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Full text of "Ahle sunnat urdu magazines,urdu islamic book,"

FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK 

A sound and acceptable test of 
democracy is the perception of the people 
about the dispensation under which they 
are living. If they feel that they are treated 
as equal to everybody else in the country; 
they have an equal chance of receiving 
justice; they have freedom of expression; 
and they have equal opportunities of 
upward progress in all spheres of life, only 
then one can call the system a 
"Democracy". But who can guarantee 
these conditions since the key holders are 
not proving their worth. But the 
establishment and the elites in power, in 
their arrogance, tend to work against 
almost everything associated with 
democracy. As a result, in spite of the 
presence of a shell of democracy the 
people may not feel its existence. 

Existence of large pockets of poverty, 
squalor, deprivation and despair is a 
testament to the power of forces inimical 
to the rule of the people. No amount of 
effort is going to yield a perfect democracy 
acknowledged to be so by masses. 

Despite of crying hoarse the situation 
in Pakistan remains a far cry from 
established democracies. It is heart- 
rendering to recall that we have failed to 
have even a semblance of democratic 
system. Our political and administrative 
history looks like an ancient road strewn 
with myraid stretches of experiments. 
Every batch of rulers that came into power 
made solemn pledges to bestow upon the 
country innovative administrative and 
development practices that would put the 
nation on the road to progress and stability. 

MINARET ■ 



But none could complete his revolutionary 
programme. 

Joining hands, the politicians, the 
bureacracy, the big business, each time, 
make it a point to oblitrate every vestige 
of the past and present to new rulers a 
clean patch of sand on which to draw new 
plans and new promises. Repetition of this 
game over the years has led the people 
of this country to a lot (except a handful) 
that has no faith in their leaders, having 
no dreams for an ideology or national 
aspirations. It is to be remembered that 
democracy cannot flourish in an 
atmosphere charged with lack of faith. 

The politicians are descending to their 
old habit of destroying their opponents for 
their gains. The national and international 
fronts are clogged with problems yet the 
politicians are cutting the cake into parts. 
Unemployment, the breakdown of value 
system, back-breaking inflation, utilities 
going out of reach of salaried and middle 
class are things that are making the 
common man despondent. An important 
factor in creating despondency and raising 
questions about our process of democracy 
is the huge gap between the commission 
of crimes and administration of justice. 
Whatever the vision and integrity of 
leaders, people do look up to the 
government for a change in administring 
justice, eliminating corruption, bringing 
criminals to book. What can the man in 
the street do with IMF or world Bank? 
What makes a difference to him is the 
price of essential items of food and utilities. 
Denying, lying and boasting no longer 

February 2009 



please the people. The biggest shock to township We send our commandment to 
the claim of devotion to the poor has been its folk who live at ease, and afterward 
a hefty cabinet of ministers, advisers and they commit abomination therein, and so 
heavily paid consultants of a government the Word (of doom hath effect for it, and 
simultaneously with a begging bowl in We annihilate it with complete ruination, 
hand with only a few remaining friends in "(Bani- Israel : 16) 
the world. 

This verse is an open warning to those 

It is high time to realise the gravity who wield power, wealth and social 
and change our attitude as a people. The position to change their course and life- 
countdown may begin any time since style. The time is running out fast after 
according to Holy Quran:- which God in an unthinkable way shall 
pull them and the nation to terminate the 

"And when We intend to destroy a life of ease and plenty FAR ID 




THE HOLY QURAN 






And we sen: We did afflict 
its folk with adversity that haply they might 
grow humble. 

Surah A l-A 'raf - Verse - 94 




MINARET 


4 


February 2009 



CALL FROM THE MINARET 

Dr. Maulana Muhammad Fazl-ur-Rahman 
Al-Ansari Al-Qaderi (R.A.) 

DUTIES IN RESPECT OF MANNERS 



END: 



Practical demonstration, in terms of 
etiquette, of the Qur'anic spiritual, moral 
and social ideals in life, with a view to 
refinement of culture. 

I. Religious Manners. 
II. Personal and Social Manners. 

Chapter I 
RELIGIOUS MANNERS 

(1 ) In respect of beginning an act: To say 
at the beginning of every act: 

(Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim) 

"In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, 
Most Merciful." 

This 'manner' is contained in the 
following Qur'anic references: 

(i) in respect of seeking knowledge 
and guidance: 

"Read in the name of thy Lord and 
Cherisher Who created." (XCVI: 1). 

(ii) in respect of beginning a 
communication or discourse: 

"It (i.e., this communication) is from 
Solomon, and is (as follows): 'In the name 
of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'." 
(XXVII : 30). 

MINARET ! 



(Hi) in respect of riding a vehicle and 
beginning a journey: 

"So he (Noah) said: 'Embark ye 
thereon (i.e., on the Ark)! 'In the name of 
Allah be its course and its mooring'." 
(XI: 41). 

(iv) in respect of slaughtering animals: 

To every people did We appoint rites 
(of sacrifice), that they might celebrate the 
name of Allah over the sustenance He 
gave them from animals (fit for food)..." 
(XXII : 34). 

(2) In respect of Praise to God: the Holy 
Quran's first chapter opens with the 
words: 

(Alhamdo-lillah) 

"Praise be to Allah". (1 : 2). 

Muslim writings and speeches may begin 
with these words. 

Also, a Muslim should utter them 
whenever he is delivered from evil 
(XXIII : 28) or sorrow (XXXV : 34) or he is 
blessed with God's Grace in any way 
(XXVII : 18) 

Indeed, the accomplishment of every 
good and beneficial act should be followed 
by these words as expression of 
thankfulness, as it has been commanded: 
"Say: 'Praise be to Allah " (XVII : III). 

i February 2009 



Thus, these words should be uttered 




after enjoying food or drink and when 


Admiring anything in God's creation, 


putting on new clothes. 


a Muslim should say: 


(3) In respect of affirming the Glory of 


(Fa tabarak-Allaho ahsan-ul-Khaliqin) 


God: 


"So blessed be Allah, the Best to create!" 




(XXIII : 14) 


The Holy Qur'an says: 






(6) In respect of God's Forgiveness and 


"Glorify the name of thy Lord, Most High." 


Mercy: 


(LXXXVII : 1). 






On occasions of consciousness of 


Hence, on all occasions when God's 


one's error or guilt, a Muslim should say: 


Glory is to be proclaimed, a Muslim should 




say: 


(Astaghfirullah) 




"I ask the forgiveness of Allah." 


(Subhan-Allah) 


Because, the Holy Qur'an says: 


"Glory to Allah". (XII :108). 






"And those who, having done 


OR, 


something to be ashamed of, or having 




wronged their own souls, earnestly bring 


(Subhana-Rabbi) 


Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for 


"Glory to my Lord!" (XVII : 93). 


their sins, — and who can forgive sins 




except Allah?—. . . ." (Ill : 135). 


(4) In respect of affirming the Greatness 




of God: 


He may also say, when the 




consciousness of the violation of Divine 


A Muslim derives all his strength from 


Law deepens: 


faith in God. Hence, he has been 




commanded to affirm constantly, through 


(La ilaha ilia anta Subhanaka inni kanta 


his attitude, and through words, whenever 


min-az-zalimin) 


occasion arises, the greatness of God, as 




the Holy Qur'an says: 


". . . There is no god but Thou: Glory 




to Thee: I was indeed wrong!" (XXI : 87) 


"Yea, magnify Him for His Greatness 




and Glory." (XVII : 111). 


