ a union of Muslim states, it is nothing more than a mere imagination. He claims that ‘its rationale is built upon solid logic and clearly delineated arguments’ but unfortunately he puts forward no logic and no argument. A union of Muslim states is a utopia, a fantasy. First, there has never been any such union in any phase of Muslim history. That Ottoman Empire covered the largest belt of Muslim population or Middle East was part of a single administrative unit under the Ottomans, is nothing more than a self defeating nostalgia. Ottoman and other such “Caliphates” were in fact dynasties sustaining themselves on the basis of conspiracies, tyrannies and exploitation of masses. Muzaffar uses the terms of empire and caliphate alternatively for Ottomans and bewails that the Caliphate was ended by “that terrible drunkard” in 1924. Interestingly, Maulana Maudoodi, the arch architect of “political Islam,” a term used very fondly by Muzaffar, wrote a book (Khilafat – o – Mulookiyat) elaborating as to how the Caliphate, after death of Hazrat Ali, was converted into monarchy.

Secondly, the idea of such a union, in all probability, will remain a myth and the ground realities indicate that. Close of the century has witnessed establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. On the other hand, Syria attacked Jordan in 1970 and occupied Lebanon in 1976. Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 and occupied Kuwait in 1990. Both the parts of Yemen fought with each other for a decade. Pakistan broke into two halves. Rich Arab states of Middle East look askance at Iran’s nuclear capability and Israel’s threat to destroy this capability provides them a cozy feeling.

Quixotic concepts like Muslim unity are taking the spotlight awayfrom crucial issues like backwardness of Muslim world in education, science and technology. It is this ignominious sub-normality which is “the greatest tragedy that has fallen upon the Muslim community.” Literacy in Christian world stands at nearly 90 percent and average literary rate in a Muslim majority state is not more than 40 percent. Muslim countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims. The U.S. has 4000 and Japan has 5000 scientists per million. Look at this from another angle. Muslims have not come up with a single discovery or invention during last 500 years. Railway, electricity, automobile, aero plane, life saving drugs, vaccines, dialysis machine, telephone, television, refrigerator, internet, even hanger and ambulance have been gifted to humanity by Jews and Christians.

Out of 57 Muslim states, there is not a single state to which Muslims can emigrate. On the contrary, millions of Muslims have adopted USA, Canada, France, UK, Spain, Australia and other developed countries as their new home in search of rule of law, better education prospects for their next generations and a respectable living. The primitive land ownership pattern, illiteracy, corruption, political instability, moral decline, lack of equal opportunities, and many other social ills in Muslim world are pushing more and more Muslims to non Muslim “Kaafir” countries! In this backdrop, proposing a union or confederation of Muslim states is meaningless.

Muazaffar Iqbal taunts “others” for having ‘no grounding in Arabic’. With his grounding in Arabic Dr.Iqbal should know that his favorite term, “political Islam” is not valid vis-a-vis Quran, hadith and fiqh (jurisprudence). Islam cannot be divided into political and non political Islam. What an irony that scholars like Javed Ghamdi who do have “grounding in Arabic” have to leave the country because of threat to their lives by protagonists of political Islam!

(A truncated version of this article appeared in daily TheNews of 15 March 2012 which can be seen here)


Reehan said...

Well done. These are the basic realities and paradoxes of Muslims. We sure seem to have cultural problems in understanding management. If these countries are given on contract to those who know only one thing: Respect for law. We will be better off. Won't we?
Reehan Malik

Media Office Hizb ut-Tahrir Pakistan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Media Office Hizb ut-Tahrir Pakistan said...

Here is the Quote from Carly Fiorina CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP). Mr. Izhar lets see what they have to say on this topic:

"There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world. It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins. One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization's commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.

Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things. When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.

While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I'm talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent. Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.

And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population-that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions. This kind of enlightened leadership - leadership that nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage - led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.

In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership- bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership. With that, I'd like to open up the conversation and see what we, collectively, believe about the role of leadership.

The above excerpt is from a speech entitled "Technology, Business and our way of life: What's Next?" given by Carly Fiorina in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 26th, 2001

Looks like Mr. Izhar ul Haq is from the generation who was shell-shocked and over-owed by the West. Bashing Muslims and Islamic civilization is a permanent feature of his articles. We recommend that he watches following video to gain insight to Islamic rule and the details of Khilafah system.

Media Office Hizb ut-Tahrir Pakistan


Syed Moeen ud Din Karachi said...

I do not know what Mr.Izhar will say in reply to the attack by Hizb ut Tahrir but I want to state certain facts:
1. Nobody denies role of Muslims in development of science up to 1600.
2. When writers like Izhar or Ghamdi talk about present pathetic state of Muslims, they want sincerely emancipation of Muslims and to defeat West.
3.Isn't it a fact that We have not given any invention, discovery , during last 500 years?
4. Isn't it a fact that majority of Muslims today is illiterate?
5.Ottoman Dynasty was based on inheritence. Nobody can deny it.
6.We must strive to defeat West in the field of knowledge and technology.
7. Khilafah can be established but only with power of knowledge and science.
8. what does the above comment of Hizb indicate?
Pidram Sultan Bood ??
9.The facts stated in the article can not be denied.Nor attempt has been made to contradict.

Manager said...

It is not correct that "" This comment has been removed by the author"".
Had it been removed, the entire coumn would have been deleted.

Fareeda Malik said...

I often disagree with Mr. Izhar ul Haq but I am disappointed by language and attitude of Hizb ut Tahrir guys. Using words like shell- shocked, bashing etc speaks of a contemptuous attitude and vanity.
And look at their "honesty"! They have blamed the author to have removed the comments. Even a baby knows that the web-management could have removed the entire portion. This reminds me of " honesty" of a famous Pakistani religious leader who said," even if Taliban own blasts, we will not agree" !

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