|the-south-asian.com DECEMBER 2001|
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DECEMBER 2001 Contents
The 'middle way' of Islam
Bin Ladenís self-selected messiahism is too opportunistic and shallow to become a political movement of a revolutionary sentiment among the dispossessed Muslims of the world. He has gathered the delusion of strength and stumbled over the invention of ideology based on a religious populism in an ocean of illiteracy and abject poverty. And he has gone wild.
Terrorism without an historical juncture supporting a
movement for change is just thatóterrorism. It can shake the world for a
moment or two, but it is easily killed. His legacy of terror, which also
victimised the poor, uneducated and downtrodden Muslims of the world,
vanished in the caves of darkness and despair. He brought wretchedness to
proud but hungry and abused Afghans, with his empty slogans and his money
and showed them a new hell where bombs and chocolates fall from the skies.
We Muslims cannot keep blaming the West for all our ills. We have to first get our own house in order before we can even make any credible struggle possible to rid us of ignorance, living-in-the-past chest thumping and intolerance of the modern world.
The embarrassment of wretchedness among us is beyond
repair. It is not just the poverty, the illiteracy and the absence of any
commonly accepted social contract that defines our sense of wretchedness;
it is, rather, the increasing awareness among us that we have failed as a
civil society by not confronting the historical, social and political
demons within us.
The social and political acquiescence to this condition by
the vast majority of our people has given rise to cultural paralysis and a
totally bogus interpretation of Islam based on self-serving political
agendas. Without a reformation in the practice of Islam that makes it move
forward and not backward, there is no hope for us Muslims anywhere. We
have reduced Islam to the organised hypocrisy of state-sponsored mullahism.
For more than a thousand years Islam has stood still because the mullahs,
who became de facto clergy instead of genuine scholars, closed the door on
ijtehad and no one came forward with a dynamic and evolving application of
the message of the Holy Quran. All that the mullahs tell you today is how
to go back a millennium and more. We have not been able to evolve a
dynamic practice to bring Islam to the people in the language of their own
specific era. Little wonder, therefore, that the bulk of our mullahs are
illiterate in any modern or ancient sense of the word. They are simply
illiterate. Period. Oxford and Cambridge were the 'madrasas' of
Christendom in the 13th century. Look where they are today - among the
leading institutions of education in the world. Where are our institutions
The basis of ignorant mullahism issues from a fundamental
debasement of the human being. Ours is an ongoing inquisition that thrives
on ignorance and poverty. The pathetic ruling elites of the Muslim world
remain trapped in their own abandonment of any knowledge about Islam. The
likes of Bin Laden cannot lead all of us to a barbaric social order and
call it Islam. Most Muslims live in the dark ages already. The last thing
they need is the growing darkness of Bin Ladenís caves and the stale
intellect that is anti-human and anti-progress.
In verse 143 in Sura Al-Bacarah (the Cow), the Almighty says: "And thus have we willed you to be a community of the middle way." It is this God-ordained 'middle way' that we Muslims have lost. And we must find it in harmony with today's and tomorrow's hope for moderation and a better quality of life for us all.
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