(7) In respect of guarding against evil 




in general: 


The standard expression in this 




respect is: 


When an evil is imputed to a Muslim, 




or he is invited to evil, he should say: 


(Allaho-Akbar) 




"Allah is Possessor of all Greatness." 


(Maaz-Allah) 




"I seek refuge in Allah." (XII : 23). 


(5) In respect of affirming God's 




excellence as Creator: 


(8) In respect of guarding against Satan: 


MINARET 


3 February 2009 



For keeping evil thoughts away, or for 


". . . . 'Allah's Will (be done)! There is 


casting them off, a Muslim has been 


no power but with Allah!' " (XVIII : 39). 


commanded: 






(11) In respect of making a promise: 


"If a suggestion from Satan assail thy 




(mind), seek refuge with Allah' for He 


When a Muslim makes a promise, he 


heareth and knoweth all things." (VII : 200). 


should on the one hand make a firm 




resolve to carry out his promise at all cost, 


Its usual form based on this verse, is: 


and on the other hand say, seeking the 




help of God: 


(A'uzo billahi min-ash-Shaitan-ir-Rajim) 




"1 seek refuge in Allah from the accursed 


(Insha-Allah) 


Devil." 


"If Allah wills." (XLVIII : 27). 


Its other form, mentioned in the Holy 


Similary, he should say these words 


Qur'an, is: 


when he anticipates something. Because, 




the Holy Qur'an has commanded the 


"0 my Lord! 1 seek refuge with Thee 


Muslims to do so: 


from the suggestions of the Evil Ones. 




And 1 seek refuge with Thee my Lord! 


"Nor say of anything, I shall be sure 


lest they should come near me." (XXIII : 


to do so and so tomorrow without adding, 


97, 98). 


So please Allah!'. . ." (XVIII : 23). 


(9) In respect of guarding serenity in 


(12)ln respect of recalling something 


afflictions: 


forgotten: 


When confronted with any calamity or 


The Holy Qur'an says: 


saddening news, a Muslim has been 




guided thus: 


". . . .and call thy Lord to mind when 




thou forgttest, and say, 'I hope that my 


"They say, when afflicted with calamity: 


Lord will guide me ever closer (even) than 


'To Allah we belong, and to him is our 


this to the right road." (XVIII: 24). 


return'". (11 : 156). 






(13) in respect of safeguarding devotion 


(10) In respect of thoughts of elation 


to the Holy Prophet (#) : 


and pride: 






Affirming, and invoking increase in, 


When there is occasion for elation and 


Divine Blessings and Peace on the Holy 


pride, in respect of oneself or someone 


Prophet Muhammad (Divinely Blessed is 


else, a Muslim, suppressing pride and 


he and in eternal Peace) whenever his 


attributing all achievements to the Power 


name is mentioned, — doing this with all 


of God, should say: 


respect and as a mark of gratitude for his 




suffering in the cause of the service of 


(Masha-Allah La quwwata ilia billah) 


mankind, and in obedience to the 


MINARET 


7 February 2009 



command of God given in the Holy Qur'an: 


believe in Allah and His Messenger 




(Muhammad) and may assist and honour 


"Lo! Allah and His angels shower 


him. . . ." (XLVIII : 9). 


Blessings (always) on the Prophet. ye 




who believe! Ask blessings on him and 


Moreover, the Holy Qur'an lays down: 


salute him with a worthy salutation (i.e., 




with all respect). (XXXIII : 56). 


"Verily the most honourable among 




you is he who excels in Piety." (XLIX : 13). 


The shortest and the most generally 




used expression for affirming Divine 


And the Holy Prophet, according to 


Blessings and Peace on him is: 


Islamic theology, excels all human beings 




in Piety. He is, therefore, not only 


(Sallallaho 'alaihe wa sallam) 


honourable but the most honourable in 




entire creation. 


i.e., "Allah has bestowed upon him 




His Blessings and Peace." 


Besides that, he is the first Muslim 




among God's creatures (IV : 163); hence 


The shortest comprehensive 


he deserves honour foremost in God's 


expression for invoking increase — infinite 


creation. 


increase-in God's Blessings and Peace 




for him, is: 


Thus, when a Muslim visits Medina, 




he shoud treat the Holy Prophet's 


(Allahumma Salle ala Muhammadin wa 


Mausoleum with deep and unstinted 


barik wa sallim) 


reverence, stand before his grave most 




respectfully while paying homage to him 


"0 Allah! shower Thine Mercy, Thine 


and seeking God's Blessings for himself. 


Benediction and Thine Peace on 




Muhammad." 


(15) In respect of revering the holy 




Ka'bah at Makkah: 


In English, the words "Peace be on 




him" have been used by Muslim writers. 


The holy Ka'bah is one of he 'Symbols 


These words form the translation of: 


of God'; and the Holy Qur'an teaches : 


(Alaihis-Salam) 


". . . whoever holds in honour the 


That expression, however, also means: 


symbols of Allah, it surely is from piety of 


"He is blessed with Peace." 


the hearts". (XXII: 32). 


(14) In respect of revering the Holy 


Hence, when a Muslim visits the holy 


Prophet's memory, and hence, his grave 


Ka'bah and looks at it, he should do so 


at Medina: 


with a deep reverential attitude and even 




his formal behaviour there should be such 


The Holy Qur'an says: 


as to be entirely based on its sacredness. 


". . . in order that ye (0 mankind) may 


(16) In respect of revering the Holy 


MINARET 


3 February 2009 



(a) The Holy Qur'an says about itself: 

"which none shall touch but those who 
are clean." (LVI : 79). 

Hence, a Muslim should handle it only 
when he is in a state of formal purity with 
wudu and his total personality is in a state 
of communion with God. 

(b) We are also told: 

"When the Qur'an is read, listen to it 
with attention, and hold your peace: that 
ye may receive Mercy." (VII : 204). 

Hence, when the Holy Qur'an is read 
loudly, a Muslim should not only 
concentrate his mind on it but should also 



adopt the attitude of reverence. 
(17) In respect of venerating the 
mosque: 

The Holy Qur'an says: 

"Oh Children of Adam! Wear your 
beautiful apparel (adornment) at every 
(time and) place of prayer:. . . ." (VII : 31). 

Hence, when a Muslim visits the 
mosque, he should go there properly 
dressed and with respectful attitude. 

And as long as he stays there, he 
should observe the most dignified 
manners, in accordance with the advice 
given in XXII : 32, quoted in the text of 
"manner 15". 



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February 2009 



F 




GODS GRANDEUR 

Saleem Ullah Jundran 

The vastness of this world; 

The depth of this earth; 

The cool shade of shady trees; 

The sweet blow of blossoming breeze; 

The ripe crops showering scented seeds; 

The clusters of bean pouring pearl-like beads; 

Speak of, all, God's grandeur, God's grandeur; 

God's grandeur; God's grandeur. 

Gardens glowing with colourful petals 

Orchards spreading sweet smell of apples, 

Jungles echoing with birds and animals; ^ 

Oceans shining with shells and corals; 

Rocks wrought with multiple fossils; 

Mountains peaking high brown and purple; 

Humanity crowning as the best creature; 

Blessed with the best symmetrical form and feature: 

Speak of, all, God's grandeur, God's grandeur; 

God's grandeur; God's grandeur 

Let us praise Him, morning and evening; 

Ever pray for His mercy and blessing; 

He is Almighty; All-Embracing. 




