Western Civilization and Islam
to Sahih al-Bukhari the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) once observed: God will
strengthen this religion through the wicked as well as the good. This hadith is
of great significance so far as the art of thinking is concerned. It points to
the error of dichotomous thinking, the tendency to see everything in terms of
black and white. It implies that while people may fall into one of two
categories—the good or the bad. They may also fall into a third category, i.e. that
of potential supporters of Islam. That is, an individual may fall into the
category of the good, yet still possess a third quality, i.e., that of enjoying
a position to support the believers, in one way or another.
outcome of the treaty was born in an age when the history of the world was
already be of Hudaibiyya provides a practical example of the success of broader
thinking in the early history of Islam. Apparently the Prophet’s opponents were
not pro-Islam. Therefore, the Muslims in general, because of the limitations in
their thinking, mistakenly categorized them as enemies of Islam. But thanks to
his divine wisdom, the Prophet did not fall into the error of regarding them as
such. For he knew that a third possibility also existed. It was the latent
potential of Da‘wah. Therefore, the Prophet decided to open a door which had
been closed to Da‘wah by entering into a peace treaty with his opponents.
Consequently, the possibilities of Da’wah activism began taking shape and
within a short period of two years the entire history of Islam was transformed.
To my way
of thinking, the case of Western Civilization and Islam exactly parallels that
of the Hudaibiyya situation in modern times. Muslims have once again fallen
prey to limitations of dichotomous thinking in these matters. Since Western
Civilization does not appear to them to be friendly to Islam, they trend to
regard it as an enemy of Islam. Matters have so escalated that a section of
Islamic thinkers have even taken to calling Western Civilization a
manifestation of Dajjal.
could extricate ourselves from this rigid pattern of thought we would find that
western civilization, was neither friendly nor hostile to Islam, but rather—in
the words of hadith—a potential supporter of Islam.
Today, we are
once again in need of divine wisdom adopted on the eve of Hudaibiyya. If we
could but think in the same way as the Prophet did on that occasion, history
would certainly repeat itself. Out of unfavorable circumstances, favorable
possibilities would emerge, and by being able to exploit these possibilities,
we would be able to build a new history of Islam.
their political and economic interests, the upholders of Western Civilization
follow many policies which are detrimental to the collective good of Muslims.
This is an indisputable fact. In reality yet this has nothing to do with any
enmity towards Islam. It is simply due to the imperatives of economic
competition. The affairs of this world being based on the principle of
competition, such events have always taken place and will continue to do so in
the near and distant future. So what we must do is accept these things as a
part of nature and turn our full attention to seeking out alternative
possibilities in order to exploit them for our own purposes.
possibilities do exist for us inspite of all the apparently adverse
circumstances in which we strive to perpetuate our Islamic heritage.
which mentions Dajjal appearing close to the time of Doomsday is doubtless
correct, but certainly it does not apply to modern western civilization.
another hadith which would more correctly apply to the case of Western
civilization. In this the Prophet has made the prediction that close on
Doomsday, the message of Islam will enter every hut or mansion.
is that Western civilization has emerged as a supporting factor in the divine
scheme of Idkhal-e-Kalimah (the communication of the word of God to all human
pertaining to Dajjal has thus no direct bearing whatsoever on Western
prediction to be fulfilled many contributory factors were required—factors
which had never hitherto existed. It is Western civilization alone which has
provided for the first time in human history all those means and resources
which were necessary for the realization of this process of Idkhal-e-kalimah
(global communication of the divine message).
way, according to the words of hadith, the case of Western civilization is one
neither of friendliness nor of hostility. It falls rather into a third
category—that of supportiveness.
would like to mention in brief a few examples of this supportive nature to
serve as a practical explanation of this matter.
1. The first and foremost requirement for
the performance of the mission of Idkhal-e-kalimah is the provision of a system
of global communication. It is an acknowledged fact that the cultural
revolution of the west is the first event in human history to have placed at
our disposal such a worldwide system of communication—a prerequisite for the
realization of Islamic goals.
2. The second requirement essential to
facilitating this task was complete religious freedom. In the absence of
religious freedom, successful communication of the desired nature had never
been possible. Now Western Civilization has brought into being an era in which
for the first time in human history freedom of religion has come to be accepted
as a sacred human right. This is one of its greatest gifts to humanity.
3. In order to spread the word of God on a
universal scale, an unlimited amount of wealth was required. It is through
Western civilization that the Muslim nations have been able, albeit indirectly,
to secure this wealth. For it was people from the West who first discovered the
wealth of petrol abounding in Muslim countries. It was again these very people
who, by ushering in the modern machine age, gave petrol the status of a
precious commodity. This wealth thus acquired has enabled the Muslims of today
to spread their campaign throughout the entire world, regardless of the cost.
4. Another very important supporting factor
pertains to the principle of free enquiry developed by the west. This principle
of free enquiry was extended by them even to religion. Sacred texts for the
first time in human history were scrutinized in the light of the ‘higher
criticism’ as a result of which all religious scriptures, with the exception of
the Qur’an, lost their claim to historicality. The Qur’an then stood quite
alone as a historically established scripture. In this way, the intellectual
revolution brought about by western civilization gave Islam a monopoly—as the
only authentic representative of Religion.
5. Then again it was this Western
Civilization which, by scientifically unraveling nature’s secrets, testified to
the veracity of the Qur’an. Hence the credit for offering a scientific
explanation of the following verse must go to Western Civilization."We
will show them our signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it
becomes manifest to them that this is the truth (41:53).It is thanks to the
bearers of Western Civilization that a great number of new facts concerning the
world of nature have been discovered. These facts serve to prove the
authenticity of Islam on scientific bases.
reasons mentioned above, I am certain that Western Civilization cannot be
regarded as a manifestation of Dajjal, as is claimed by extremists. On the
contrary, in terms of its unlimited possibilities, it offers a God-sent support
for Islam.It has produced all the means and resources essential to the
successful carrying out of Islamic Da’wah, all over the world. This mission can
be properly performed only by exploiting all the possibilities offered by
process has already been set in motion. Today hundreds and thousands of people
are accepting Islam each day, having found it to be a religion in perfect harmony
peace settlement at Hudaibiyya the chapter Al-Fath was revealed in which it was
said: "that it may be a sign for the believers, and that He may guide you
to a straight path" (48:20).That is to say, the symbolism of this event should
prevent believers from falling a prey to the narrowness of dichotomous thinking
in such matters. Rather they must strive to find a third option. This is the
Hudaibiyya principle which should be adopted in our relations vis-a-vis western
civilization. Only then will God’s good tidings of granting a clear victory
become a reality.
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