It is becoming increasingly common amongst Western media pundits, and their attendant Liberal sycophants from the Muslim community (e.g. Quilliam Foundation, MECO etc), to cite that the problem with the Muslim world is the erroneous interpretations of Islam. This is then followed by a call for an ‘Islamic Reformation’, and the blaming of terrorism, backwardness and sectarian conflict solely upon the doorstep of Islam.
Anyone who studies sociology, history, anthropology and politics immediately sees a problem with this. Because all the problems in the Muslim world are actually 100% explainable due to these fields of study, not theology. This is evidenced that humans in other parts of the world, including those from Secular societies, when subject to the same political, social and economic circumstances as the Muslim world, behaved virtually identically (and perhaps worse)- an observation backed up by the latest ‘extremism’ research (read: A Decade Lost – Rethinking Radicalisation and Extremism by the Claystone Institute).
Of course there is a problem with the Muslim world, in fact two problems – one the cause of another. The problem with the Muslim world is the decline of the intellect and the rise of shallow thinking, which is causing the second problem – the lack of the implementation of Islam, both at state level, and consequently, at the social level.
This is not the first time people have made an inaccurate observation about human history and geopolitics. Secular historians love to blame the european dark ages on Christianity – despite the fact that the Western Roman Empire was Christian before it fell, and what took over europe was marauding barbarian hordes! What do you think was going to happen when Europe fell to the anarchy of competing tribal leaders and warlords? The European dark ages was the product of the fall of the roman empire NOT Christianity. In fact, the Catholic Church built the first European modern universities, and generated hundreds of the first scientists, many of whom were members of the Catholic clergy. The European Renaissance was funded, patronised and promoted by the Catholic Church! Of course, Secular historians white-wash over this and spin the darks ages to support their arguments against religion. The backward Christians of European dark ages, were actually the descendants of the barbarian tribes that conquered and divided the Roman Empire into pieces – coming from an ignorant and shallow-thinking background, consequently, their conversion to Christianity brought all their old baggage with it. They were superstitious, unsubtle, respected only power and ‘honour’, and lived for no higher ideals than survival and prestige. This is what we call in Islam ‘jahilliyyah’ [Ignorance]. It is the Islamic word for what we consider to be ‘Anarchy’.
Likewise, the Muslim world (as well as the Chinese Civilisation) reached a state of equilibrium – optimal success, wealth and riches, which unfortunately over many generations created lazy, lethargic and ignorant generations who were content to bask in the accumulated wealth and power of their ancestors. Consequently, the Islamic civilisation lost its dynamism and ability to pro-actively create change and create solutions. This would have ultimately self-corrected if it hadn’t been for european colonialisation, wars and invasions – which destroyed the Ottoman Caliphate, the Mughal Sultanate and other Muslim lands, dismantling the Islamic education systems in these countries, cutting Muslims off from accessing 1000 years of Islamic thought and scholarship. The new generations of Muslims, under Western imposed education systems, promoted secularism and nationalism as the solution for the Muslim world. Once a crop of pro-western Muslims were created, the West could relinquish power to them, in return for creating a new [and exclusive] market for their exports, and a new source of cheap raw materials for their imports. Many Muslim countries, once given independence, adopted (and copied and pasted) wholesale chunks of their constitutions from France, Belgium and many other European countries. However, in order for the ruling classes to retain some legitimacy and to placate the masses, they adopted some Islamic practices and customs that the people still remembered, albeit in a revised form. Some called themselves ‘Islamic’, others were content to merely call themselves a state with ‘Islam as the official religion’ (like Christianity is to UK).
The truth of the matter was, however, that the Muslim world was, and is, in a state of anarchy, with the lands divided between rival warlords, tribal leaders and fiefdoms – all vying with eachother, while individually weak enough to be controlled by foreign powers by threats of force. The Muslim world HASN’T implemented Islam since the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate, and consequently, are encountering problems that were virtually unknown to our ancestors, who were organised, preserved a living intellectual heritage – and resolved problems via a comprehensive worldview implemented by a key political institution, the Caliphate.
“If the leaders do not govern according to the Book of Allah, you should realize that this has never happened without Allah making them into groups and making them fight one another.” (Ibn Majah).
One clear example of the Muslim world’s problems being sociological, not theological, is evidenced that even non-Muslims, whether for example, Arab or Pakistani Christians (or even Atheists) behave and think indistinguishably from their Muslim neighbours, including the backward practices. The problem then is not one of Muslim theology, but the mentality of people.
So it is a sociological certainty that the Muslim world would consist of ignorance, infighting, sectarianism, wars, superstition (which comes from an inability to understand causality), bad cultural practices and traditions – all ‘justified as Islamic’ by their respected protagonists, because the people don’t know what Islam actually says, nor do they view Islam from the perspective of a collective purpose, but merely just a ‘checklist’ of do’s and don’t which they frequently break for the sake of ‘necessity’, deeming ends-justifies-the-means pragmatism to be a ‘wisdom’.
Most Muslims believe that whatever their culture is, must be what Islam says. This is false, and used by Secularists who eagerly wish to peddle their ideology, to make the claim that ‘Islam needs a reformation’ [to cease being Islam, and become Secular Liberalism]. One thing that people who don’t live in the Muslim world, fail to understand – EVERYONE CITES ISLAMIC SCRIPTURE to justify themselves. Whether it is SECULAR Saddam Hussein putting ‘Allahu Akbar’ on the Iraqi flag, and having labelling his massacres of his enemies after Suras in the Quran, to Secular Sisi who ‘obtains’ fatwas from state paid scholars for his troops to shoot unarmed protesters in the streets. This is because, like the Christian barbarians of the Dark Ages, they may revere their religion, but they are still barbarians – and many Muslims continue to act pursuing what they believe is ‘necessary’ to stay in power, believing that what they consider to be ‘normal practices’ (but are recent in Muslim history, or originally copied from the West) must be ‘ok’ in their religion. And if they are pressed by theologians to justify themselves, they find weak evidences, or perform mental gymnastics on the texts to justify whatever they want [not unlike how Secular Reformists treat the Islamic texts].
The solution however, is not the reform of Islam, or changing any laws – but rather to revive the Muslim intellect, so that they may actually IMPLEMENT Islamic laws, objectives, ideals, goals and projects, using appropriate wisdom and mercy, which are how it has always been understood to be implemented in the past. How can people be calling to reform a law system which simply ISN’T being implemented in the first place!
Claiming that we must ‘reform Islam’ because the Muslim world is suffering from anarchy, superstition and shallow-thinking, is as absurd as blaming electricity for a fire starting in your wooden house due to your wood-burning fireplace getting out of control! No, the only thing that can be blamed, is NOT having electricity and electrical heating in the first place.