February 2009 



RELIGION AND THE PROCESS 
OF GLOBALIZATION 



Dr. M. Yaqub Khan 



Introduction 



The concept of globalization is not 
new. In the contemporary era, the term 
'globalization' is mostly used to describe 
the global nature of capital and the advent 
of single global economy. "Four forces 
have been major engines of globalization: 
religion, technology, economy, and empire 
(Mazrui, 1 998:1 )" The cycle of globalization 
reached its apex in 1 991 , when the soviet 
Union, the last contender for world 
hegemony, collapsed and the United States 
emerged as a global unipolar actor. 
Unipolarity, a singularity in the modern 
world system, has enabled Washington to 
use all engines of globalization favourably, 
and enjoy a monopoly on the use of 
legitimate violence that it did not have after 
the Second World War. According to Bob 
Woodward (2002). by spreading "death 
and violence to the four corners of the 
Earth" the United States is destabilizing 
the international system. 

The import of religion in the process 
of globalization depends on how the 
phenomenon of globalization is 
understood. Religions have always been 
the first global phenomenon for humanity. 
The concept of Tawhid (the unity of God) 
enables mankind to see beyond the tribe, 
the city and the nation and focus on the 
unity of humanity. The current cycle of 
globalization has its discontents (Stiglitz, 
2002; sacks, 2003). There is a growing 
tension between North and South in global 
terms in the articulation of religious 

MINARET 



priorities. A great majority of the world's 
believers, both Christian and Muslim, 
reside in the global South. The liberals of 
the global North, both secular and religious, 
are increasingly disturbed when the 
principles of Enlightenment are called into 
question. 

The essay covers: A glance at religion 
and the process of globalization; the 
challenges of globalization to the Muslim 
world; and the future of religion and 
globalization. 

A GLANCE AT RELIGION AND THE 
PROCESS OF GLOBALIZATION 

Religion is an essential part of man, 
and a basic component of human culture 
and civilization. Religion and the process 
of globalization have close relationship 
having a past, present and the future, In 
the past, globalization meant an on-going 
convergence of values when people from 
different religious backgrounds came in 
contact. Globalization today is more close 
to centralization. The concept of 
centralization sees the world as one, but 
clearly guided by the values of the powerful 
West. The rest of the world, and diversity 
of cultures, seems to be marginalized. The 
future of globalization probably lies in the 
recognition of 'The Dignity of Difference' 
and avoding the thrust of 'Clash of 
Civilization' (Sacks, 2003). 

A glance at religion and the process 
of globalization may show that religion and 

1 February 2009 



other engines of globalization - technology, 
economy, and empire - often reinforced 
each other in the process of globalization. 
Christianity started its process of 
globalization with the conversion of Roman 
emperor Constantine in 313. The event 
helped to make Christianity as the 
dominant religion of Europe, and later 
spread Christianity in many other societies. 

Technology assisted in the voyages 
of exploration. Vasco de Gama and 
Christopher Columbus opened up a whole 
new chapter in the history of globalization. 
The migration of the Pilgrim Fathers to 
America was in response to religious and 
economic imperitives. It was in September 
1620 that the Pilgrims set sail from 
Plymouth, England in a ship named the 
'Mayflower'. Those aboard the ship were 
conscious of the fact that they were acting" 
in the presence of God". Belief in America's 
'manifest destiny' and being a 'Chosen 
People' clearly indicate the role of religion 
in the present phase of the process of 
globalization. It may be recalled that 
President of America, George W. Bush 
concluded his inaugural address in January 
2001 by implicitly accepting that America 
was part of God's project for mankind, 
indeed, the primary part of it. 

Considerable historical literature is at 
hand to mark the role of Islam in the 
process of globalization. During the period 
from the seventh to the seventeenth 
century, Islam brought all the major 
civilizations of the Old World into contact 
with one another and within a single 
overreaching civilization. The Islamic 
civilization became a global civilization 
becuase of its ability to receive and absorb 
culture in the light of Islamic principles. 

MINARET 1 



The scholars, saints, and mystice 
continuously stabilzed the core and 
substance of Islamic civilization. The 
process continues right to this day, and in 
spite of all the vicissitudes. 

The exponent advance in western 
technology and a gradual hold of 
colonialism and neo-colonialism by the 
capitalist countries over larger and larger 
portions of the globe, has eclipsed the 
benign role of Islam in the process of 
globalization. The global resurgence of 
religion, including that of Islam, has a ray 
of hope for a positive role of religion in the 
globalization process. 

Islamic resurgence is primarily a 
religious and ethical movement. It stands 
for re-affirmation of the integration of the 
spiritual and the material dimensions of 
life. In contrast, roughly since the 
Enlightenment, mainstream western 
thought has been based upon the explicit 
or assumed dichotomy between spirit and 
matter. The contemporary onslaught 
against the role of Islam in global affairs 
possibly stems from the ideological designs 
of the capitalist countries. 

The role of religion especially of Islam, 
in the process of globalization has to be 
seen in the light of the fact that 
contemporary world is becoming multi- 
religious. In the United States there are 
nearly six million Muslims. Due to labour 
migration, foreign students, war refugees, 
and asylum seekers there are reportedly 
twenty million Muslims in western and 
Central Europe today. It is obvious that 
both in the United States and Europe, 
realistic policies are warranted. Islam has 
a positive role in the process of 

> February 2009 



globalization, and hostility against Islam 
and Muslims has to be stopped. Murad 
Hofmann, a former German Ambassador 
and convert to Islam, has shed light on 
the role of Islam in the globalizing age 
(Hofmann, 2000). 

The Challenges of Globalization to the 
Muslim World 

The discontents of the current cycle 
of globalization has been expressed by a 
number of scholars. J. Stiglitz, a winner of 
Nobel prize for economics in 2001, 
mentioned that the World Bank 
encouraged private sector to deal with the 
developing countries. The examples of 
contracts with Indonesia and Pakistan 
were cited, and it was stated that U.S. 
government put pressure on the 
governments of Indonesia and Pakistan 
to fulfill the unfair contracts. According to 
J. Stiglitz there is "in fact a long history of 
'unfair contracts' which western 
governments have used their muscle to 
enforce." (Stiglitz, 2002:71). 

Johnathan Sacks in his study also 
narrated the discontents of contemporary 
phase of globalization. He pleaded for the 
need of harmony and peace among world 
religions. He stated that "the concept of 
globalization is not new" and the process 
of globalization "goes back almost to the 
dawn of civilization." (2003: 26-31). 
Religion has held a central place in the 
phenomenon of globalization. 

The challenge of globalization to the 
Muslim world is not confined only to the 
economic aspects. Mahathir Mohamad, 
the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, in 
his "Globalisation and the New Realities" 

MINARET 1 



discussed the challenges to the Muslim 
world in great details. He traced the history 
of the present phase of globalization and 
suggested potent measures to offset the 
negative effects of globalization. The 
selected speeches of Mahathir Mohmad 
rightly provide the realities of the 
phenomenon of globalization. 

In the words of Mahathir Mohamad 
(2002: 19): "Muslims and Muslim countries 
are faced with a tremendous and 
frightening challenge. Globalisation in the 
form that it takes now is threat against us 
and our religion. We should not vent our 
anger and frustration by mounting futile 
isolated violence. Instead, we should plan 
and execute the development of our 
'Ummah' so as to be empowered by 
information technology and be capable of 
handling the challenges of the information 



What Mahathir said in 2002 has been 
proved the events since that time. It is 
reasonably clear in the first years of the 
twenty-first century that the stage has been 
set for the disintegration of Muslim societies 
through different techniques. Tendencies 
to social cohesion, integration and cultural 
homogenization of Muslim societies are 
now being displaced by counter-tendencies 
toward social fragmentation and 
polarisation, inequality, urban crisis, and 
above all political fragmentation. The 
current events in the Muslim world testify 
to these assertions. 

