Muslims & Contemporary Challenges

February 26, 2015

By Hussein Al-Rumaithi The modern era has brought challenges upon all humans on the face of this planet, which makes the humanity in a constant state of examination and struggle to assure survival. The notion of survival is not necessary referred to physical existence or distinction, not does it exclude it from the picture. Humanity is facing challenges from a wide range of aspects like, poverty, stability, tolerance, civility and ultimately intellectual struggle to determine the best method that assures overcoming these challenges. However, Muslims in modern era are faced with same challenges, but the difference lays in the nature of the struggles they have to fight against, as they are the subjected to more focus and heavier responsibilities. The current status of Muslims is linked to numerous variable and facts that are ranging from social, historical, political, cultural and mainly intellectual, dating back to centuries ago until present day. Nevertheless, acknowledging the struggles and addressing them needs thorough dissection and apprehension, which will lead to the ultimate state of prosperity and tranquility. Muslims can keep blaming the whole world for the calamities, and they can present different cases of conspiracy theories that will not change a single thing about their condition. However, by realizing the fact that change and advancement is entirely associated to their will and ability, Muslims shall be able to face the challenges and struggles of today’s era and learn from them. They Holy Quran, the narrations of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household are full of encouragements and guidelines to face challenges and learning from them and passing the details of that experience to future generations. Therefore, it would be beneficial to identify some of the challenges and categorize their priority to address them accordingly.

Intellectual Challenges

Knowledge, intellect and comprehension are directly linked to the notion of gaining, wealth accumulation and advancement. Past civilizations have been able to transfer their legacy through a precise system of, comprehension, application, capitalization and recording, which enabled them to secure a place for themselves in the future. Even though some civilizations have not survived until present day, but their legacy is still evident and applied until this day, which makes their presence indirectly undeniable. The Islamic world was superior in numerous fields that included science, education, engineering, astronomy, medicine and even finance, which helped Muslims become one of the strongest nations history has even known. However, corrupt political policies and miscalculated tendencies for expansion and conquer led them to lose the centrality and mandate they had once upon a time. In addition, there are many more factors that stopped the superiority of Muslims after a Golden era of advancement and innovation. However, the current state of inferiority that Muslims are experiencing is linked to lack of will and efforts and not the effectuality of ideology as some might argue. The availability of knowledge, intellect, science and all the necessities for advancement are still available for Muslims, whether in their literature or in what other civilizations have developed. Therefore, the possibility of social and intellectual reform is always available if Muslims realize its necessity. There are numerous verses and narrations that encourage Muslims to seek knowledge from anywhere and anyone and use it to benefit themselves and others, which puts the notion of responsibility on their burdens.

Social Challenges

Due to the unsuccessfulness of overcoming the intellectual challenges, Muslims are facing a wide range of social challenges and struggles, which brings whole new levels of hardships. By reading the history of Islam and the way Prophet Mohammad introduced it in the Arabian Peninsula, any observer would agree that Prophet Mohammad’s primary goal was intellectual advancement and ultimately social reform. The Arabian Peninsula was among the worst of regions if compared to that era’s civilizations and nations, which includes the Persians, Romans, Egyptians and other empires. Therefore, the way Prophet Mohammad transformed that society and brought it out of its state, is without doubt magnificent and unbelievable. Prophet Mohammad, introduced notions such as, gender equality, justice, respect and ethic codes in a society that buried its females and raided one another for survival. He introduced those values in a society that had only 17 literates in the whole Arabian Peninsula and things like swords, harshness and philistinism were considered as virtues. Therefore, if Mohammad was able to change that society and transform it to one of the greatest civilizations, then it should not be impossible to use the same methods Prophet Mohammad used and apply them in modern day. The current state of social conducts that is leading the Muslim societies has catastrophic in many ways, which has made it harder form Muslims to introduce their religion to the outside world, and make it adaptable. Unfortunately, the social status of Muslims in the current time is directly associated with their personal interpretation of religious fundamentals and definition. Therefore, majority of their social norms and conducts are sought to be Islamic in nature, which is far from reality. The cruel tribal codes and status of women in the society are part of this ongoing struggle to overcome the social challenges of modern era. In addition, the remaining notion of social fabric that is present in Muslims societies is linked to ethnic, tribal, sectarian and historical alliances, which is being governed by a systematic approach led by the states. Even the religious aspect of the social relations in the Muslims societies is not as strong as decades ago, as sectarian tensions have ravished such relations. Therefore, Muslims are faced with an excellent opportunity to revamp and revive their social system, through a system that will prevent occurrence of future grievances. The current political turmoil in the Muslim World has damaged the social foundation of many societies, and made the remaining very fragile. As a result, Muslims and Arabs in general have gotten to a point where tactical maneuvers are not sufficient anymore, and they is a tendency to minimize loss of lives as much as possible. Therefore, Muslims will be physiologically and socially ready for finding a solution of their social struggles to have a stable and secure future. TO BE CONTINUED.

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