The Real Problem
The real problem before Islam now is not that of moral degeneration or slackness in matters of Prayer or other supererogatory observances or disregard of religious practices or imitation of foreigners. These are important things, no doubt, but the real and foremost issue which has worked itself up like a mighty tidal wave and is striking directly at Islam’s roots is one of belief and disbelief. This will determine whether Islam survives in the world or is cast away instead like an old garment. The battle that is being fought today in the Muslim World is between Western materialism and Islam, the last of the Messages from God. on one side there is agnosticism and on the other Divine Law. I believe this it the last struggle between Religion and irreligiousness after which the world will swing full-scale towards one side or the other.
The Jihad of today, the greatest need of the present hour, is to repulse this storm of atheism, nay, to go ahead and make a direct assault at the very heart of it. The chief task of religious renovation in modern times likes in the revival of Faith among the young and educated classes of the Ummah in the basic tenets of Islam, in its moral and spiritual scheme of things and in the Apostleship of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). There can be on better deed or worship today than to release the educated young of the intellectual and psychological confusion and frustration they are going through and to satisfy them mentally with regard to Islam. The basic characteristics of paganism that have dug themselves into their minds must be weeded out to make room for the spiritual truths of Islam.
For a full century the West has been preying on the hearts and minds of Muslims. It has played havoc with its scepticism, doubt and disbelief. Transcendental truths have been tramped underfoot by the materialistic concepts of political science and economics. We have watched all this like mere spectators, heedless of what it was leading to. We sat pretty on what our ancestors had left behind to us and did not realise that it was essential to bring it into conformity with the changing pattern of time. Furthermore, we made no effort to really understand the thought-process the West had released. We never critically examined Western philosophy and its way of life. Our time was wasted in superficial discussions and, now, after the passage of a century, the time has come when the foundations of the Faith itself are in danger and a generation has come up which has very little real trust in the spiritual values of life.
The Call of Faith
The crying need of the hour is to call Muslims back to Faith. The rallying cry of this new religious endeavour should be: “Let us re-create Faith in Islam.” But more slogan-raising will avail nothing. WE have to think of a way though which to approach the inner selves of the ruling sections of the contemporary Muslim World so that they can be brought back to Islam.
Today, Islam needs workers who are ready to dedicate their entire resources and abilities, their learning, their time their money and their energy to its cause; people who will not any heed to the attractions of worldly advancement. They must be wholly free from malice, bearing no grudge against anyone. They should serve, but take no service from others; give and not take. Their conduct, of course, should be different from that of political workers who are motivated mainly by lust for power. Sincerity should be their habit, and freedom from every kind of self-seeking vanity and prejudice their chief mark of distinction.
Furthermore, we require such academies which may produce a literature forceful and inspiring enough to bring the educated youth back to Islam in its wider sense, emancipating them from the bondage of Western ideology which they have thoughtlessly accepted mainly under the stress of the times— a literature that can lay down the foundations of Islam anew in their minds and provide healthy, whole some food for their souls. For this task, many devoted scholars are needed in every nook and corner of the Muslim World, scholars… who will not leave the intellectual front of the battle till the last shot is fired.
For my part, I want to state clearly that I have never been one of those who believe in the separation of Religion from politics or one who seeks to interpret Religion (Islam) in a way that it may fit into every pattern of life. Nor do I belong to that category of theologians, who include politics among the ‘condemned tribe of the Qur’-an’. I am second to none in my desire to see the development of proper political consciousness and learningship among Muslims everywhere. I believe that a theocratic society cannot be established without the ascendancy of Religion and this resting on a political structure based on the precepts of Islam.
The question, however, is one of precedence, of first things first, and of the exigencies of time. So far, our time and our energies have been directed towards political and agitational activities. This was done primarily on the assumption that the condition of the Ummah was sound so far as Faith was concerned. Leadership was in the hands of the Muslims themselves and the ruling classes were alive to their responsibilities towards Islam and eager to bring about its victory in the world. But now the state of affairs is just the reverse of this. The Ummah has suffered a serious degeneration both morally and spiritually without even being actually aware of it. Speaking in a general way, its educated and privileged sections have almost been weaned away from the Faith by Western ideas and they are, so to speak, openly in revolt against the basic ideology of Islam, thinking that what they have borrowed from the West represents the sine qua non of truth and progress and that unless society is reorganised in the light of material concepts there can be no hope for the future. They are pushing forward the Western way of life with all the enthusiasm of new converts, and, in the process, bringing the whole of the Muslim Ummah very close to atheism. it is a different matter that some of them want to hurry through the process while others believe in a more graduated course. The modes of their approach are also different. But so far as their destination is concerned, it is the same with all of them.