The challenges posed by 
contemporary globalization to social 
institutions are visible in Muslim countries. 
Globalization affects the state. The current 
political superstructure hinders 



February 2009 



Muslim majority states to implement 
policies according to the needs of the 
citizens. The decline in the role of family 
with regard to social control is on the 
increase. The crisis in educational system 
has encouraged the rise in social gap 
between rich and poor classes in society. 

Religion has the potential to strengthen 
state, family, and school and help ensure 
cohesion and improved social order in 
societies. 

The Future of Religion and 
Globalization 



The global resurgence of religion 
testifies that religion has a lasting role in 
the process of globalization. However, it 
is unfortunate that Islam has been targeted 
as an enemy of world peace. The present 
phase of globalization shows that western 
powers are influenced by the 'Clash of 
Civilizations' thesis put forth by Samuel P. 
Huntington. 

Huntington says: "The underlying 
problems of the West is not Islamic 
fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different 
civilization whose people are convinced 
of the superiority of their culture and are 
obsessed with the inferiority of their power. 
The problem of Islam is not the CIA or the 
U.S. Department of Defence. It is the West, 
a different civilization whose people are 
convinced of the universality of their culture 
and believe that their superior, if declining, 
power imposes on them the obligation to 
extend that culture throughout the world. 
These are the basic ingredients that fuel 
conflict between Islam and the West 
(Huntington, 1996:217-218)." 



MINARET 



Huntington's thesis has been 
subjected to critique by a number of serious 
scholars. They consider that peace of the 
world is in jeopardy if global conflict is 
continued to be fueled through such 
provocative theses. Scholarly approach 
calls for measures to promote serious 
dialogue between religions and 
civilizations. This approach demands that 
Islamization of Muslims societies is not 
opposed by the West. Besides, the current 
process of globalization has to desist the 
tempetation of McDonalization and cultural 
Americanization of the Muslim world. 

The contemporary political scenario, 
however, suggests that western states are 
not in a mood to find solutions to the basic 
causes of conflict between Islam and the 
West. Clearly, very little has changed since 
the Rushdie affair and the publication of 
infamous cartoons in the Danish 
newspaper 'Jyllands-Posten in Autumn 
2005. It is on record that in October 2005 
ambassadors from 11 Muslim countries 
requested a meeting with the Danish Prime 
Minister, asking him to distance himself 
from the cartoons in Jyllands-Posten. The 
Prime Minister refused the request on the 
grounds of freedom of the press. 

In the age of information technology 
it may be hard to hide the real reasons for 
the refusal by the Prime Minister. 

Presently, the urgency of the inter- 
faith dialogue can hardly be denied. In this 
context, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia 
held the first conference in Makkah al- 
Mukarramah in June 2008. It was followed 
by a second conference in Madrid during 
16-18 July, 2008. The third conference 
was held in New York during 13-14 

4 February 2009 



November 2008. Mr. George W. Bush 
participated in the New York conference. 
The efforts of King Abdullah are laudable. 
However the future of Islam in the 
contemporary process of globalization can 
hardly be secure when persons like Mr. 
Bush with a gory record of killing innocent 
Muslims are asked to contribute towards 
inter-faith dialogue. 

Amnesty International in a recent 
report mentioned that during the last five 
years there were 87135 casulties in Iraq, 
112,000 in Afghanistan, and 11800 in 
Pakistan. The death of these innocent 
citizens was traced to western forces and 
their allies. 

The facts just reported crystalize that 
whereas West favours the resurgence of 
other religions, it has reservations against 
the resurgence of Islam. The West has to 
grasp the positive role of Islam in the 
contemporary phase of globalization. It is 
time to allow religons, including Islam, to 
play a role in promoting world peace. A 
social-scientific discourse that is capable 
of taking aspirations of all religions into 
account is likely to secure the future of 
religion in the process of globalization. 

The future of Islam and the West lies 
in peaceful coexistance and not in the 
clash of civilizations. (Hunter, 1998). 

Conclusion 

Religion is a dynamic force in the 
process of globalization. In the present 
phase of globalization, religion and 
especially Islam, is not seen in a favourable 
light by the powerful West. It is the need 
of the hour to reestablish the genuine role 

MINARET 1 



of religion in the process of globalization. 
Muslim world and the West have majority 
of citizens who believe in two great 
religions - Islam and Christianity. These 
two religions have to strive towards peace 
in the world. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. Hofmann, Murad (2000) Islam the 
Alternative. Lahore: Suhail Academy. 

2. Hunter, Shireen T (1998) The Future 
of Islam and the West. London: Praeger. 

3. Huntington, Samuel P. (1996) The 
Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking 
of the world Order. New York: Simon and 
Schuster. 

4. Mahathir Mohamad (2002) 
Globalization and the New Realities. 
Subang Jaya: Pelanduk Publications. 

5. Pfaff, William (2001 ) The Question of 
Hegemony. Foreign Affairs, Vol. 80/1, pp. 
221-232. 

6. Mazrui, AN A. (1998) Globalization: 
Homogenization or Hegemonization. The 
American Journal of Islamic Social 
Sciences, Vol. 15/3, pp. 1-13. 

7. Sacks, Jonathan (2003) The Dignity 
of Difference - How to avoid Clash of 
Civilizations. London: Continum. 

8. Stiglitz, J. (2002) Globalization and its 
Discontents. London: Allen Lane. 

9. Woodward, Bob (2002) Bush at War. 
New York: Simon and Schuster. 

5 February 2009 



DEMOCRACY & JUSTICE IN ISLAM 



Mohammad Asghar Qureshi 



Islam is the most democratic religion 
of the world, placing all human beings on 
an equal footing, irrespective of caste or 
creed. Consequently, the constitution 
envisaged by this religion must be 
essentially democratic. Islamic democracy, 
however, differs from the western type of 
democracy on several important points as 
under- 
According to Islam the real sovereign 
is Allah, and His chosen deputies, known 
as caliphs or vicegerents, administer 
countries on His behalf and in His name. 
They are not independent rulers, as Heads 
of non-Muslim countries think they are. 
The Holy Qur'an repeatedly says that 
everything from the heavens to the earth 
belongs to God and there is none to share 
His power. 

"And Allah's is the Kingdom of the 
heavens and the earth, and to Allah is the 
eventual coming" (XXIV : 42). 

Command is only Allah's: He has 
commanded that ye shall not serve but 
Him" (XII-40). 

O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty! Thou 
givest sovereignty to whomsoever Thou 
pleasest and takes away sovereignty from 
whomsoever Thou pleasest and Thou 
exaltest whom Thou pleasest and Thou 
abases whom Thou pleasest. (111:26). 

Equality of mankind is one of the 
golden principles of Islam. The only 
difference between man and man lies in 
merit and conduct, as the Qur'an says: 



"O mankind! Lo We have created you 
male and female and have made you 
nations and tribes that ye may know one 
another. Lo! The noblest of you in the sight 
of Allah is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is 
the Knower and Aware" (XLIX : 13). 

Consequently, the criterion of fitness 
in an Islamic state is merit and worth, not 
birth or so called noble family. Unlike other 
religions Islam does not recognise any 
privileged group or class for special favour. 

The head of an Islamic state is 
required to have at least the following 
merits (i) learning (ii) justice (iii) good 
conduct; (iv) physical and mental fitness. 

The head of an Islamic state must 
invariably be a Muslim. The reason is that 
Islam is a complete code of life which 
covers all sorts of temporal and spiritual 
activities. A non-Muslim is not expected 
to do justice in those matters which are 
religious and spiritual. This is nothing 
unusual as in several countries a similar 
condition is imposed on heads of states. 
For example, in England it is essential that 
the sovereign must be a Christian, 
Protestant and a member of the Anglican 
Church. 

The head of an Islamic state is 
required to consult the responsible people 
in all important matters and all his actions 
must be in accordance with the Qur'an 
and the Sunnah. He must be strictly honest 
and upright and lead an exemplary life 
worthy of respect and obedience. "There 
is no obedience for him who disobeys 



MINARET 



February 2009 



God." 

Democracy ordinarily means 
government of a country by the majority 
of its population. But in Islamic democracy 
it is government of a Islamic country by 
the majority of its pious and God fearing 
Muslim population. The Quaid-e-Azam 
was perfectly right when he said in the 
course of his speech at Aligarh University 
on 6th March 1940: "I was told that I was 
guilty of disservice to Islam because Islam 
believes in democracy. So far as I have 
understood Islam, it does not advocate a 
democracy which would allow the majority 
of non-Muslims to decide the fate of 
Muslims. We cannot accept a system of 
government in which the non-Muslims 
merely by numerical majority would rule 
and dominate us." 

An Islamic state has a constitution of 
it's own. It is the Qur'an and the Sunnah. 
It is comprehensive and incorporates all 
the good points of the constitutions framed 
according to the laws of God. It is universal 
in spirit and liberal in outlook, based on 
equity and justice. 

The well-known Christian author of 
Egypt, late Jurji Zaidan, discussing the 
constitution of an Islamic state said: "The 
type of the government of the Righteous 
Caliphs unified all the three existing 
systems of administration. It was 
Republican as the Caliphs were elected 
from among the Muslims without any 
restriction; it was parliamentary as the 
Caliphs were elected by the majority of 
the Muslims of the state, and it was 
Monarchical as Caliphs after their elections 
to their office were competent enough to 
do what they intended to do. The author 
vide his book "History of Islamic 
Civilisation", however, adds that Caliph's 
decisions were subject to the condition 
that they did not violate the principles of 

MINARET 1 



Islam mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith. 
He also categorically states that the form 
of government in those days was better 
than other forms of governments prevailing 
in different countries of the world. 

An Islamic state is essentially a welfare 
state whose chief function is to serve 
mankind in general without any distinction 
of caste, creed or colour. Its first and 
foremost duty is to provide the necessities 
of life to all subjects living there, so that 
they have shelter, food and clothing. It 
aims at raising the standard of living and 
improving human character. An Islamic 
state, as a welfare state, guarantees social, 
economic and political justice to all its 
people and ensures fundamental rights 
for all them without any exception. It 
provides equality of status, quality before 
law, freedom of expression and liberty of 
conscience for all citizens without 
discrimination. Defining the Islamic state, 
Dr. Zaki Ali says: "The perfect Islamic state 
is republican in regime, divinely sanctioned 
in its law, inclusive in its citizenship, 
democratic in its society, religiously inspired 
in its constitution, supra national in its 
sovereignty, tempospiritual in its 
government and universal in its ideal." 

In Islam after obedience to Allah and 
His Prophet Muhammad (#) who is a 
perfect model for us for all walks of life, 
service to humanity gets first priority. A 
man is in distress. He needs help. A 
Muslim's first duty is to help this man 
irrespective of his colour, creed or 
nationality. Islam also lays great emphasis 
on tolerance. It never encourages its 
followers to overdo their action and to force 
their views on others. The Qur'an has 
asked us in a clear language that we must 
not overstep our jurisdiction to force our 
ideas upon the minds of those who differ 
with us: For you is your religion and for 
me is mine" (Al-Qur'an CIX. 51). 

1 February 2009 



The Caliphs and kings of Islam in 
various capitals of the world had several 
non-Muslims in their courts and service, 
but seldom do we come across a Caliph 
having coerced a non-Muslim to renounce 
his faith and to accept Islam. A prominent 
Hindu historian, Ishwari Parshad in his 
history books, writes, "The Arab 
administration in India was mild and 
humane and the temples of the Hindus 
were not molested. An informal survey of 
Muslim rule in India reveals that it was not 
only tolerant but also beneficent. Muslims 
ruled India for seven hundred years, but 
India and, particularly, its Capital, Delhi, 
remained a city of Hindus and not of 
Muslims. 

The Prophet of Islam (#) issued a 
Medina Charter known as Magna Carta 
of Islam about fifteen centuries ago 
granting fundamental rights to the whole 
of mankind without any distinction of 
religion, creed, caste, colour, language 
etc. 

The Charter proclaimed the principle 
of civic equality, the rule of law, freedom 
of worship and religious tolerance. This 
Charter will remain a beacon of light for 
all the countries of the world for all times. 

Devotion to the Lord of the universe 
and service to His creatures are two basic 
principles of Islam. Consequently the head 
of an Islamic state must see that the people 
living there discharge their responsibilities 
towards God on the one hand and perform 
their duties towards their fellow beings on 
the other. He is answerable to the Almighty 
for the welfare of his people. His main duty 
is to preserve peace — and tranquillity in 
the country and adopt appropriate 
measures to make his people happy and 
prosperous. 

If he neglects his duty either towards 
MINARET 1 



the Creator or towards the people under 
his charge, he is sure to incur the Divine 
wrath in this world and Hereafter. In no 
case should the head of an Islamic state 
allow himself to be influenced by personal 
or family considerations in the 
administration of the country. He must be 
impartial in his judgement and accord 
equal treatment to all the people, rich and 
poor, high and low. Economic security and 
welfare of the people is his special 
responsibility. 

In the Muslim society, there is no 
exploitation of one class by another. Islam 
discourages amassing of wealth. If few 
have in abundance, none should go 
hungry. Islam favour trade but faithful are 
enjoined not to indulge in any unfair 
practices. It is the foremost duty of an 
Islamic democratic state to create such 
an egalitarian society in which there is no 
distinction between high and low and all 
live a blissful and meaningful life. And if 
any surplus is left over with any one, that 
should be utilized, in the service of virtue, 
righteousness, public welfare and in 
rendering assistance to persons who have 
been unable to secure their due share 
adequate to their needs. That should be 
done as a moral strategy. 

Islam prescribes a middle course 
between the course of denying the 
fulfillment of legitimate needs and 
enjoyment of God's bounty and wasteful 
preoccupation with material things. The 
high standard that is set for the Muslims 
is described in the following verses of 
Qur'an. 

"Eat & drink: but waste not by excess, 
for God loveth not wasters." (VII. 31). 

"Thus We have made you a people 
justly balanced (of the middle Path) so 
that you could be a witness (an example 

I February 2009 



to people) & (just as) the Prophet (#) is 
to you" (The Qur'an II: 143). 

The truth is that we are instinctively 
more inclined to pleasures than to their 
opposites and are ruptured by 
extravagance and ostentation than to 
decorate at a moderate scale. As a people 
we are living beyond our means. We 
believe in enviable palatial buildings, using 
imported cars, flashy Honda Accords and 
Mercedes, holding lavish weddings 
ceremonies and other such functions. 

Islam teaches us self-control and lays 
emphasis on simple and frugal living free 
from all ostentation and sense of pride. 
Learned Scholar Mohammed Asad has 
admirably summed up the Islamic concept 
of life as a well balanced harmonious 
totality, which cannot be bifurcated into 
the physical and the spiritual. 

The trouble is that the new trend of 
material advancement has completely 
taken hold of the modern mind. The higher 
values of mind and spirit have been 



discarded by the people. Consequently 
we have been demoralised. 

The goal of our practical activities 
should have been the creation and 
maintenance of such social conditions as 
might be helpful for the development of 
moral stamina in man. Let us ask 
ourselves: Do our individual life plans make 
a universal humane, well-balanced society 
in which art and science, truthfulness and 
beauty, religion and security enrich 
mankind? Do our public life plans make 
for the fulfillment and renewal of the human 
person, so that they will bear fruit in a life 
abundant; ever more significant, ever more 
valuable, ever more deeply experienced 
and widely shared? All these questions 
suggest that we should build balanced 
personal abilities that will be capable of 
drawing upon immense stores of energy, 
knowledge and wealth with out being 
demoralised by them. These are as 
important requisites of democracy in Islam 
as are justice and equality. 

(Courtesy: DAWN) 



vk? 



February 2009 



No terrorism in Islam 



Bilal Ahmed Malik 



TODAY the greatest problem which 
Islam is facing is its presumed linkage with 
terrorism. It is very disturbing to note that 
an impression is there among western 
nations and countries that Islam is a militant 
religion and it was spread by swords and 
still its religious theory is based on 
fundamentalism and on so-called terrorism. 

Islam is misrepresented by western 
media in this regard. It is very ironical that 
western pundits linked the most peaceful 
religion of the world with terrorism and 
violence. They always projects Muslims 
as aggressors, tyrants and despots who 
trampled the human rights under their feet. 

As far as Islam is concerned, it is a 
religion which promotes peace and 
condemns terrorism. It is a tolerant religion 
and there is no room for terrorism and 
violence. Islam is a religion that has held 
terrorism as inadmissable from the outset. 
Islam has been an upholder of peace, not 
terrorism, from day one. Islam desires 
peace to prevail in the world. The Qur'an 
calls the ways of Islam as the paths of 
peace (5:16). 

It is mere ignorance of Islamic 
teachings that leads the West to promote 
propaganda against Islam and against its 
stand on peace. Islam has always 
projected universal peace for humanity, 
peace which is to be observed and 
respected in all circumstances, irrespective 
of whether a person live in or outside the 
territory of the Islamic state and whether 
he is at peace or at war with the state. 

MINARET 2 



Human blood is sacred and may not be 
spilled without justification, it is not 
permissable to oppress women, children 
old people, the sick or wounded; a 
woman's honour and chastity must be 
respected in all circumstances, the naked 
clothes the wounded or diseased treated 
medically, and the hungry must be fed. 

Islam is a religion which teaches non- 
violence. According to the Qur'an, God 
does not love 'fasad' and violence. What 
is meant here by 'fasad' is clearly 
expressed in Qur'an. Basically, fasad is 
that action which results in disruption of 
the social system, causing huge loss in 
terms of life and property. We can say with 
certainty that God abhors violent activity 
being indulged in human society, as a 
result of which people have to pay the 
price with their possessions and lives. This 
is supported by other statements in the 
Qur'an. For instance, we are told in the 
Qur'an that peace is one of the God's 
name (59:23) 

At no place Islam promotes the killing 
of the innocent and allow the destruction 
of public and private property. At no point 
Islam preaches to disturb the social order 
of the society by promoting violence and 
terrorism. In fact contrary to this, Islam is 
a religion of peace and protection of life, 
property and social order is one of the 
rights of individual, Islam want to establish 
at all costs. To start with let's take a look 
on Islamic teachings regarding right to life. 
The right to life in Islam is so much 
protected and emphasise that no one has 

) February 2009 



the right to violate any one's right to life in 
this regard. The Holy Qur'an says. "Do not 
kill a soul, which Allah had made sacred 
except through the due process of law" 
(6:151). 

In another verse Allah says. "Not take 
life which Allah had made sacred except 
for just cause". (17:33) The Holy Quran 
says, "If any one slew a person unless it 
is for murder or for spreading mischief in 
the land, it would be as he had slewed the 
whole humanity". (5:32) 

Prophet Muhammad (#) is reported 
to have said. "One who kills a man under 
covenant (a non-Muslim citizen of an 
Islamic state) will not even smell the frag- 
rance of paradise." (Sahih Bukhari) 

Even in a state of war, Muslims are 
not allowed to kill the opponent in a 
barbarious manner. Prophet Muhammad 
(#) said on Ghazwa that "if you want to 
kill, kill by a fair way". Islam not only 
secures the life of its people but also 
guarantees the protection of their property. 
Such a guarantee of protection of life is 
laid on the lawful property gained through 
reliable sources. Prophet Muhammad (#) 
in his farewell address, said, "Your lives 
and property are forbidden to one another 
and to you until you meet your Lord on 
the day of Judgment. "(Sahih Muslim) 

During the caliphate of Hazrat Umar 
(RDA) "a Syrian cultivator complained that 
the army had trampled down his crops, 
and the caliph at once ordered for the 
payment of ten thousand dirhams to him 
as compensation out of baitual Mai". 



The Holy Qur'an places great 
emphasis on just dealings so that every 
one gets his due rights related to property 
and honour. It says, "O ye who believe 
stand out firmly for Allah as witness, to fair 
dealing and let not the hatred of others to 
you make you swerer to do wrong and 
depart from justice. Be just, that is next to 
piety and fear Allah. For Allah is well 
acquainted with all that you do." (5:8) 

Islam promotes social harmony and 
justice. Violent and terrorist activties breed 
hatred in society, while non-violent activities 
elicit love. Terrorism is the way of 
destruction while peace is the way of 
construction. In an atmosphere of violence, 
it is enemity which flourishes while in an 
atmosphere of peace, it is friendship which 
flourishes. The method of violence gives 
way to negative values while the method 
of non-violence is marked by positive 
values. According to the teachings of Islam 
human beings are to be respected despite 
their differences. 

Even when antagonism is displayed, 
we have to adopt the way of avoiding 
conflict and continue to show peaceful 
behaviour. The Quran and other divine 
scriptures testify that peace is the core 
message of Islam. Let us all strive then to 
establish peace in the world for that is the 
bedrock on which all human progress 
rests. In order to preserve the peace, 
established by nature, from disruption, 
importance should be given to the 
injunctions which have been laid down by 
the Qur'an and Sunnah. (Courtesy: DAWN) 



MINARET 



February 2009 



Islamic concept of 
management 



MANAGEMENT has now been 
defined as "getting things done through 
others. "Following this cocept, a manager 
is understood as one who works through 
others. And a good manager is considered 
to be the one who knows not only what is 
to be done but also how to get it done. 

The Holy Qur'an says: "And we raised 
some of them over others in rank so that 
some of them take work from others". 
(43:32) The verse explains in a nutshell 
as to why Allah raised some people over 
others in rank. 

This, according to the verse, has a 
definite object and that is that those placed 
in higher ranks are able to take work from 
those placed in lower ranks under them. 

The verse, inter alia, encompasses 
the whole philosophy of modern 
management. It amphasises, in essence, 
the creation of appropriate hierarchies and 
the division of responsibilities, with those 
in the higher ranks charged with the 
responsibility of taking work from those in 
the lower ranks. This, in other words, 
implies the creation of organisations with 
appropriate hierarchies. 

Thus what is called the most modern 
concept of management was, in fact, 
spelled out by the Qur'an in clear terms 
more than fourteen hundred years ago, 
and also the institutional framework, 
namely, the organisation with hierarchies, 
and other elements for putting that concept 
into practice. Those elements are: 
Obediency to and respect for authority: 

MINARET 2 



could be the basic requirement of taking 
work from others. Those from whom work 
is taken must obey all lawful and 
reasonable orders of those who are 
charged with the responsibility of taking 
work from them if the work is to be done 
in a proper way. 

Working through people, in fact, 
presupposes that willingness of people to 
obey the orders of those who work through 
them. 

The Qur'an says: "Obey Allah and His 
Messenger and those in position of 
authority among you" (4:59). The verse 
as may be seen, gives the highest possible 
priority to obedience to persons in authority. 

It, in essence, promotes the spirit of 
voluntary obedience. By doing so it 
strengthens the scope of hierarchy as 
envisaged by the above verse (43:32). 
Without the spirit of voluntary obedience 
among those who work, the creation of 
hierarchy will not serve any purpose. 

Joint consultation and team work: the 
modern world realised the importance of 
joint consultation and team work when the 
Japanese management style proved to be 
one of the most effective in the world. Joint 
consultation with team work as its hallmark 
is one of the main features of Japanese 
management style. 

To many in the world it seems to be a 
new technique. But very few may be aware 
that the Qur'an advocated this concept 
fourteen hundred years ago when, while 

3 February 2009 



enumerating some of the attributes of true 
believers, it said "and those who do their 
work through mutual consultation" (42:83) 
and also adviced the Prophet to consult 
his companions in the conduct of affairs 
(3 : 159). 



Principles of equal opportunity: an 
important principle on which the success 
of management process largely depends 
is the principle of equal opportunities. It 
postulates that all the members of an 
organisation shall have the same or similar 
opportunities to work to get developed, to 
grow, to contribute and be accordingly 
rewarded. 

The Qur'an lays due emphasis on the 
observance of this principle when it says 
"O people We created you from a single 
male and female couple and then divided 
you in nations and tribes so that you may 
recognise one another. Verily the most 
honourable among you in the sight of Allah 
is he who is most righteous of you" (49:1 3). 
Explaining the above verse on the occasion 
of Hajat-al-Wida, the Prophet (#) said: "In 
the light of this Qur'anic verse no Arab has 
any superiority over a non-Arab nor any 
non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab. 
Neither black is superior to white nor white 
is superior to black. Of course, if there is 
any criterion of superiority and 
respectability in the sight of Allah it is 
Taqwa (righteousness)" 

It means that despite being basically 
equal, the human beings can yet excel 
each other in certain aspects of life. 

One such aspect as pointed out by 
the Qur'an could be honoured in the sight 
of Allah the criteria for which according to 
the said verse, could be righteousness, a 



standard which everyone can possibly 
attain if he so desires. 

There can be no better pattern of equal 
opportunities than the one spelled out by 
the above Qur'anic verse. In the realm of 
management, it would mean that the 
criteria for entitlement to any benefit, 
reward, position or status shall be such 
that any one having the requisite 
qualifications and experience should have 
an equal opportunity to get or attain it. This 
will obviously go a long way towards 
maintaining the requisite degree of 
harmony in the work environment 
conducive to the smooth working of the 
management process. 

Motivation and commitment: making 
people do what they are supposed to do, 
interalia, requires a certain degree of 
commitment which can be achieved only 
when they are duly motivated. It is an 
established fact that the way a manager 
behaves or deals with the subordinates 
determine the level and vitality of their 
motivation and commitment to a great 
extent. 

One is compassionate and sympa- 
thetic behaviour towards the companions 
and followers and the other is the adoption 
of participative approach in dealing with 
them which means consulting them and 
allowing them to participate in taking certain 
decisions. 

Both of these elements can play vital 
role in motivating subordinates and 
inculcating in them the spirit of commitment 
in the employment and any work situation 
and can, therefore, be of utmost 
importance to the success of management 
process. (Courtesy: DAWN) 



February 2009 



Rise, fall and rise of science 

Michael Woods 



Islamic medicine and science led the 
world for centuries while Europe stagnated 
in the Dark Ages. From 800 AD to 1 500, 
Arabic was the language of science, as 
English is today. Muslims occupied Spain 
and Europeans flocked to Toledo and other 
Spanish cities, or travelled great distances 
to Baghdad or Damascus, to translate 
Islamic science and medical books into 
Latin. 

Islamic medicine in the year 1000 was 
a marvel of sophistication, featuring 
competency tests for doctors, drug purity 
regulations, hospitals staffed by nurses 
and interns, advanced surgeries, and other 
practices beyond the dreams of medieval 
Europeans. 

So why is much of today's Islamic 
world a "scientific desert," to use the stark 
language of a 2002 article in the journal 
Nature? Why do many predominantly 
Muslim countries, home to 1.3 billion 
people and 75 per cent of the world's oil 
wealth, neglect science and technology? 
And how might they recapture their 
amazing scientific heritage? 

These questions have resounded at 
international Arab and Islamic scientific 
conferences and have made headlines in 
science journals. Here is how the Nature's 
article summed up the situation in the 
Middle East, for instance: 

"The region is, for the most part, a 
scientific desert. In some states, oil wealth 
has allowed the construction of fabulous 



cities, magnificent mosques and 
sumptuous shopping malls. But little 
scientific infrastructure has emerged. 
Collectively, the Arab nations spend only 
0.15 per cent of their gross domestic 
product on research and development, 
well below the world average of 1 .4 per 
cent." 

Muslims account for 20 per cent of 
the world's population, but less than one 
per cent of its scientists. Scientists in 
Islamic countries now make barely 0.1 per 
cent of the world's original research 
discoveries each year. 

Authorities on Islamic science cite 
various reasons for this state of affairs, 
but the Holy Qur'an is not among them. 
"The Qur'an actually forms one of the 
cornerstones of science in Islam in a way 
unlike any other scripture of any other 
religion, "said Glen. M. Cooper, a professor 
of the history of science and Islam at 
Brigham Young University. 

"The Qur'an enjoins the believer and 
the unbeliever alike to examine nature for 
signs of the creator's handiwork, evidence 
of His existence, and His goodness," 
Cooper said. "Reason is revered as one 
of the most important of God's gifts to 
men. The examination of nature led 
historically into a scientific perspective and 
programme." 

Farkhonda Hassan, a professor at the 
University of Cairo who has written about 
barriers to science careers for Islamic 



February 2009 



women, agreed. "The teachings of the 
Holy Prophet (#) of Islam emphasize the 
acquiring of knowledge as bounden duty 
of each Muslim from the cradle to grave, 
and that the quest for knowledge and 
science is obligatory upon every Muslim 
man and woman, "she said. "One eighth 
— that is 750 verses of the Qur'an exhort 
believers to study, to reflect, and to make 
the best use of reason in their search for 
the ultimate truth. "Search they once did. 

The Rise of Islamic Science 

After the passing away of Prophet 
Muhammad (#) in 632, Muslim armies 
swept out of the Arabian Peninsula and 
expanded the borders of Islam East and 
West. They absorbed not just land, but 
also scientific knowledge. Muslims 
translated into Arabic the treasures of 
Hippocrates, Aristotle, Archimedes and 
other great physicians, philosophers and 
scientists. 

By 711, the Muslims had reached 
Spain, and they ended up dominating the 
region until Catholic monarchs Ferdinand 
and Isabella drove out the last of them in 
1492. 

The impact of Islam's discoveries 
during this period went far beyond 
individual innovations like algebra or the 
establishment of models for modern 
hospitals and universities. The spread of 
Islamic knowledge to Europe sparked, or 
at least helped spark, the Renaissance 
and scientific revolution of the 1 7th century. 
"It is highly probable that, but for the Arabs, 
modern European civilization would never 
have arisen at all, "Sir Thomas Arnold and 
Alfred Guillamume wrote in their 1997 
classic, The Legacy of Islam. 

Robert Briffault wrote in the Making 



of Humanity in 1938: "Spain, not Italy, was 
the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After 
steadily sinking lower and lower into 
barbarism, it had reached the darkest 
depth of ignorance and degradation when 
cities of the Saracenic world, Baghdad, 
Cairo, Cordoba, and Toledo, were growing 
centres of civilization and intellectual 
activity. It was there that the new life arose 
which was to grow into a new phase of 
human evolution." 

Yet most American are completely 
unaware of Islam's rich scientific heritage, 
said George Saliba, a professor of Arabic 
and Islamic science at Columbia University, 
and more than a dozen other experts 
interviewed for this article. 

"That is unfortunate, "Cooper said. 
"Much of our modern science and 
philosophy owes a large debt to Islamic 
civilization during the Middle Ages for 
preserving the classical heritage in all 
intellectual fields, and for improving upon 
it in many of these fields. If the average 
American understood this, there would be 
fewer smug citizens looking down on 
'backward Muslims' with hate and fear." 

Two reasons Americans are relatively 
clueless on the subject are the Arabic- 
English language barrier and a long 
tradition of US historians focusing on 
European scientific traditions, said Jeffry 
Oaks of the University of Indianapolis. 

"Anything not taught in high schools 
is going to escape public consciousness, 
"added Thomas. F. Glick, and expert on 
Islamic history at Boston University. 

Some historians from mainly Islamic 
countries see it differently, though, "We 
believe that, for dishonourable purposes, 
there is in the West an intention to ignore 



February 2009 



the important scientific role played by 
Muslim scholars during the medieval age," 
said Abdul Nasser Kaadan, a professor 
with the Institute for the History of Arabic 
Science at the University of Aleppo in 
Syria. "This is to support the allegation 
that Muslim and Arabic mentality never in 
the past and not in the future can lead any 
scientific research." 

Explaining The Decline 

So what happened to the once glorious 
scientific legacy of Islam and Arabia? 
Experts cite many factors. Universities 
were an Islamic invention later adopted in 
Europe, but Muslim universities did not 
shelter and preserve scientific knowledge 
during wars and other upheavals. Christian 
warriors carved up the Islamic empire and 
cut off contact between great scientific 
centres. In Spain, the Catholic reconquest 
of Ferdinand and Isabella deprived Islamic 
science of the great libraries and schools 
in Cordoba, Seville and Toledo. 

Conflicts also cut off science's 
lifeblood — cash for research and 
education. And the Ottomans, who took 
over resources to make war, not sciences. 

In the 1700's, a puritanical form of 
Islam took root in Saudi Arabia, with a 
doctrine that rejected knowledge acquired 
after the first 300 years of Islam's 
existence. Several scholars said one 
problem is the lack of awareness among 
Arabs and Muslims about their own 
scientific heritage. 

"Muslims generally are unaware that 
their civilization had a high point of 
superiority in nearly every aspect, "Cooper 
said. "Their current challenge is to face 
the fact that the Islamic edge has been 
completely lost. 



"It would be a hard thing, I think, to be 
part of a religion and culture with such a 
glorious history as that of Islam, when that 
glory is all in the distant past, and an 
essentially godless civilization — from their 
perspective — enjoys the lead in power 
and science." 

Eventually, in the United States and 
Europe, science began paying some of its 
own bills. Inventions like the telephone, 
radio, plastic and antibiotics led industry 
to pour billions into scientific research. In 
much of the Arab world, science remained 
dependent on the handouts from sultans, 
kings or caliphs. 

"Science and scientific research can 
flourish only when a country is affluent 
and has a sound an balanced economy," 
said Ahmad. Y. al-Hasan, also a faculty 
member of the Arabic science institute at 
the University of Aleppo. "But when 
agriculture is the dominant sector, then a 
country will remain poor, and when 
petroleum is the only source of income, 
then this economy in the long run also is 
doomed." 

Other also cited Arab oil wealth, and 
how rulers spend and invest their billions. 
"They probably would have been better 
off without their mineral resources," said 
J.J. Witkam of Leiden University in the 
Netherlands. "It is a corrupting element in 
any society. But when societies are so 
unbalanced as most Islamic countries are, 
then it gets cancerous proportions. 

The UNDP called oil wealth" a mixed 
blessing" in a 2003 report that called on 
Arab countries to reclaim their scientific 
heritage. It focussed on the 22 members 
of the League of Arab States and their 280 
million people. 



MINARET 



February 2009 



UNDP pointed out that Arab rulers 
invest much of their oil money in the United 
States and other foreign countries, rather 
than using it to develop their own nations, 
and import technical know-how instead of 
educating ample numbers of their own 
citizens to be scientists and engineers. 
The report also cited "the pursuit of 
personal gain, the preference for the 
private over the public good, social and 
moral corruption, the absence of honesty 
and accountability and many other 
illnesses." 

Experts also link the stagnation of 
Islamic science to a movement that took 
root more than a century ago that contends 
all knowledge can be found in the Qur'an. 
Meanwhile, the industrialized world has 
been moving towards a "knowledge 
society" fueled by information and liberal 
education. 

Signs of Rebirth 

The UNDP report also described 
what's needed to re-energize scientific 
inquiry in Arab and Islamic societies. It 
included relatively straightforward 
suggestions like spending more on 
scientific research and ordinary education 
rather than religious schools. Other 
recommendations would involve 
reinventing new systems of government 
in some countries. One called for 
"guaranteeing the key freedom of opinion, 
speech, and assembly through good 
governance bounded by law." Some 
involved correcting tenacious problems 
like poverty and unemployment. 

"Our civilization once supported a 
knowledgeable society that was the envy 
of the world," said Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, 
a UN assistant secretary general who 
helped to prepare the report. "They will do 



so again if we clear away the defective 
social, economic and political structures 
we have piled up upon them. We can free 
our minds to reasons without fear, free our 
people's souls to breathe." 

Columbia University's Saliba echoed 
the need of focus on education. "What's 
needed to increase research in Islamic 
countries?" He asked. "The same thing 
that is needed in any other country: priority 
on education, funding, training of teachers, 
building better relations between school 
and home, educating the parents, 
allocating higher budgets for education 
than for defence — a situation that is not 
too different from what we face in this 
country, as well." 

Arab scientists and governments are 
making some progress. In the year 2000, 
a group of leading scientists formed the 
Arab science and Technology Foundation 
in Sharjah, U.A.E. The emirates are among 
a handful of Arab countries — which 
include Egypt, Pakistan, and Jordan — 
that are investing more in science 
education and research. Sheikh Sultan 
Bin Muhammad Al-Qassimi, the ruler of 
Sharjah, donated $ 1 million from his own 
pocket to start the science foundation and 
provided its $ 5-million headquarters 
building. The foundation hopes to raise 
$100 million so it can provide research 
grants and encourage Arab scientists in 
other countries to return home. 

"The pendulum can swing back, "wrote 
Ibrahim. B. Syed of the University of 
Louisville in an article about Islamic 
medicine. Islamic countries have the 
opportunity and resources to make Islamic 
science and medicine number one in their 
world once again." (Courtesy: Pittsburgh 
Post Gazette) 



February 2009 



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